Bristol race under red-flag
The Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway is currently under a red-flag condition due to rain.
Drivers have completed 124 laps of the 500-lap event on the 0.533-mile track.
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth was leading when rain returned.
Jamie McMurray (Chip Ganassi Racing), Brad Keselowski (Team Penske), Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Hendrick Motorsports) were running second through fifth when the race was halted.
"I think we're pretty close, but track conditions are going to change a lot," Kenseth said during the delay. "It's going to change again now with the rain and then as it builds up rubber and the groove gets up to the rim eventually, assuming we have more than 100 or 150 laps without rain."
Keselowski moved to the front early, overtaking pole sitter Denny Hamlin once the race began. Lapped traffic eventual slowed the leader, however, and Keselowski eventually lost the lead to teammate Joey Logano.
A competition caution, due to the morning rain, allowed defending series champion Jimmie Johnson to get out front with a two-tire stop. The move came back to bite the Hendrick driver, however, as he was forced to pit road prior to the red flag with a flat right-front tire. He returned to the track 39th, two laps down.
Logano also had issues, although his came in the form of a loss of power steering. "It's impossible to turn at this point," Logano told his crew. "I cannot turn."
Back-to-back debris cautions slowed the pace of the race, but failed to shake up the running order as the majority of the lead-lap cars stayed on the track.
Kenseth had moved around Johnson to take the top spot on Lap 98.
The start of the race was delayed 1 hour, 44 minutes due to rain.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS – CURRENTLY 39TH
YOU HAD A GREAT CAR YOU HAD GREAT TRACK POSITION THEN YOU HAD THE TIRE COME APART CORRECT?
“Yeah, it was a really weird deal. The tire has air in it and is fine over there it’s just the tread came off the top of it. That slowed me down lost control I thought I had a flat. Came to pit road, the tire wasn’t flat, but the tread isn’t on it anymore.”
BEYOND THAT IT LOOKED LIKE YOU HAD A GOOD CAR AND WE STILL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO:
“Yeah, we only went down three laps. We should get the wave around here, be down two laps and hopefully we can get some quick cautions and get back on the lead lap. We have a great KOBALT Chevrolet and we just need to get back to green and get going.”
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR TIRE?
“We are just trying to figure out what happened. The tire still had air in it. It didn’t wear it out. You can see the wear indicator on there (referencing a piece of the tire that came off the car). It certainly didn’t wear the tire out. Something made it come apart in this real long 50 foot section. I don’t know if we clipped something on the track that kind of scored the tread and then it unraveled or if something else happened with the tire. Now we are down multiple laps and we think it’s only three which there is a lot of racing left maybe we can get those three laps back and get on the lead lap and race for a win here.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS – CURRENTLY 16TH
TOUGH LUCK ON THAT FIRST PIT STOP. NOW THAT YOU ARE WORKING YOUR WAY BACK UP THROUGH THE PACK HOW IS THE CAR HANDLING?
“Yeah that first incident was on us. It is our responsibility to get out of the box clean. With so many cars there on the lead lap with the competition caution we just made a little mistake there. That definitely got us behind, but man what a race car. I’m having so much fun out there. Not that I want to come from the back, but it sure is fun when you have a race car like what we have right now with our Axalta Chevy SS. We are just going to keep tuning on it. Obviously this rain is going to change a lot of things, wash that rubber away and hopefully takes off as good as it did at the beginning of the race.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – CURRENTLY NINTH
HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR RACE CAR SO FAR?
“It’s alright. We’re wearing pretty good on the left-front that first run so we fell back a bit and got a pretty good vibration. It made it tough the last 20 laps of that run, but other than that I feel like we’ve been better, just a little free working on that. Now with the rain it will probably go back that direction again. Just trying to keep up with what’s going on, but yeah I feel pretty good about our Farmers Insurance Chevy I think the longer the race goes the better we will get.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET SS – CURRENTLY SECOND
CURRENTLY RUNNING SECOND HOW HAS YOUR RACE BEEN SO FAR?
“The McDonald’s Chevy has been really good. I felt like the first 10 laps with that green initially when the race started that the car was too free, but then it just started getting better as the run went on. I felt like our car isn’t that good on the take-off, but it seems to stay up there really well. It’s going to be interesting to see what the track does now that it’s rained again and they are going to blow all the rubber off of it. Overall Keith Rodden (crew chief) and all the guys on this Chip Ganassi team have done a really good job.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – CURRENTLY SIXTH
ON HIS DAY THUS FAR:
“The team has done a great job once again. We had a tough Friday, but everybody just sits down and we are all new together and they are trying to figure out what I like and all the new rules and everything that goes into everything we have going on with the new team as well. They just do a great job at figuring out what they need in the car and have done a great job again this weekend.”