2008 Food City 500 Review

Food City 500 Review
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com

It came down to a two lap shootout at Bristol, and boy was it a good one to watch! We would expect nothing less from such a great track. This weekends race gave us some more insight into how great these new cars can be and also proved again just how unpredictable this year truly is.

My money was on Kyle Busch. Unfortunately for him, his starting spot was certainly not great as the field was set according to last years points standings because of qualifying being rained out. Needless to say, Busch proved what a strong driver he is by pushing his way to the front and eventually leading. He held a top 5 position for a long time, but waited for the perfect opportunity to jump out front. Busch was complaining of the car not turning, so when the guys came in for pit stops, Busch wanted the car a lot looser. Back on the track, Busch said the car was about as loose as he could take but it was definitely a lot better than it had been because he was now able to turn into the corners, which is pretty important here at Bristol. However, on lap 291, Busch suffered a catastrophic power steering failure that steered his car straight in to the outside wall as he was leading. Busch was able to get his car back on the track but his chances for a win were nonexistent at that point. He ended up finishing two laps down.

Those who finished within the top ten are drivers who pretty much stayed up there all day long. Track position is key here at Bristol. Out front is where you want to be for the entire race, unlike some tracks like Daytona where you can work your way up to the front. Because Bristol is such a short but fast track, only fourteen cars finished on the lead lap, Tony Stewart being the last of them.


Speaking of Tony Stewart, he was set for another great finish and possibly even a win but was the cause of the last caution of the day when Kevin Harvick clipped Stewart and turned him into the wall in turn two. Harvick was apologetic after the race, and it was clear that Stewart was frustrated and upset but held his tongue (most likely because of his incident with the media last week) not knowing exactly what happened. It was clearly just one of those racing things that happened where Harvick moved up the track but it was just enough to clip Stewarts car and cause him a win. Stewart had been strong all day and this is just one of several occasions where he has led the most laps here but again fails to come home with the win.

Denny Hamlin was also a very strong competitor more or less in the second half of the race. Quite frankly, I thought he would walk away with the win as his car looked leagues above everyone elses in terms of speed and handling. It was definitely dialed in during the late stages of the race. But unfortunately for Hamlin, the last restart destroyed his chances of winning as well. While it looked to be a 1-2 finish for Gibbs, both cars were knocked out in a matter of three laps. With three laps to go because of the green-white-checkered finish, Hamlins car had fuel uptake problems and he abruptly fell back, leaving Jeff Burton to jump around him and take the lead for the checkers. Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, and Dale Jr. all followed suit and rounded out your top five for the race.

As for Hendrick teammates Gordon and Johnson, they had another disappointing week, finishing eleventh and eighteenth respectively. Johnson finished two laps down while Gordon was on the lead lap but could never muster up enough power and maintain the handling of his car long enough to stay with the lead pack. He chalked it up to a need to regroup with his team and perhaps work on his ability to drive Bristol with the new car. Regardless, Gordon is looking forward to Martinsville in two weeks as he has seven victories at that track, thus leaving it to be one of his favorite to drive.

Here are your top ten finishers in the Food City 500

1. Jeff Burton
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Clint Bowyer
4. Greg Biffle
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr
6. Denny Hamlin
7. Kasey Kahne
8. Aric Almirola
9. David Gilliland
10. Matt Kenseth

Aric Almirola and David Gilliland ran very smart and strong races. These are two guys who consistently seem to get better with experience, so keep your eyes on them. As for the top three, well this is a first for Richard Childress. This is the first 1-2-3 finish for that team in history. It seems like several teams are making history this year with Roush finishing 1-2 and this 1-2-3 finish for Childress. Maybe NASCAR is on to something with this new car. Hendrick has lost its domination, at least for now, and we are seeing more diversity in the points and the finishes than we have seen in years.

Your top twelve in points are as follows:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Greg Biffle
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Jeff Burton
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
6. Kasey Kahne
7. Tony Stewart
8. Ryan Newman
9. Clint Bowyer
10. Kurt Busch
11. Matt Kenseth
12. Martin Truex Jr.

Several drivers moved up in the points including Gordon and Stewart although they were disappointed with their finishes. Perhaps this week off will prove to be helpful in rejuvenating the teams for Martinsville. Come back this week and next week to stay updated on the latest NASCAR news and also for the preview of Martinsville, MY home track, coming up in two weeks.