The Backstretch Blog's Race Day: The Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway
BRISTOL, Tenn. —
The blog is indeed named race day, but it may end up being race night or even race day before. I have a feeling, most of the day will look like the photo above. Even as I type its already raining at Bristol Motor Speedway and Meteorologist short timer Chris Michaels says the best chance of clearing doesn't come until later tonight.
If we get racing today, all the usual suspects will be up front. Six time Bristol winner Kyle Busch leads the field to green from the pole. And after a little dry spell (see what I did there as we wait through the rain) Kyle is once again the King of Bristol.
"We’re going to do everything we can to try to back that up and try to win again," said Busch. "We’ll see what happens here with Bristol this weekend.”
His brother Kurt was supposed to start up front with Kyle for today's race. But he had an accident late in Saturday's final practice. So if he is going to move back into a tie with Kyle on the Bristol all-time wins list, Kurt is going to have to come from the back in a back-up car.
"Like wine it tastes better a little bit later on and you have to let it settle," Kurt said about his rivalry with Kyle. "I can now walk up to him and say, ‘Yeah, I let you have it,’ and he’ll giggle. He’ll actually laugh, and yet I knew that I didn’t quite hit a perfect lap and if I’m gonna get beat by somebody when I don’t hit a perfect lap, I’d rather it be my little brother. Yet at the same time it stings because I’d rather have the 41 first and the 18 second."
The rest of the top five starters will be Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr and Ryan Blaney.
Last year's Food City 500 winner Jimmie Johnson, will have some work to do. He starts 17th, in a season where he has struggled to get going. And even though he won here a year ago, Bristol isn't exactly a track that is in Johnson's wheel house.
"This race track is one of my favorite ones to come to. It’s my favorite race track to watch a race here. I’ve been on the good side and the bad side of things that happen on-track, so it’s hard to say," said Johnson. "I’ve joked here in the past that I love to watch a race here and don’t necessarily enjoy driving in a race here (laughs). There isn’t another track in the country like this place to get used to it. Some guys have taken to it really quickly. For me, it’s taken some time and it’s been a crazy journey along the way.”
There will be two Tennessee drivers and two Virginia drivers in today's race. Knoxville natives Trevor Bayne and Chad Finchum will start 33rd and 38th respectively. Denny Hamlin starts 25th and Gray Gaulding rolls of 28th.
The race is schedule for a 1pm start. You can watch race coverage and our pre-race special "It's Bristol Baby!" on FOX Tri-Cities WEMT beginning at noon.