Parks Pit Report: Food City 500

Another marathon of a night in racing saw Carl Edwards flipping out in the end.

Another marathon of a night in racing saw Carl Edwards flipping out in the end.

What is it about the start to the season where Mother Nature has decided to make the NASCAR season start in a rather odd way?  The season began with the Daytona 500 going from a day race to one that was under the lights, and it ended up being one of the best races that Daytona has seen in a few years.

Now we go to a track that is completely different, and pretty much the same story gets written.

The Bristol race this weekend was to start at 1 p.m. but the consistent rain pushed it to past 3 p.m. before the green flag waved.  Even though the race began, the window of time to get the race in was small, even if it was just to make the halfway mark.  But, after 125 laps, the rain returned, and the wait began once more.

Into the night the waiting went, as NASCAR would again have a primetime race to see if the entire 500-lap distance would be reached.  But, when the scoreboard showed that lap 251 was done, every fan and driver knew that the chances of racing the next day were done; the race was official at that point.  But, the race was not done, and the usual accidents happened in the time after the halfway point, but it seemed as though the entire distance would be met.

But, what seemed to be ironic is how the race ended.  Of all things, the official in the flag stand accidentally tripped the caution lights on the track.  So, with two laps to go it seemed like it would be a Green-White-Checkered finish, which at Bristol would only take about 34 seconds to complete.

That is until Mother Nature decided to have the final say on the night.  It then began drizzling on the track, and then began raining…and soon began pouring.  In a matter of minutes, the track was “lost” according to officials, which for those that are unfamiliar means that efforts to dry the track would not work as too much water would be laid down.

At that point, with the completed distance officially in the books, but having laps added on, officials knew the right thing to do for the fans was to call the race, and thus, the checkered flag waved at lap 503, giving Carl Edwards the win, and a chance to do a rain dance backflip (which he did land despite the shiny concrete surface of the track).

It’s weird how when the rain came at Daytona, in the end it made the racing better and no one would talk bad about it.  Not saying that will happen again this time, but the rain certainly did have the last laugh on Sunday.

RESULTS:  1-Edwards  2-Stenhouse Jr.  3-Almirola  4-Stewart  5-Ambrose  6-Hamlin  7-Gordon  8-Kahne  9-Vickers  10-Larson

NOTABLE FINISHES:  11-Dillon  13-Kenseth  14-Keselowski  19-Johnson  29-Kyle Busch  39-Harvick

CAUTIONS:  12 for 95 laps.  Lap 52-57 (Competition), 61-64 (Debris-T2), 67-75 (Debris-BS), 119-136 (Rain.  RED FLAG-Lap 125:  3 Hrs, 18 Mins, 58 Secs.), 157-166 (#10, 26 accident-T1), 188-192 (Competition), 277-284 (#83 Accident-BS), 333-338 (#34, 95 Accident-FS), 395-403 (#18 Accident-T4), 424-429 (#78 Accident-T2), 452-461 (#4 Accident-T1), 500-503 (Caution lights triggered).

LEAD CHANGES:  20 among 12 drivers.  Hamlin 1, Keselowski 2-41, Logano 42-53, Johnson 54-97, Kenseth 98-119, Kurt Busch 120, Kenseth 121-152, Kurt Busch 153-178, McMurray 179-188, Kurt Busch 189, Bowyer 190-194, Kyle Busch 195-267, Kahne 268-277, Hamlin 278, Kahne 279-284, Kenseth 285-333, Hamlin 334, Kenseth 335-396, Hamlin 397, Harvick 398-425, Edwards 426-503.

TIME OF RACE:  3 Hrs, 11 Mins, 23 Secs.

AVERAGE SPEED:  84.051 MPH

MARGIN OF VICTORY:  Under Caution

POINT STANDINGS:  1. Keselowski, 163 points; 2. Earnhardt Jr, -10; 3. Edwards, -11; 4. Gordon, -11; 5. Johnson, -20; 6. Logano, -22; 7. Hamlin, -23; 8. Kenseth, -25; 9. Newman, -38; 10. Stenhouse Jr, -41

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