At Bristol Motor Speedway last August, Brad Keselowski earned his most laps led in a single race, with 83 laps. He almost tripled that number at BMS Sunday, leading 232 laps. Keselowski tweeted this weekend that this was the best race car he has ever had, and he proved that Sunday at Bristol.
He started the race in fifth position and was a top contender all day long. On Lap 23, Keselowski narrowly escaped a multi-car pile up and his day only got better from that point on. Keselowski took the lead for the first time on Lap 217, passing Brian Vickers for the position. Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth, who he battled for the lead with for most of the race, took the lead from him on on the restart at Lap 347.
Although there was skepticism on whether Kenseth jumped the restart, NASCAR said that Kenseth legally beat Keselowski to the line. On Lap 400, Keselowski stole the lead back from Kenseth and held on to it for the next 100 laps to win the Food City 500. Keselowski gained eight positions in points standings, rising to 13th position.
Kasey Kahne Off To a Rough Start
Kasey Kahne started the race in 10th position and had high hopes for the race at Bristol. Unfortunately, those high hopes were lost on the first caution of the day on Lap 23. Kahne was coming out of the turn and thought he was clear of Regan Smith who was on the outside. Kahne however, was not clear and clipped the front end of Smith’s car, sending himself and others into the wall.
[media-credit name=”By Chris Trotman, Getty Images” align=”alignright” width=”272″][/media-credit]”There is no reason to force the issue at all,” Kahne said. “I’m under Regan Smith, as slow as he was — I knew when my spotter cleared me — I’d be clear on exit (of the corner). (Smith) was there on exit. I listened too much to my spotter, I guess.”
The wreck collected Kahne, as well as Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Marcos Ambrose. They were all forced to take their cars to the garage for repairs. In the first four races of the season Kahne has finished 29th, 34th, 19th, and 37th position at Bristol. Kahne is now 32nd in point’s standings, 100 points behind the leader.
Matt Kenseth Continues Hot Streak
Matt Kenseth started the Food City 500 in 21st position and was in the Top 10 by lap 115. At the halfway mark in the race, Kenseth had put himself in the third position and was having a three-wide battle for the lead with Keselowski and Jeff Gordon. On the restart on Lap 347, Kenseth passed Keselowski and put his Best Buy Ford in the lead position. About 40 laps later, Keselowski took the lead back from Kenseth, leaving Kenseth to finish the race in second position.
Kenseth gained two positions in point’s standings, moving to third position, just 12 points behind leader and teammate Greg Biffle.
Brian Vickers Proves He Belongs
Brian Vickers drove the No. 55 car at Bristol on a six-race basis for Michael Waltrip Racing, in an effort to gain a full-time ride in the Cup Series. After qualifying in 25th position, Vickers stayed on the track during the first caution on Lap 23 to put himself in fourth position on the restart. On Lap 96, Vickers took the lead of the race from AJ Allmendinger, who also stayed out on the track during the restart on Lap 23. Vickers led a total of 125 laps during the race and came home with a fifth place finish.
In Vickers’ 14 previous starts at BMS he has led a total of one lap and has never finished better than 12th. In the 2011 season alone, Vickers led a total of 135 laps. As for the rest of Michael Watrip Racing, Martin Truex Jr finished in third position and Clint Bowyer finished in fourth. In all of Michael Waltrip Racing’s starts, they have never put all three cars in the top five in a single race.
Next week we head to the 2-mile D-shaped oval of Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Last season, Kevin Harvick took the victory at this track. However, home-town boy Jimmie Johnson has won five races at this track and would love to win there to make up his point’s deficit, where he currently sits in 17th position. Tune into FOX next Sunday to see who takes the victory in the fifth race of the season.