Event: Food City 500 (Round 8 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (125 laps/125 laps/250 laps)
Start/Finish: 39th/7th (Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 3rd (290 points, 75 out of first)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):
● Kevin Harvick started 39th and finished 12th.
● The No. 4 Busch Ford started at the rear of the field after a wreck in practice on Friday forced the team to a backup car.
● Harvick had raced his way into the top-15 by lap 46, when the race was stopped for 25 minutes for rain.
● The No. 4 Ford continued toward the front of the field and reached the 12th position by the final caution of the stage on lap 120.
● The team came to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments on lap 121 before the end of the stage.
● Harvick raced his way from the 16th position up to 12th in the final one-lap shootout to the end of the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):
● Started fifth, finished eighth, scoring three bonus points.
● Harvick and the team opted to stay out at the end of Stage 1 and moved up to the fifth position for the start of Stage 2.
● The No. 4 Ford was racing in the ninth position on lap 204 when the race was postponed until Monday due to inclement weather.
● Harvick came to pit road under caution shortly after the race resumed on lap 212 for four tires and fuel.
● The No. 4 Busch Beer Ford restarted 10th on lap 217 and raced up to the eighth position by the end of the stage.
● The Busch Ford came to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment at the conclusion of Stage 2.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):
● Started eighth and finished seventh.
● The Busch Ford suffered from loose handling early in the stage and dropped one lap down on lap 320.
● The No. 4 car returned to the lead lap when Harvick was awarded the free pass under caution on lap 324.
● Harvick raced up to the eighth position when he came to pit road under caution on lap 360.
● The No. 4 team made two trips to pit road under caution to fix a loose wheel and restarted 15th on lap 365.
● Harvick took fresh tires again under caution on lap 391 and utilized the high lane to drive up to fifth by the final caution on lap 473.
● The Busch Ford restarted eighth with 23 laps remaining and gained one position to finish seventh.
● Harvick’s seventh-place finish was his sixth top-10 of 2018 and his 18th top-10 in 35 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol.
● Harvick finished eighth in Stage 2 to earn three bonus points.
● Kyle Busch won the Food City 500 to score his 45th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. It was his second win of the season and his second straight, and it was his series-leading seventh win at Bristol. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Larson was .628 of a second.
● There were 13 caution periods for a total of 114 laps.
● Only 12 of the 39 drivers in the Food City 500 finished on the lead lap.
● The first 204 laps of the Food City 500 were run on Sunday before rain halted the race and postponed it to Monday, where the final 296 laps were completed.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We weren’t that good pretty much the whole time. Today we were worse, especially early on, when we were just really loose. We stayed in there and fought all day. We had another bad pit stop there at the end and wound up seventh. All in all, considering all the circumstances, it was a pretty good weekend.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Richmond 400 on April 21at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!