Gluck: Bristol race underscores season highs, lows

Hamlin’s 131.407 miles per hour pole-winning lap was a track qualifying record….


Kyle Busch, Edwards’ Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, took the lead on Lap 281.

Driver Denny Hamlin comes down the back straight during qualifying…

Then a late caution screwed up his strategy, and Busch found a way to win yet another Xfinity Series race at the Tennessee track. Refusing to get rattled, Logano stuck to what worked for him Saturday and won the Bristol night race for the second consecutive year. I remember the first time we won a night race and how fired up my guys were.

Short track racing at Bristol is one of the most exciting things you will see all season long and this time around, there are plenty of storylines.

It was shaping up to be a strong night for Michael Waltrip Racing’s two drivers, who are both adapting to this week’s decision to close the organization at the end of the season.

With a fast Rodney Childers-prepared Chevrolet under him, Harvick was forced to overcome two pit-road penalties, one for crew members jumping over the wall too soon and another for speeding while entering the pits. Clint Bowyer has secured his release from his contract and is looking for a new job, along with teammate David Ragan, who has been filling in for Brian Vickers since Vickers was sidelined with health issues. “We’re excited. Bristol’s been a great track for me in the past, and we’ve got nothing to lose this weekend, just gearing up for the Chase, so I think our FedEx team’s ready”. Meanwhile, Matt Kenseth, victor of the April race at Bristol and the fourth JGR driver, qualified 13th. Since coming back from a broken leg and foot suffered in a crash in February, Busch has won four Sprint Cup races, three Xfinity events and two Truck races.

“If you just hang around you are going to get in the top 15 here if you don’t do anything insane”, he said. “Anytime you can start in the top-five, that’s a great starting spot”. Brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch, along with Jeff Gordon, lead active drivers with five wins each at Bristol…. “Our car’s had speed in it all day and it looks like I really got the auto working the way I needed it to there in the final practice”.

“I thought driving the rainbow paint scheme was in my rearview mirror, but the fans overwhelmingly fought for it and wanted to see it one more time”, Gordon said Friday.

Three drivers failed to qualify: Travis Kvapil, Reed Sorenson and Jeb Burton. It allowed Busch to sail past the leader on the restart for his eighth series victory at Bristol.

“I was just hoping (Buescher) would run out of gas and obviously that happened”.

It was the 73rd Xfinity Series victory for Busch, who holds the record for most wins in NASCAR’s second tier series.


The highest finisher among Regan Smith, Elliott Sadler, Ryan Blaney and Daniel Suárez will win a $100,000 bonus as part of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash Program….

Driver Denny Hamlin comes down the back straight during qualifying for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race