BRISTOL — For the second straight time, they needed an extra day to complete racing at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
Because of Mother Nature on Sunday, the Food City 500 green flag didn’t drop until Monday.
In fact, Mother Nature caused problems all weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, especially on Sunday with flooding at the campground and pushing the Food City 500 to Monday. But the extra day was well worth the wait.
News Channel 11 sports Kane O’Neill was at the track Monday, who said there was a bigger crowd than expected following the rescheduled race.
Kyle Larson starting on the pole after qualifying was washed out on Friday, and he dominated early in this race.
First caution came on lap 54 after Kurt Busch got loose on the front stretch and hit the inside wall. Chris Buescher got tangled with Reed Sorenson as a result, and Buescher’s day was done as the red flag dropped to clean up radiator fluid from his wreck.
“I started checking up and locked the breaks up and just couldn’t get it slowed down in time,” Buescher said.
But nothing slowed Larson down early in the race. Larson led every lap in Stage 1, picking up the first stage win.
On Lap 211, Kyle Busch loses a right front tire and scrubs the wall, bringing out the caution.
On the restart, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. loses his oil cooler, which sent his car into the outside wall, ending his day.
“Went into turn one on the restart and the car went straight into the wall with oil all over the tires,” he said.
The cautions did not slow down Martin Truex, Jr., who held onto the lead and captured the win in Stage 2.
On Lap 323, they try to go threewide in turn 3, and that doesn’t work. Danica Patrick and David Ragan got tangled and went into the outside wall, bringing out the 6th caution of the day.
Just 40 laps later, more trouble for Kyle Busch. He lost his right front tire again and goes into the wall on the front stretch.
Busch’s day was done, which was another frustrating finish for the No. 18 car.
“Just really have no idea why the fastest car out there keeps blowing tires,” he said. “We were coming through the field twice and if people want to see racing and people coming from the back to the front, you’ve got to have tires that can last.”
On the restart, Jimmie Johnson started to take control of the race, going low on Joey Logano and sliding into the front out of turn 2.
Johnson headed to the pits for fresh tires, while Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin decided to stay out and move to the front.
But with 21 laps to go, the fresh tires paid off for Johnson, who dove to the inside of Harvick and took over the lead. No one got past the No. 48, and Johnson captured the checkered flag on Monday — his first win at Bristol in 7 years.
“Huge honor to win here,” Johnson said. “I’ve been such a fan of this race track. Watched the legends duel it out here. I was able to win once, but it’s been pretty lean on either side of that victory. So to come here today and be as competitive as we were from the start of the race on, very rewarding to be able to win here today.”
This is now the 11th time Johnson has won back to back races in his career. Johnson took a lap in honor of Alan Kulwiki after the race in honor of the 25th anniversary of his win.
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