2014 Food City 500
|Race 4 of 36 in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season|
|Location||Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
0.533 mi (0.858 km)
|Distance||503 laps, 268.099 mi (431.574 km)|
|Scheduled Distance||500 laps, 266.5 mi (429 km)|
|Weather||Partly cloudy with chances of rain and a temperature of 47 °F (8 °C); wind out of the southeast at 13 mph (21 km/h)|
|Average speed||84.051 mph (135.267 km/h)|
|Driver||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Matt Kenseth||Joe Gibbs Racing|
||Roush Fenway Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, and Larry McReynolds|
|Nielsen Ratings||4.5/9 (Final)
7.3 Million viewers
The 2014 Food City 500 was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car race held on March 16, 2014, at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Contested over 503 laps on the 0.533 miles (0.858 km) concrete oval, it was the fourth race of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Carl Edwards won the race, his first of the season, while teammate Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. finished second, while Aric Almirola, Tony Stewart, and Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top five. The top rookies of the race were Kyle Larson (10th), Austin Dillon (11th), and Justin Allgaier (17th).
Previous week's race
On the final lap of the race, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ran out of gas exiting turn 2 and Brad Keselowski passed him to take the checkered flag. “Man this Penske organization is just doing everything so well right now,” Keselowski said. "Locked in the Chase early. I don't have to hear all that crap all year long about not being in the Chase." “Well I mean running out of gas that is tough, but the one thing you can’t do is let it get under your skin and get under your teams skin,” said Earnhardt Jr.. “We have got a good thing going, we’ve got to be positive. We’ve got to keep trying to win races. I know my fans are disappointed, but we got to stay positive. Look forward to Bristol and try to win there.”
The track, Bristol Motor Speedway, is a four-turn short track oval that is 0.533 miles (0.858 km) long. The track's turns are banked from twenty-four to thirty degrees, while the front stretch, the location of the finish line, is banked from six to ten degrees. The back stretch also has banking from six to ten degrees. The track has a seating capacity of 160,000 people. The race consists of 500 laps, which is equivalent to a race distance of 266.5 miles (428.9 km).
The 2013 winner was Kasey Kahne.
Practice and qualifying
Kurt Busch was the fastest in the first practice session with a time of 14.784 and a speed of 129.789 mph (208.875 km/h). His younger brother Kyle Busch was among the four drivers who wrecked their primary cars during the session. Danica Patrick slid, hit the wall in turn 4, ricochet into Parker Kligerman and sent him into the wall. Busch and Greg Biffle were involved in a similar situation in the same session. Justin Allgaier bounced off the turn 1 wall. “I went straight up in the fence,’’ Allgaier said. “I thought the right front tire had blown, just the way it felt. Obviously, the right front was still up.’’ Denny Hamlin won the pole with a new track record time of 14.761 and a speed of 129.991 mph (209.200 km/h). “It’s faster than I ever imagined going around this track,’’ Hamlin said after his 18th career Sprint Cup pole. “Every new rule change we have just makes these cars go a little bit faster.’’ “If you’re fast, you’re fast and it shows through,’’ Brad Keselowski said. “I’m sure Denny would say the same thing. He has a fast race car and when that’s the case this qualifying format is really easy.’’ “Well, the first run is the one you needed to get it done with and we were just too tight,’’ Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said. “We wanted to get the car comfortable and had all that Nationwide practice in between and kind of overshot the track a little bit.” Ryan Newman was the fastest in the second practice session with a time of 15.099 and a speed of 127.081 mph (204.517 km/h). Casey Mears was the fastest in the final practice session with a time of 15.240 and a speed of 125.906 mph (202.626 km/h). Landon Cassill broke the rear-end housing and slammed the wall hard during the session. He was forced to roll out his backup car and started from the rear because this change took place after qualifying.
The race was scheduled to start at 1:13 p.m. Eastern time, but was delayed for two hours by heavy rain. The race finally got underway at 3:00 p.m. when Denny Hamlin led the field to the green flag.
Brad Keselowski took the lead on lap three. It didn't take long before he started lapping cars in typical Bristol fashion.
Joey Logano used a lap car as a pick to get passed his teammate for the lead on lap 50.
Because of overnight and morning showers, NASCAR threw a competition caution on lap 51. Jimmie Johnson took just two tires and exited pit road as the leader. His teammate Jeff Gordon was exiting his stall when David Ragan was coming into his. Ragan came down across Gordon and got turned around. This congestion is a product of Bristol's two pit roads.
The race restarted on lap 58.
Debris in turn 2 brought out the second caution of the race on lap 61.
The race restarted on lap 66 and Parker Kligerman got loose and turned sideways in turn 3 bringing out the third caution of the race. He apparently ran over a battery pack that came off a car well in front of him. The hood pins on his deck lid were carrying what appeared to be toilet paper. Alex Bowman stalled on the apron in turn 1 and needed a push from one of the safety trucks to get back to pit road. It was discovered that the battery pack on the track belonged to his car.
The race restarted on lap 76.
Matt Kenseth took the lead on lap 106.
The right-front tire on Johnson's car started coming apart on lap 114. Unlike Martinsville and Richmond, the right-side tires run with the inner-liner at Bristol. This is what prevents a car from simply spinning out completely when there's a tire blowout. Instead, the tire simply starts to unwind itself like a spool allowing the car to get to pit road to change out the tires. The happened under green and with the lap times at Bristol averaging 15 seconds, Jimmie ended up going a number of laps down. He was somewhat saved by the fourth caution of the race on lap 118 when the rain returned. Joey Logano was the first car one lap down, but he didn't get his lap back since he pitted with the leader. Kenseth and Hamlin traded the lead on pit road because Matt was pitted before the start/finish line. He was the first one off pit road and retook the lead.
The rain started off as a light drizzle, but then turned heavier and the race was red flagged on lap 125. The track was dried enough that the drivers were called back to their cars after an hour and eleven minutes. Unfortunately, the rain picked up again and delayed the race for another hour and 45 minutes. After the second delay, the cars started rolling back onto the track.
After a three hour rain delay, the race restarted on lap 137.
Kurt Busch took the lead on lap 154.
The fourth caution of the race flew on lap 156 when Cole Whitt came across the nose of Danica Patrick and got turned into the wall on the front stretch. Whitt's car slid down the surface in turn 1 right in front of the leaders. In a classic Bristol accordion-effect, Timmy Hill slammed into the back of Matt Kenseth trying to slow down.
The race restarted on lap 167.
Jamie McMurray and Kurt Busch swapped the lead over the next three laps until McMurray cleared Kurt on lap 183.
Because of the second rain delay, a second competition caution (fifth of the race) flew on lap 187. Clint Bowyer stayed out when the leaders pitted and he assumed the lead. Kyle Busch won the race off pit road.
The race restarted on lap 193.
Kyle Busch took the lead on lap 196.
Kasey Kahne took the lead on lap 269.
Kyle made an unscheduled stop on lap 271 for what he thought was a flat tire after making contact with Dale Earnhardt, Jr..
The sixth caution of the race flew on lap 276 after Ryan Truex slammed the wall in turn 2. He had a right-front tire blowout. While the inner-liner will prevent a spinout, it will cause the car to go up the track and slam the wall pretty hard. Kahne swapped the lead with Denny Hamlin on pit road as he was pitted before the start/finish line but he would exit pit road the leader.
The race restarted on lap 285 and Kahne lost the lead to Matt Kenseth.
The seventh caution of the race flew on lap 331 after Michael McDowell turned David Ragan exiting turn 4. Kenseth traded the lead with Hamlin as Kenseth pitted on the backstretch. He exited pit road as the leader.
The race restarted on lap 339.
The eighth caution of the race flew on lap 394 after Kyle Busch had a left-side tire go flat and spun out in turn 4. Unlike the right-side tires, NASCAR doesn't run inner-liners in the left-sides at any track. He came to a stop in the middle of the race track on the exit of turn 4 and was just clipped by his brother Kurt. This ended up cutting the left-front tire on his car. He and Travis Kvapil also hit the wall trying to avoid Kyle. Kenseth and Hamlin traded the lead on pit road but it was Kevin Harvick who would exit as the leader.
The race restarted with 97 laps to go.
The ninth caution of the race flew with 78 laps to go after Martin Truex, Jr. cut down his left-rear tire, did a complete 360 and came to a stop at the exit of turn 2. Carl Edwards chose not to pit and assumed the lead.
The race restarted with 71 laps to go.
The tenth caution of the race flew with 51 laps to go after Kevin Harvick had a broken gear that sent his car into the wall hard in turn 1. Brad Keselowski rammed into the back of Jamie McMurray as both were trying to avoid hitting Harvick.
The race restarted with 39 laps to go.
The eleventh caution of the race flew with three laps to go after an unnamed individual accidentally hit the manual override switch in the flag stand that turned on the caution lights. “We were scanning cars and spotters, and there's some of us in the tower that only heard it after the teams were talking about it because we were looking at other things around the racetrack,’’ Robin Pemberton NASCAR vice-president of competition said after the race. “We learn a lot of lessons, and when we learn a lesson like this we'll go in and further investigate some things. As you know, all the electronics that we've had and have installed in the trailers for freeze the field and all these other things, there's still ‑ you still have to integrate into the track facilities, so there's probably some things that we needed to do to better secure that area where the manual override is on the lights.’’
Just as the field was being lined up to restart the race, rain started to fall once again. After 503 laps, a two hour delay to start the race, three hour delay at the quarter mark and multiple rain showers, NASCAR decided to waived the checkered flag and Carl Edwards took the victory at Bristol Motor Speedway. “It’s just an awesome night,” Edwards said. “We’re in the Chase and we’re gonna go win this championship. I just can’t believe we turned this thing around. We were terrible on Saturday, so I’m just glad we turned it around. Jimmy is the man.” Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. scored his best career finish with a runner up spot. “We're having a lot of fun,” said Stenhouse Jr. “We're just slowly working and getting better and better. I thought we were a lot better than our finish last week at Las Vegas except I sped on pit road. I think we've got some good cars and everybody at the shop is working hard on building those.” Aric Almirola scored what was at the time his best career finish in third until he scored his first career win at Daytona International Speedway in the Coke Zero 400 which ironically was also affected by rain.
Standings after the race
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- "Bristol Motor Speedway". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Media Group, LLC. January 3, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
- "Entry List". jayski.com. NASCAR Statistics. March 10, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
- "First Practice Results". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. March 14, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
- "Qualifying Results". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. March 14, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
- "Second Practice Results". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. March 15, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
- "Final Practice Results". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. March 15, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
- "Food City 500 Results". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. March 16, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- "Points Standings". jayski.com. NASCAR Statistics. March 16, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- "Manufacturer Standings". jayski.com. NASCAR Statistics. March 16, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- "Nielsen Ratings". Jayski.com. Jayski LLC. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Pistone, Pete (March 9, 2014). "Keselowski Doubles Down in Vegas". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
- "Bristol Motor Speedway Track Facts". Bristol Motor Speedway. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
- Long, Dustin (March 14, 2014). "Four Wreck Primary Cars". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
- Long, Dustin (March 14, 2014). "Hamlin Hustles to Bristol Pole". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
- Long, Dustin (March 16, 2014). "Human Error Causes Caution Light Snafu". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- Pistone, Pete (March 16, 2014). "Edwards Prevails in Bristol". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
2014 Kobalt 400
|NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
2014 Auto Club 400