The Food City 500 2014 Results: Race Order, Final Times and Twitter Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2014

For the second time in a row, Denny Hamlin set the pace at Bristol Motor Speedway.

At last year's Irwin Night Tools Race on Aug. 24, Hamlin earned the pole with a time of 14.878 seconds. On Friday, he did one better, not only earning the pole for the Food City 500, but also setting a record in the process, per USA Today's Nate Ryan:

Hamlin's time of 14.761 was a mere 0.003 seconds ahead of Brad Keselowski, who will have to settle for starting in the second position.

Here's a look at the full race order for Sunday:

Food City 500 Starting Order
1Denny HamlinLeader
2Brad Keselowski-0.003
3Matt Kenseth-0.105
4Joey Logano-0.133
5Marcos Ambrose-0.145
6Jeff Gordon-0.201
7Kyle Busch-0.211
8Greg Biffle-0.236
9Ryan Newman-0.253
10Kasey Kahne-0.266
11Jimmie Johnson-0.302
12Carl Edwards-0.339
13Kurt Busch-0.192
14Dale Earnhardt Jr.-0.198
15Clint Bowyer-0.201
16David Gilliland-0.202
17Jamie McMurray-0.210
18Cole Whitt-0.238
19David Ragan-0.241
20Kyle Larson-0.254
21Ricky Stenhouse Jr.-0.267
22AJ Allmendinger-0.271
23Aric Almirola-0.276
24Michael McDowell-0.276
25Casey Mears-0.277
26Austin Dillon-0.285
27Kevin Harvick-0.295
28Paul Menard-0.296
29Martin Truex Jr.-0.306
30Justin Allgaier-0.307
31Landon Cassill-0.326
32Josh Wise-0.327
33Alex Bowman-0.328
34Michael Annett-0.360
35Reed Sorenson-0.390
36Danica Patrick-0.392
37Tony Stewart-0.402
38Brian Vickers-0.414
39Travis Kvapil-0.431
40Ryan Truex-0.545
41Parker Kligerman-0.656
42Joe Nemechek-0.898
43Timmy Hill-0.956

For those who haven't seen the group qualifying format, Bristol Motor Speedway posted a Vine of the action, and you'd be forgiven if you thought it was the actual race at first sight:

Team Penske's drivers have had a lot of success this season with the new style. Hamlin admitted how well the Penske cars were running on Friday, per Ryan:

I think their cars were just so fast, they were able to do what we did (Friday). They never had to make a second run in any session to advance to the next session. They always had the freshest tires, the coolest cars. They'd make the runs really early in every session.

Their cars have so much speed right now, they can do anything they want. When you have a car with speed, you have that confidence to go out there at any time you want.

Keselowski in particular seems to have really benefited from the new qualifying format, per Anita Goodan Soltis of WKVI Radio:

Fellow Penske driver Joey Logano earned a respective fourth-place finish, and he took to Twitter to thank both his sponsor and racing team:

It isn't all about Team Penske, of course.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. enters Bristol as the points leader after three races. Keselowski is only one point back, so it's important that Earnhardt manage a strong finish on Sunday if he wants to hold onto his lead.

For the second week in a row, Earnhardt will start a race in 14th position. Despite that somewhat lackluster showing, he remained upbeat on Twitter:

Startin 14th 2 weeks in a row. Juuuuust missed the last session. GJ @NASCAR on the improvements to safety. 88 is ready for the next practice

— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) March 14, 2014

After finishing second in the Kobalt 400, Earnhardt's 14th isn't all that bad of a starting position. He may be a little upset, though, that he was so close to that 12th-place cutoff. With Bristol being such a short track, starting out even two places closer to the pole-sitter can make a big difference.

The compact nature of Bristol also leads to more than a few collisions. Danica Patrick was one of four drivers who wrecked in qualifying and needed their backup cars to finish on Friday, per Sporting News:

Patrick would finish in 36th, and as you'd expect, she was less than enthused with the performance, per Jeff Gluck of USA Today's Vine account:

The Food City 500 gets underway at 1 p.m. on Sunday, with coverage on Fox. It should be a fun race, especially with NASCAR encouraging a little more of the bumping that makes races on shorter tracks more exciting.

The steep banks at Bristol should also lead to quicker speeds than you normally see on a track that's a little over a half-mile long.

Fans can count on fast cars and big crashes on Sunday.


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