Earnhardt Jr Wins Caution Filled Food City 250 By Thomas Chemris Two time NASCAR Busch series champion, Dale Earnhardt Jr cruised his way to victory for his first win at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Jr, who was class of the field since the...
Earnhardt Jr Wins Caution Filled Food City 250
By Thomas Chemris
Two time NASCAR Busch series champion, Dale Earnhardt Jr cruised his way to victory for his first win at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
Jr, who was class of the field since the team unloaded, then backed up the practice speeds by shattering the tracks qualifying record.
"To come here and win from the pole is really great", said Earnhardt.
Earnhardt led from the start, but then cycled back in the field during pit stops only to make his way back to the point to lead the final seventy one laps and score his twentieth series win.
The performance puts to rest any concern that North Carolina driver has yet to fully recover from injuries he sustained from a fiery crash last July that left him unable to complete two events for his Nextel Cup team.
The event was marred by thirteen caution periods including the final yellow that came out when Tony Raines crashed on lap 247 of the 250 lap event, setting up the first green-white- checker finish in series history.
Earlier this year the sanctioning body implemented new rules requiring at least one attempt to finish an event under green, regardless of the advertised distance. Runner up finisher Matt Kenseth had a shot at Earnhardt on the final restart, but spun the tires. Kenseth held his position to finish second, followed by Kyle Bush, Kevin Harvick, and David Green.
Series point's leader Martin Truex Jr overcame early problems as he was involved in an incident between Greg Biffle and Tina Gordon. Truex, unable to avoid the wreck, pushed Biffle down the back stretch, damaging the left front of his car. Truex's crew chief, Kevin Manion indicated the car was "out of tow', but more importantly it forced the team to change tires early, limiting the amount of rubber the team had for the rest of the event. Truex held his own, and by being off cycle on stops with the other teams, he quickly returned to the front, leading laps at the half way point. Truex was unable to hold off several drivers who were charging with fresh rubber, but he was able to salvage a top ten finish, bringing the Bass Pro Shops Chevy home seventh.
Truex lost ground in the championship to Kyle Busch, but still holds the top by a margin of seventy eight points.
The August event at Bristol continue to grow in popularity as each year attendance figures topped the 100,000 mark, easily making it the most attended Busch race of the year. Next week the series heads to California for the Target House 300.
Veteran Bobby Hamilton Jr was abruptly released from Rensi Motorsports. Hamilton Jr, who with the team contended for the 2003 championship had previously announced plans to move up to NEXTEL Cup with PPI Motorsports. In a press release, the team initially announced that former Champion Jeff Green would again team with Harold Holly to assume the ride. Subsequently, the release was rescinded. Green, who drives for Petty Enterprises in the Cup series, noted that conflicts with manufactures could not be worked out to allow the deal to move forward. Former series driver Mike McLaughlin assumed the ride qualifying tenth and finishing twelfth