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Weather takes toll on attendance at BMS

March 16th, 2014 10:57 pm by Jeff Birchfield

Weather takes toll on attendance at BMS

BRISTOL — Carl Edwards won Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in an official time of three hours and 11 minutes. That is the actual track time and doesn’t take into account, the race was actually delayed two hours at the start and stopped again for three hours and 19 minutes for rain on lap 124.

The wet weather obviously hurt the crowds for Sunday race with the stands less than a quarter-full for most of the day, and around 10 percent capacity as the race went into the night.

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The caution caper

NASCAR blamed a mysterious caution two laps before the end of the Food City 500 on a problem with the track’s lighting system before explaining it was actually human error.

“A track light malfunction triggered the final caution,” NASCAR vice president Robin Pemberton said in a statement. “We threw a full caution as the operation became compromised.”

It was later clarified that one of the people in the flag stand hit the manual override switch to trigger the caution.

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Blue Oval bonanza

Fords took the top three positions in Sunday’s race and four of the top five positions.

It was the 11th victory overall for car owner Jack Roush at Bristol and his organization’s first win since Edwards’ victory in the 2008 IRWIN Tools Night Race.

Ford has 34 wins at Bristol, its second most of any track on the Sprint Cup circuit. The mark is only bested by the Blue Oval brand’s 35 wins at Michigan.

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Mr. Consistency

Jeff Gordon finished seventh in Sunday’s Food City 500.

It was his fourth top-10 finish to start the season, the first time the four-time NASCAR champion has done that in his career. His teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., however wasn’t able to score his fourth top-two finish to start the season. Earnhardt finished 24th, four laps down to the race winner. 

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Tire troubles.

Six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson was leading in the early going, but saw his day turn sour with a blown right front tire. Johnson lost two laps with the tire problem and fell to 39th in the field. He never fully recovered from the early problems and finished 19th.

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Rough night for the Busch brothers.

Kyle Busch got two laps down with a tire problem in the Food City 500, and it only got worse on lap 394 when he spun out at the exit of turn four. Sitting in the middle of the track, his No. 18 Toyota was clipped by the No. 41 Chevrolet of his brother Kurt. The incident broke the ball joint on Kurt Busch’s car and sent it to the garage for repairs.

Kyle Busch finished 29th in the race, while Kurt Busch wound up 35th, some 30 laps down.

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Don’t squeeze the Charmin

The thin fiberglass packing around the battery on Alex Bowman’s No. 23 Toyota fell out of his car on lap 61 and the battery also fell out. It caused Parker Kligerman to spin out and created a caution period for debris.

It also caused some confusion in the FOX television broadcast booth as the announcers though it was toilet paper on the track. Bowman finally came on the air to clear up the confusion.

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South Carolina driver Chris Madden held off Scott Bloomquist to win his second “Spring Thaw” at Volunteer Speedway on Saturday night.

Eric Wells started the race from the pole position. Madden passed him for the lead on lap 22, while Bloomquist passed him five laps later.

Bloomquist was able to close on Madden, but he was never able to get around him.

Wells finished third as Billy Ogle Jr. and Mike Marlar rounded out the top five.

Newport driver Josh Henry won a 30-lap Steel Head Late Model feature passing Jason Manley on the final turn for the victory.

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