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,” said Busch in reference to Waltrip’s record 12 Cup Series wins at BMS.
Sunday’s Food City 500 was the 72-year-old Waltrip’s final appearance at Bristol 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 by doing the presentation of the colors in his honor.
The track also placed a memorial on the yellow bridge near Earhart Campground, where Hinkle patrolled for nearly 15 years during NASCAR events.
Hinkle was killed in the line of duty in February.
CAUTION FLIES EARLY
It didn’t take long for the yellow flag to fly Sunday.
The caution dropped on lap 2 for 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 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. “When he went down in turn 1, he lost it under me and wiped us out.”
The caution was the first of 11 covering 77 laps in the 500-lap event.
STAGE WINNERS DILLON, LOGANO
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, running second prior to the caution, was expected to pull away for the stage win, but Dillon raced hard to the outside and held off Bowyer.
It was Dillon’s first stage win 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 and earned key points.
TOUGH DAY FOR THE POLESITTER
Chase Elliott started the Food City 500 on the pole, but plenty of problems made it a long day for the Chevrolet driver.
Elliott was involved in a spin on the frontstretch on lap 38, and he struggled with a lack of power steering the rest of the way.
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 Sunday for different reasons.
Harvick, who entered the race third in the points standings, 33 behind Busch, was sent to the back after his car failed pre-race inspection three times.
Harvick had qualified 13th for the race and finished 13th.
Preece qualified 30th but had to start from the back after having to switch to a backup car. He finished 25th, four laps off the pace.
NIGHT RACE WEEK
NASCAR action returns to Bristol on Aug. 15-17, capped by the Cup Series Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race that Saturday.
The Gander Outdoors Truck Series and the K&N Series East races open the action on Thursday, Aug. 15, and the NASCAR Xfinity Series Food City 300 runs that Friday.