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BMS notes: Larson laments the race that got away

Jeff Birchfield • Apr 16, 2018 at 5:23 PM

BRISTOL — Kyle Larson came into the rain-halted Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with the lead after 204 laps. He was out in front for a good portion of Monday's action as well, leading a race-high 200 laps and holding a four-second lead over Kyle Busch when a caution flew with 29 laps to go.

It gave Kyle Busch the opportunity to bump past Larson with five laps to go for the race win. It left Larson, who has five top-10 finishes in nine Bristol starts, frustrated and wondering what if.

"I was hoping it would go green to the end. I was checked out on that long run," Larson said. "I just didn't expect to get that loose that last run. Not sure if the track changed a lot there or what, but I lost the balance of the car. Maybe, I should have changed my line."

He wasn't upset by the tactic which Busch used to get by him, just aggravated he couldn't retaliate with the same move with not enough slower cars left at the end of the race.

"I knew it would be hard to get back to him," Larson said. "I knew I would need a lapper to hold him up on the exit and kill his momentum to allow me to get to his back bumper."

BIG DAY FOR BUBBA

Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. led the first laps of his NASCAR Cup Series career with a pass of Brad Keselowski on lap 375.

Those were the first laps led at Bristol for the No. 43 Richard Petty-owned car since John Andretti led 51 laps on his way to a second-place finish. Wallace wound up 16th, the highest finishing rookie in the field.

KNOXVILLE PAIR

Knoxville driver Trevor Bayne came under criticism from some of his fellow drivers after they felt he was the cause of a couple of accidents during Sunday's action. The driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford was much more steady over the second half of the race, although he wasn't happy about a 24th-place finish.

"The results stink right now," Bayne said. "We want to be clicking off top 15s and top 10s, but we haven't had a clean weekend yet. You can't have wrecks on the race track and you can't have blown tires. You can't have silly things happening and some of that is on us. We'll go to Richmond, and I just hope for a clean weekend where we can get the results we deserve."

Another Knoxville driver, Chad Finchum, finished 33rd in his NASCAR Cup Series debut. His No. 66 Toyota was eliminated from the race after 335 laps as the result of an earlier accident.

ROUGH RACE FOR TRUEX

Defending NASCAR champion Martin Truex Jr. had his car damaged early in the Food City 500. His crew chief Cole Pearn joked about the No. 78 Toyota having an advantage with the front end torn up, that the driver could now see where the tires are headed.

Truex ultimately finished 26th, some 42 laps off the pace after retiring due to the accident.

HONORING THE VICTIMS

Canadian driver D.J. Kennington sported a logo of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team on the hood of his No. 96 Toyota for the Food City 500 weekend. There were 16 people killed in a tragic bus crash involving the Saskatchewan team last week. Kennington is a former junior hockey player and still plays as a goalie on a club team. The hood will be auctioned off to help the families' of the victims. Michael Annett, who grew up playing hockey in Iowa, also ran a sticker to honor the victims on his No. 5 Chevrolet during Saturday's Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 race.

DIRT TRACKING

Georgia racing veteran Dale McDowell passed Donald McIntosh with eight laps to go to win Saturday night's Scott Sexton Memorial race at Volunteer Speedway.

McDowell worked his way up from a 10th place starting spot to win the 52-lap race. Newport racer Jimmy Owens finished third, ahead of Georgia racer Casey Roberts, Cory Hedgecock of Loudon and five-time track champion Vic Hill of Morristown.

Hedgecock held off Knoxville driver Trevor Sise to win the 30-lap Crate Late Model feature. Johnson City driver Tim Maupin finished seventh.

Other winners were Jed Emert of Maryville (Sportsman Late Model), Lee Merritt of Knoxville (Classic) and Austin Atkins of Morristown, who made a last-lap pass to win the Modified Street feature.

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