Parks Pit Report: Food City 500

A day late, Jimmie Johnson got his second win of 2017.

I’ll be the first one to tell you that I absolutely loathe delayed races.  But, the rain that came this weekend gave me a reminder of a past experience.

It was seven years ago that I was in Talladega, Alabama, for the race weekend at the major super speedway in that town.  But, on the first day I was there, which technically was the second as I arrived on Friday evening, it didn’t take long for everything to come to a close.

Weather was approaching the area later in the day, and it was coming in with fury.

NASCAR officials elected early in the afternoon that all on-track activity was not happening, simply because of the amount of rain that was coming in, and the time it takes to dry the racing surface.

Sure enough, later that afternoon when I got back to my hotel, the skies opened up like Niagara Falls.  Thunder, lightning, rain coming down in buckets.  Only thing missing was hail and a tornado; that was exactly how it felt looking out the window of my hotel room.

When I saw the rain that was beginning to come to the Bristol, Tennessee, area on Saturday night, I knew chances were slim that there was racing coming on Sunday.  Then, when the morning hit, and I was seeing flooding at the track and the camping area, it’s no surprise NASCAR, to put it bluntly, said “This ain’t happening.”  The race was officially postponed about two hours before the scheduled green flag, giving fans and media enough time to seek a safe way out, and let the track crew get to work the first chance it had.

Sure enough, as the afternoon and evening wore on, dangerous amounts of rain came down, and fans had to again hope that it let up enough for Monday’s slated start.

Luck seemed to be on the fans’ side, as despite the overcast skies, there’s no rain falling, and NASCAR got the entire race in on Monday afternoon.

I always knew Mother Nature wasn’t a race fan.  I guess in this case, she was having one extremely bad day.

STAGE 1 WINNER:  Kyle Larson

STAGE 2 WINNER:  Martin Truex Jr.

RESULTS:  1-Johnson  2-Bowyer  3-Harvick  4-Kenseth  5-Logano  6-Larson  7-Elliott  8-Truex Jr.  9-Stenhouse Jr.  10-Hamlin

NOTABLE FINISHES:  14-Newman  25-Kurt Busch  34-Keselowski  35-Kyle Busch  38-Earnhardt Jr.

CAUTIONS:  Lap 56-71 (No. 15, 37, 41 Accident-T1 [Red Flag: Lap 67, 5 Mins, 10 Secs.); 127-137 (Stage 1 Conclusion); 211-217 (No. 18 Accident-T2 [13]); 219-228 (No. 88 Accident-T1); 252-260 (Stage 2 Conclusion); 325-329 (No. 10, 38 Accident-BS); 385-390 (No. 18 Accident-T4); 422-427 (No. 77 Accident-T3); 463-468 (No. 5, 27 Accident-T4).

LEAD CHANGES:  14 among 7 drivers.  Larson 1-202, Truex Jr 203-211, Logano 212, Truex Jr 213-254, Logano 255, Cassill 256-260,Truex Jr 261-325, Logano 326-393, Johnson 394-421, Logano 422, Hamlin 423-432, Johnson 433-464, Logano 465, Harvick 466-479, Johnson 480-500.

TIME OF RACE:  3 Hrs, 4 Mins, 29 Secs.

AVERAGE SPEED:  86.674 MPH

MARGIN OF VICTORY:  1.199 Seconds

POINT STANDINGS (Points/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]): 1. Larson, 360 [7]; 2. Elliott, -27 [2]; 3. Truex Jr, -37 [10]; 4. Logano, -69 [1]; 5. Keselowski, -83 [10]; 6. Johnson, -116 [10]; 7. McMurray, -116; 8. Bowyer, -121; 9. Harvick, -121 [3]; 10. Blaney, -132 [2]; 11. Kyle Busch, -146 [1]; 12. Erik Jones, -168; 13. Bayne, -168; 14. Newman, -174 [5]; 15. Hamlin, -176; 16. Stenhouse Jr, -192; 18. Kurt Busch, -197 [5].

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