The racing festivities began Wednesday night with history being made in the Camping World Truck Series. Ben Kennedy took the lead with 20 laps to go and was able to hold on and secure his first career win. Kennedy is the great-grandson of Bill France Sr., the founder of NASCAR. It was the first time in history that a NASCAR founding family member won a NASCAR race.
Friday night, the XFINITY series took to the track. Austin Dillon ended up winning in overtime in what was a very exciting race. With four laps to go, Kyle Busch tired to make a pass around Brad Keselowski for the lead. Busch ran out of room and made contact with the number 22 car of Keselowski and when his tire blew, Busch found himself colliding with the wall in turns three and four. This wreck brought out a caution on lap 296. While running under caution, Keselowski ran out of fuel and had to come pit, leaving Dillon the lead. Dillon chose the outside line for the restart and made it work for him. Kyle Larson had a few issues on the restart allowing Justin Allgaier to claim second position leaving Larson in third.
Saturday night, the Sprint Cup Series race was slated to begin. After rain delayed the beginning of the race, Denny Hamlin took the lead to early on. They were able to get 32 laps of green flag racing in before the rain started to come. After lap 38, the red flag waved and the drivers came to pit road. After another delay of about an hour, the cars were uncovered and the engines were re-fired. The drivers are able to get another 10 laps in under caution before the skies open up again and it began to pour. At around midnight local time, the race was officially postponed to Sunday at 1:00 pm.
Sunday afternoon, the rain continued. After another lengthy delay, the race finally restarted with the green flag waving around 4:45 pm local time. There was open racing until around 7:00 pm when the rain came again and put the race under caution with about 60 laps to go and eventually went under another red flag. However, this delay was over quickly and the final laps were ran. The race finished just shy of 24 hours after it was scheduled to begin.
On what was described by Denny Hamlin and a number of other drivers as a constantly changing race track, Kevin Harvick won his second race of the season after separating himself following the final restart. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. secured his best finish of the season with a second place finish. Hamlin came back from being two laps down to finished third. Austin Dillon finished fourth and Chris Buescher had the second top five finish of his career, finishing fifth and claiming a spot in the Chase with this finish and his win at Pocono.
A number of top drivers had their day cut short. Kyle Busch had a rear suspension problem and spun out on lap 357. Allgaier changed lanes at the last second and collided with Busch, who was sideways and almost stopped completely on the track, taking out Martin Truex Jr. and Larson with him. Both Truex and Larson were running in the top 10 at the time. Truex and Larson finished 23rd and 24th, respectively and Kyle Busch finished 39th. Kurt Busch got loose on lap 372 and started an 11 car wreck that also took out Keselowski, Larson, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Dillon, Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson. Kurt finished 38th, Keselowski 33rd, Blaney 35th, Logano 10th, Kenseth 37th, and Johnson seventh.
Even with the rain, the top line was the much more effective line. This is consistently the case at Bristol. This year, NASCAR tried to help the bottom line by applying rosin to the track. Rosin is a sticky substance formed for the resin that pine trees make naturally. Rosin is commonly used by pitchers in baseball and by musicians who use a bow for instruments like violin and cello. The rosin helped make the bottom line usable, but the top line was still the better line. Normally, the drivers rely on the rubber put down on the track for grip, but with all the rain this weekend the track was clean, which made the rosin even more important.
After 24 hours of waiting, fans got to see Harvick invite his teammate, boss, and friend, Tony Stewart to do burn outs with him after the race. This is Stewart’s final season as a driver and final race at Bristol. In a very heart-warming moment, all the fans who attended the race on the make-up day and those who tuned in on television got to see one of the best drivers of this generation be honored, despite a 30th place finish.