Kenseth Wins Food City 500 In Support Of Steve Byrnes
2015 Food City 500 In Support of Steve Byrnes
Periods of rain delayed the start and three times stopped the Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes. And so for the second consecutive year, Bristol Motor Speedway's springtime NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race started in the afternoon and finished under the lights at the high-banked half mile.
Matt Kenseth started from the pole and, more than nine hours after the race was scheduled to start, finished in the same position.
The race went past its designated distance and Kenseth survived a green-white-checkered flag finish to become a four-time winner at Bristol. The victory ended a 51-race winless streak and earned the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota a spot in the championship Chase.
NASCAR moved the date of Bristol's spring Sprint Cup race back a month for the 2015 season. April showers, however, made an unwelcome appearance. The fans who withstood the numerous rounds of precipitation and stuck it out saw a wild finish.
Kenseth led the final 34 laps, but it wasn't an easy drive by any stretch.
With the laps counting down and rain approaching, Kurt Busch relinquished the lead to pit under caution less than 30 laps away from the scheduled 500-lap finish. That handed the lead to Kenseth. Four other drivers - defending race winner Carl Edwards, Gordon, Austin Dillon, Stenhouse - opted to stay on the track.
Busch picked up one spot before the caution came out less than 18 laps from the finish for a five-car wreck. Kenseth, Edwards, Dillon and Gordon remained in front of him.
Kenseth shot to the front on the restart eight laps from the finish. Behind him, Edwards on the inside and Gordon on the outside raced side-by-side. Edwards' car bobbled as they drove into Turn 1 and he hit the wall in Turn 2. Busch came up fast behind and plowed into the back of Edwards' car on the high side of the track.
That brought out the 13th caution of the race. Kenseth led Dillon with Gordon, Newman and Johnson also in the top five.
A rain shower then passed over the track, and cars were brought to pit road for the third stoppage of the race after circling the track under caution. Dillon ran out of the gas during the caution laps and his crew changed all four tires, dropping him to 13th place. He finished 10th.
Crews dried the track and cars were brought back for a decisive finish. On the restart, Kenseth surged to the front and Johnson passed Gordon for second place.
Kenseth crossed the finish line .287 of a second ahead of Johnson for his 32nd career Sprint Cup Series victory. Busch finished 15th.
This story will be updated.