Carl Edwards stayed out during a caution with 78 laps remaining in the Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway on Sunday night and remained up front the rest of the way to claim his first win of 2014 and the third of his career at Bristol.
“That’s a gutsy call with all the tire trouble,” Edwards said of crew chief Jimmy Fennig’s decision to stay out. “Goodyear makes great tires. We didn’t have trouble at the end, but it was just a bad matchup with the track.”
Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second, a Sprint Cup career-best, giving RFR a one-two finish.
“We were fighting the balance,” Stenhouse said. “We were a little bit loose and a little bit tight and could never really zone in on it, but Mike (Kelley, crew chief) made some good calls. We stayed out there and kept our track position and ended up second, so it was cool to have a 1-2 finish for Roush Fenway this weekend.”
Ford claimed four of the top-five in the finishing order with Aric Almirola taking third and Marcos Ambrose finishing fifth. Almirola’s third-place finish was also a career-best.
“How about Ford?” Edwards said. “They make the greatest cars on the road and for them to finish tonight 1-2-3-5, that’s a big turnaround from the other night.”
Tony Stewart was the one non-Ford driver to finish in the top-five, finishing fourth after starting the race 37th. According to Stewart, the top-five was almost like a win.
“To start 37th and end up fourth, I’m pretty excited,” Stewart said
The start of the race was delayed by nearly an hour and 45 minutes by rain, and once it did get underway, rain red-flagged the race after the completing of 124 laps.
Matt Kenseth was the race leader at the red-flag and, therefore restart first some three hours later.
He lost the lead to Kurt Busch on lap 153 and then received significant rear-end damage after contact from Timmy Hill during a caution on lap 156. After spending time on pit road for repairs, Kenseth restarted the race from the 29th position.
As Kenseth worked his way back up toward the front, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, and Kasey Kahne spent time in the race lead before Kenseth reassumed the position on a restart following a lap-276 caution.
He then lost the lead to Kyle Larson on a restart following a lap-331 caution and then scrubbed the wall with 92 laps remaining.
Kevin Harvick took the lead by getting off pit road first during a lap-394 caution. Harvick then gave up several positions, pitting for tires during the yellow flag that came out with 78 laps to go.
Edwards then assumed the lead by staying out and ran up front as Harvick worked his way back up through the field. But with 50 laps to go, Harvick’s car began smoking and then made impact with the retaining wall. Right behind him, Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray, both contenders early in the race, wrecked.
Edwards, again, stayed out, along with Almirola and Stenhouse, to restart the race in the top three. Amirola got by Stenhouse to take second with 33 laps to go, but Stenhouse quickly got back by him. d out there and kept our track position and ended up second, so it was cool to have a 1-2 finish for Roush Fenway this weekend.”
“We were fighting the balance,” Stenhouse said. “We were a little bit loose and a little bit tight and could never really zone in on it, but Mike (Kelley, crew chief) made some good calls. We staye
The race was ended by a caution with two laps remaining when the caution lights came on because of a malfunction. Soon after the caution was displayed, rains returned and the race was called an official event.
Pole sitter Denny Hamlin finished sixth, Jeff Gordon was seventh, Kahne eighth, Brian Vickers ninth, and Larson 10th.
Here’s a photo gallery of images from the Food City 500 (photos courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR):