BRISTOL — Brad Keselowski drove the No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge to victory in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, meaning four different manufacturers (Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet and Dodge) have won the first four races of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
Matt Kenseth, runner-up in Sunday’s race, won the season-opener at Daytona in a Ford. Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota came out on top at Phoenix, while Tony Stewart won at Las Vegas race in a Chevrolet.
n Greg Biffle wasn’t able to win on Sunday, but the pole sitter for the Food City 500 maintained his lead in the Sprint Cup point standings with a 13th place finish.
Biffle now holds a nine-point advantage over Kevin Harvick, and a 12-point lead over Kenseth.
n It was one of the more interesting pre-race ceremonies at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Former Vice-Presidental candidate Sarah Palin addressed the crowd before driver introductions. Soon afterwards, the introduction songs which the drivers picked for themselves were played.
Dave Blaney, who was leading the Daytona 500 after Juan Pablo Montoya’s recent encounter with a jet dryer, chose the Papa Chubby song, “If the Diesel Don’t Get You, the Jet Fuel Will” for his intro. Brian Vickers, making his first start of the 2012 season, picked Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle.”
Jamie McMurray tried to get a little support with “Rocky Top,” but the crowd made little noise when the former Daytona 500 winner was introduced.
n Kingsport race car John King II was presented the keys to the city of his hometown during pre-race ceremonies for the Food City 500.
Back on Feb. 24, King captured the season-opening victory at Daytona for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The 23-year-old was the first rookie to accomplish the feat and only one of three drivers who have earned their first victory at Daytona.
“It’s an absolute honor to be granted the keys to Kingsport,” King said. “Kingsport is a very racing-oriented community and they have really supported me throughout my racing career.
“To be able to bring back a win from Daytona and to have the people stand by me for my successes is more than I could have ever asked for.”
n Bristol driver Randy Moore set a new world record for a monster truck at Charlotte’s zMax Dragway on Saturday.
Moore posted a fastest time of 96.80 mph to break his previous record of 93 mph at Bristol Dragway.
On the final run of the day, in an effort to reach 100 mph, the truck’s engine blew, ending the attempt.
n Dale McDowell helped to give Richard Childress Racing a dirt track, concrete sweep on Saturday night.
Following Elliott Sadler’s win in the Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway earlier in the day, McDowell led flag-to-flag to win the 11th annual ‘Spring Thaw’ dirt late model feature at Volunteer Speedway.
McDowell from Chickamauga, Ga., beat local favorites five-time track champion Vic Hill of Morristown, dirt racing hall of famer Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg and defending Lucas Oil Late Model champion Jimmy Owens of Newport in the 60-lap main event.
Joey Coulter, a Camping World Truck Series driver for RCR, won the Pro Late Model feature after two-time defending track champion Dale Ball of Johnson City spun out after contact with another car with seven laps to go.
Coulter then held off a determined effort by Jonesborough driver Tim Byrd to score his first Volunteer victory.