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Busch shows Waltrip sign of respect

Kevin Mays • Updated Apr 7, 2019 at 6:44 PM

BRISTOL – Kyle Busch is nicknamed “Rowdy” for a reason, but Sunday he showed at least a glimpse of his softer side.

After winning his eighth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Busch gave a figurative tip of the hat to NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip.

“It ain’t 12, that’s for sure. So I got more to go. We’re getting there and it’s fun,” Busch said, referring to Waltrip’s record 12 Cup wins at BMS.

Sunday’s Food City 500 was the 72-year-old Waltrip’s final appearance at BMS as either a driver or television commentator. Waltrip announced his retirement from Fox’s NASCAR coverage when the network completes its run of broadcasting the first half of the racing season in June.

FALLEN OFFICER HONORED

BMS recognized the service of fallen Sullivan County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Steve Hinkle on Sunday with the presentation of the colors being done in his honor.

The track has also placed a memorial on the yellow bridge near Earhart Campground at BMS, where Hinkle patrolled for nearly 15 years during NASCAR events.

Hinkle was killed in the line of duty in February.

CAUTION FLIES EARLY

It did not take long for the yellow flag to fly Sunday.

The caution dropped on lap two after an incident involving Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Preece, William Byron and Aric Almirola after Byron ran into the back of Almirola.

Almirola’s car was damaged enough to force it to be parked behind the wall for the rest of the race.

“(Byron) just got loose under me. He struggled to get going on the initial start. He spun his tires and then was just loose out of control that whole first lap,” Almirola said after being bumped by Byron. “When he went down in turn one, he lost it under me and wiped us out.”

The caution was the first of 11 caution periods for 77 laps during the 500-lap event.

DILLON WINS FIRST STAGE, LOGANO GETS STAGE 2

With the leaders coming to pit road following a caution near the end of stage 1 – the first 125 laps — Clint Bowyer, Ty Dillon and Paul Menard decided to stay on the track.

Bowyer, who was running second prior to the caution, was expected to pull away for the stage win.

Instead, Dillon raced hard to the outside and held off Bowyer for the stage win.

It was the first stage win for Dillon since NASCAR implemented the stage format at the beginning of the 2017 season.

Joey Logano led the final 106 of 125 laps in the second stage of the race and won key stage points.

TOUGH DAY FOR THE POLE SITTER

Chase Elliott started the Food City 500 on the pole, but had plenty of problems to make it a long day for the Chevrolet driver.

Elliott was involved in a spin on the front stretch on lap 38.

He had to fight the steering wheel in his car the rest of the way after he struggled with the lack of power steering in the vehicle.

Still, he battled back to stay on the lead lap and finish 11th.

BACK OF THE PACK

Kevin Harvick and Preece started at the back of the pack in the race for different reasons.

Harvick, who entered the race third in the points standings and 33 behind Busch, was sent to the back after his car failed pre-race inspection three times.

Harvick qualified 13th for the race and finished 13th.

Preece qualified to start 30th, but was sent to the rear of the field after his team was forced to go to a backup car to run the event. He finished 25th, four laps off the pace.

NIGHT RACE WEEK

NASCAR action returns to BMS Aug. 15-17, concluding with the Cup Series Bass Pro Shops, NRA Night Race on Saturday, Aug. 17.

NASCAR Racing action at BMS begins on Thursday, Aug. 15 with the Gander Outdoors Truck Series and the K&N Series East races.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Food City 300 is scheduled at BMS on Friday, Aug. 16.

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