The Food City 500 has come and gone. With it comes a continued Carl Edwards resurgence and Joe Gibbs’ fourth win in eight 2016 Sprint Cup starts. Here are other winners and losers from Bristol Motor Speedway in this NASCAR recap.
Win: Roush Fenway Racing
Sure Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth led more than 50 percent of the race, with Edwards cementing his Chase status. But Trevor Bayne had a top-5, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is four points out of the final Chase spot, ahead of Matt Kenseth in the standings mind you.
Roush Fenway lost Kenseth and Edwards, in part, because they had just top flight prospects running the Nationwide Series. Both Bayne and Stenhouse Jr. had failed to deliver on that promise over the past two Sprint Cup seasons. In 2016, there’s discernible progress. Now about that trip to Victory Lane….
Lose: Kyle Busch
What a mess. Busch wrecked twice, slightly bumped a fan getting the car back to the garage and trashed the Bristol banking after finishing third to last. Busch has high highest average finish among Sprint Cup driver as Bristol and came off consecutive wins. That’s quite the transition.
For those wondering, I get Matt Kenseth led 142 laps, fell to the tire demons and finished 36th, but I’m still not the least bit worried about his Chase chances.
Draw: Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol was Bristol, with plenty of action and physical racing. But Busch has a point. The banking change gives drivers one real option for traveling around the track, and it’s created passing problems and tire issues over the last five years. Dale Earnhardt Jr. said it better at an event last week (via NBC.)
“Certainly when you’re trying to race a guy for position who’s got decent speed, it can be almost impossible to get around him because that top groove is so much harder to get around. That guy running that top line, that bottom doesn’t have the grip. You can’t get off the corner.”
Earnhardt Jr. suggested lowering the yellow line. I trust the drivers to have a better option than I would. It would just like to see Bristol be Bristol for the racing and not the wrecks.
NASCAR continues its short track push with a trip to the paper clip. Enjoy Martinsville week, and insert a random catchphrase here.