On a restart with six laps to go, Ryan Blaney would get the advantage on Kyle Busch and then held off Busch’s final charge to win the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. It marks Blaney’s second career victory in the Nationwide Series, following his first career win at Kentucky Speedway.
Restarting second on the bottom when the preferred groove all night had been the top, Blaney would hit the gas as soon as he saw the second set of lines that make up the restart box, getting the advantage ahead of Busch heading into turn one.
“Kyle didn’t go on the last restart – he said his tires were jacked up – and we got to the second line and I went,” Blaney said. “Luckily we were able to hold him off. Great Mustang all night. We lost track position early, but were able to make it back up.”
Busch would hold on to finish second and commented post-race that he feels the leader has the biggest disadvantage on the restart and the third-place car of Dillon was right up his bumper.
“NASCAR doesn’t police it – 22 laid back, was going five mph,” Busch added in the media center. “Next time I’ll just lock all four up & stack the field up. It’s a single lane racetrack, you can’t (bleep) pass here; it’s pathetic.”
Blaney’s night didn’t go without incident as he got loose while underneath Kyle Larson racing for fourth, getting loose and sliding up, spinning Larson out. The incident would then turn uglier when Larson’s teammate Dylan Kwasniewski would be left with nowhere to go, but into the back of Larson.
“First of all, I have to apologize to Kyle Larson. I just got loose on the bottom and got into him,” Blaney started off his victory lane speech with.
“The 22 was faster than I was for sure,” Larson said. “The spotter said they were looking for a caution so I was racing hard to keep the spot. We raced side-by-side into four, and then went into one and simply drove us in the wall. The 22 ruined our day, and also ruined our teammate’s day as Dylan had a good run going.
“I know Ryan is a good kid – it’s just frustrating. It’s short track racing, I know it wasn’t on purpose – I just got in the wall and it made me mad.”
Chase Elliott would finish third to keep the points lead, now 13 points ahead of his teammate Regan Smith. Ty Dillon and Regan Smith rounded out the top-five, and would have a post-race discussion with regards to how they raced each other in the closing laps.
“I just don’t like how he raced all night,” Smith commented. “There was three or four times that he drove me in the fence. Everybody else could race me without touching me so I wanted to tell him what I thought. He said he was getting tight, so the next time I get by him I’ll fence him and say that I got tight.”
“Fourth in points – 28 out and I’m trying to get all I can for my guys as they deserve it,” Dillon said. “We just got a little tight, but proud of guys. It’s Bristol. A little bump is a bump – it’s racing. Nobody got tore up.”
Brendan Gaughan was sixth, followed by Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, James Buescher and Chris Buescher.
The race would start a little later than scheduled due to rain, though it was filled with action as the caution flag flew nine times for multiple incidents. The first involved John Wes Townley as he spun on the frontstretch; Townley was hoping to have a good run after missing a couple races due to a hard wreck in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. Hermie Sadler would get into the wall at lap 85, before Chad Boat, David Starr and Tanner Barryhill all got together at lap 112.
The incident at lap 184 will be one that sticks out for Elliott Sadler as he would suffer right front damage after making contact with Timmy Hill as Hill spun on the frontstretch. The result would be a pair of flat tires later in the race, resulting in a 29th place finish for the championship contender. The final caution would come with 10 laps to go due to contact between Jamie Dick and Mike Bliss, setting up the final restart that changed everything.
Chase Elliott will now lead his fellow drivers into Atlanta Motor Speedway next Friday night as he hopes to score a hometown victory.