Salem-News.com Sports - December 18, 2018 - 9:33 pm
NASCAR: Kyle Busch Holds on to Win First NASCAR COT RaceSalem-News.com SPORTS
The win for young Busch was his fourth on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series circuit and the 200th win for his car owner, Hendrick Motorsports.
BRISTOL, Tenn. - Kyle Busch shook the monkey off his back Sunday and won NASCAR's first-ever Car of Tomorrow event in dramatic style.
Busch held off a hard-charging but gentlemanly Jeff Burton, who passed four-time champion Jeff Gordon for second place on the next-to-last lap following a green-white-checkered restart.
Burton's teammate Kevin Harvick was fourth behind Gordon and greg Biffle finished fifth.
The win for young Busch was his fourth on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series circuit and the 200th win for his car owner, Hendrick Motorsports. It was also Chevrolet's 600th NASCAR win.
Busch's luck this season has been unbelievably bad as several potential wins evaporated in the latter stages of races with either ill-timed miscues or mechanical failures.
Rounding out the top 10 were Jeff Green, his best finish of the season, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Jamie Mcmurray and Casey Mears.
Denny Hamlin, who led much of the second half of the race, had engine problems just a few laps from the finish that knocked him from contention.
Hamlin's teammate, Tony Stewart, who dominated the first half of the race, had some sort of engine problem that ended his run for the victory.
Busch's win puts him in the record books for winning the first NASCAR "Car of Tomorrow" race.
The new, safer car with an adjustable wing and a different style front air dam splitter, was just as competitive on the high banks of Bristol as its predecessors and the race finish was another hair-raising Bristol shootout.
Gordon's third-place finish was truly remarkable. He made numerous pit stops to change the setup of his car after handling problems surfaced early.
He worked his way from the back of the field several times and served notice he has his sights set on a fifth championship.
He took over the points lead from Mark Martin,who sat this one out as a part of his decision to run a limited schedule this season.
Jeff Gordon's car was fast in qualifying but the four-time champion slowed down after starting from the pole position.
He encountered handling problems early on, falling out of the top 10 as Stewart charged to the front.
Stewart led most of the laps before Elliott Sadler passed him with 305 laps to go.
Stewart, not to be denied, passed him back a few laps later.
It was pretty much a typical Bristol race with caution flags playing a major role.
Most of the cautions were prompted by the close-quarter racing that has made bristol one of the most popular tracks on the nascar circuit for fans.
Harvick accidentally tapped Reid Sorenson, who spun into the retaining wall before 10 laps were complete. Sorensen became the first car out of the race.
Dale Jarrett joined him several laps later after being tapped by Matt Kenseth.
That accident also ended the day for David Gilliland, who had nowhere to go and got into Jarrett's spinning machine.
Rookie Regan Smith, subbing in the Ginn Racing Chevrolet for veteran Mark Martin, had a rough start at one of the toughest tracks on the schedule.
This was Smith's first race in the car Martin had been driving.
Martin took his first weekend off since he decided to run an abbreviated schedule for the first time in his career.
Smith spun twice in the first half of the race but continued racing.
At the halfway point, Stewart, Biffle, Hamlin, Kahne, Harvick and Burton, as well as Kenseth, McMurray and Bowyer were contending but Stewart was clearly the class of the field.
Food City 500 - Results
FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1. 20 5 Kyle Busch Chevrolet CARQUEST / Kellogg's 190/5 504 Running
2. 29 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Cingular Wireless 170/0 504 Running
3. 1 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 170/5 504 Running
4. 40 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 165/5 504 Running
5. 11 16 Greg Biffle Ford Jackson Hewitt 155/0 504 Running
6. 9 66 Jeff Green Chevrolet Best Buy 150/0 504 Running
7. 31 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Budweiser 146/0 504 Running
8. 18 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 142/0 504 Running
9. 5 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 138/0 504 Running
10. 16 25 Casey Mears Chevrolet National Guard / GMAC 134/0 504 Running
11. 38 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Arby's 130/0 504 Running
12. 32 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 127/0 504 Running
13. 33 40 David Stremme Dodge Energizer 124/0 504 Running
14. 10 11 Denny Hamlin Chevrolet FedEx Express 126/5 504 Running
15. 25 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 123/5 504 Running
16. 6 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 115/0 503 Running
17. 19 49 Mike Bliss Dodge OBOVO.com 112/0 503 Running
18. 14 4 Ward Burton Chevrolet State Water Heaters / Food City 109/0 502 Running
19. 2 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 106/0 501 Running
20. 26 45 Kyle Petty Dodge Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil 103/0 501 Running
21. 27 78 Kenny Wallace Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing 100/0 501 Running
22. 28 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Betty Crocker 97/0 501 Running
23. 7 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 94/0 501 Running
24. 17 96 Tony Raines Chevrolet DLP HDTV 91/0 501 Running
25. 12 01 Regan Smith Chevrolet U.S. Army 88/0 501 Running
26. 41 6 David Ragan * Ford AAA 85/0 501 Running
27. 3 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 87/5 500 Running
28. 15 21 Ken Schrader Ford Little Debbie 79/0 500 Running
29. 42 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 81/5 499 Running
30. 21 14 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet Waste Management 73/0 499 Running
31. 8 10 Scott Riggs Dodge Valvoline / Stanley Tools 70/0 498 Running
32. 36 42 Juan Montoya * Dodge Texaco / Havoline 67/0 497 Running
33. 34 7 Robby Gordon Ford Robby Gordon Off-Road Wheels 64/0 493 Running
34. 23 36 Jeremy Mayfield Toyota 360 OTC 66/5 486 Running
35. 4 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet The Home Depot 68/10 479 Running
36. 37 18 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Interstate Batteries 60/5 475 Running
37. 13 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 52/0 475 Running
38. 24 88 Ricky Rudd Ford Pedigree 49/0 454 Running
39. 22 12 Ryan Newman Dodge ALLTEL 46/0 450 Off Track
40. 43 84 A.J. Allmendinger* Toyota Red Bull 43/0 413 Running
41. 35 38 David Gilliland Ford M&M's 40/0 49 Off Track
42. 30 44 Dale Jarrett Toyota UPS 37/0 43 Out of Race
43. 39 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 34/0 22 Out of Race
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