Denny Hamlin picked up his second Win of the season, this time at Texas. He led Stage 2 and 45 laps. Kyle Busch, seeking the first ever Texas sweep, had to settle for 66 laps led and 10th. Joey Logano took Stage 1 after leading just 8 laps.
Today the boys are off to Bristol, 500 laps await in the Last Great Colosseum.
Here’s what to look for:
–Chase Elliott took the Pole after Ryan Blaney set a new track record in Round 2 of Qualifying. He finished 3rd in the Fall but a 29th in the Spring, and has been pretty inconsistent. Elliott will have the best view when the green flag drops, and should improve upon his 12.7 average finish.
–William Byron has his second straight front row start. He ran 18th and 23rd last year, finishes that he should better this time around. Clean air is very important at these short tracks, and he’ll have that starting 2nd. Interesting note, along with Elliott, Blaney (3rd), and Erik Jones (4th), this is the youngest first four drivers to line up for a race in NASCAR history. They average out at 23 years, 15 months, 2 days. Wow!
–Kurt Busch won the Fall race, and for some newer fans it might seem a little strange. “I thought his brother was really good here, not him!” Welp, there was a time when Kurt Busch was dropping the hammer race in, race out. From Spring of ’02 to the Spring of ’04, Kurt knocked down four Wins driving the #97 for Roush Racing. He tacked on another in the Penske #2 (now piloted by Brad Keselowski) in 2006.
-..And THEN Kyle Busch took over. He got his first Win in the ’07 Spring, and won four more between the Spring of ’09 and the Spring of ’11. He finished 20th last Fall, but his two attempts prior? Wins. With that, he’s the defending Food City 500 champion.
-Statistically, Kyle Larson was the best of any driver here at Bristol, finishing 2nd in both races. He started one of those from the Pole, but that isn’t happening today. Rolling off 16th, Larson will have some work to do. Can he get to the front early enough to get those same finishes? That is the question.
Coverage of the race starts on FS1 at 2:00pm, green flag scheduled for 2:08pm.