2006 Food City 500
|Race 5 of 36 in the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season
|Date||March 26, 2006|
|Location||Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
0.533 mi (0.858 km)
|Distance||500 laps, 266.5 mi (428.89 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures up to 41 °F (5 °C); wind speeds up to 8.9 miles per hour (14.3 km/h)|
|Average speed||79.427 miles per hour (127.825 km/h)|
|Driver||no time trials|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Tony Stewart||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds|
Qualifying was cancelled on March 24 due to snow, sleet and rain, and the field was set with top 35 owners points from 2005, the Champion's Provisional (for Terry Labonte) and seven others, based on qualifying attempts in 2006. As a result, 2005 champion Tony Stewart sat on pole.
The race featured 18 cautions, and over 100 of the 500 laps were run under the yellow flag. Points leader Jimmie Johnson made contact with the car of Reed Sorenson, which caused a flat tire and put the #48 car multiple laps down. He finished 30th. Lap 188 saw the most notable wreck of the first half of the race, as Clint Bowyer spun Dave Blaney, causing a chain reaction that collected David Stremme, Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip and brought out a red flag to clean up.
Jeff Gordon spun Martin Truex, Jr. out on lap 415 in an incident that collected Jeff Burton, Robby Gordon, and J. J. Yeley. Kurt Busch, who had made up two laps lost earlier in the day due to tire problems, used the "bump-and-run" to nudge Matt Kenseth out of the lead with four laps to go. Gordon used the same tactic to take third, but on the final lap, Kenseth used the bump and run to spin Gordon out as Busch raced to victory. Gordon finished 21st and was involved in a shoving match with Kenseth on pit road after the race, for which he was put on probation and fined $10,000 by NASCAR.
Besides the Gordon and Kenseth feud, there also was bitter rivalry shown between winners Busch and Kevin Harvick following contact the previous week at Atlanta. In the pre-race ceremonies, driving meeting and interviews, Harvick spent his time taunting Busch for no good reason. Busch ignored his insults and dismissed reporters. Kevin had been complaining about Kurt all of the week and once retorted that Roger Penske (Kurt's boss) would make a fool of himself in hiring Busch. NASCAR warned the two that if they got into a feud onto the track they would be penalized. Kurt Busch later won the race and Kevin Harvick ended up in second place. When interviewed Kevin was not finished and said "I am glad for my second place spot but seeing Kurt up there is terrible. I hate to see him win. He is a big whiner."
The win was Busch's fifth in 11 career races at the Tennessee track and the fifteenth in his career. It was Dodge's first win at Bristol since Richard Petty in 1975.
|11||19||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||8||Chevrolet||130||500||$124,516|
|14||33||Denny Hamlin *||11||Chevrolet||121||500||$88,000|
|22||22||Reed Sorenson *||41||Dodge||97||499||$92,350|
|29||27||Clint Bowyer *||7||Chevrolet||76||495||$90,800|
|33||24||J.J. Yeley *||18||Chevrolet||64||469||$114,075|
|36||26||David Stremme *||40||Dodge||55||435||$86,400|
|38||25||Martin Truex Jr. *||1||Chevrolet||49||430||$86,300|
|42||31||Brent Sherman *||49||Dodge||37||302||$78,060|