To think that Daytona would become a marathon, and end up being one of the more exciting races in the last couple years. Who would have thought that just a few short weeks later, it would happen once again.
Sure, the beginning of the Bristol race came later than expected, and once again the weather became a factor. Into the night the race would go, and it became a race to halfway. But, once that point was met, it was time to see who could go the distance, because it seemed the window would be big enough to get the entire race in.
Favorite drivers fell hard, whether at fault of their own, a faulty part, or by unfortunate luck. Still, there were some drivers that were expected to be near the front, while others surprised everyone at how well they ran. In the end, it was a surprise, and the skies, that would end the race.
Just two laps to go, suddenly the caution comes out, seemingly by accident. Race control even said that the caution should not have come out, as the lights were tripped. So, it seemed like the race would be decided in a true short-track shootout. Suddenly, the skies decided to play another factor. It began drizzling, then raining...and suddenly pouring. Laps were added to the race, but NASCAR officials all agreed the track was lost in a short time, and at that point, it was done.
The winner got to celebrate the same way he celebrates each win...by flipping out. Carl Edwards had a strong car all night, and in the end he was strong when it mattered most. Even if the caution had not waved, the field was covered, and there was no doubt the No. 99 was heading to celebrate a win, and becoming the fourth driver to qualify for the Chase.
At the same time, his win did nothing for the victory pool, as for the first time this year no writer recorded a win. Not only that, but only three of the writers would manage a top-10 run, a tough break for many. Here's where everyone stands after the Food City 500:
Rob Tiongson (164) Jeff Gordon finished 7th - 1
Ryan O'Hara (152) Brad Keselowski finished 14th - 2
Dustin Parks (149) Brad Keselowski finished 14th - 1
Kara Martin (140) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 24th - 1
Sal Sigala Jr (138) Jimmie Johnson finished 19th - 1
Patti Rodisch (127) Jeff Gordon finished 7th - 1
Billy Fellin (120) Kyle Busch finished 29th - 0
Aaron Rosser (116) Joey Logano finished 20th - 1
Michael Hirshbein (111) Kyle Busch finished 29th - 0
Rob Blount (106) Kasey Kahne finished 8th - 0
Misan Akuya (97) Jamie McMurray finished 38th - 0
James Broomhead (91) Kyle Busch finished 29th - 1
Next Race: The fifth different track will welcome NASCAR next week. The season started with a restrictor plate superspeedway, then it was to a flat track in Phoenix. Last week was the common 1.5-mile speedway that is mostly seen all year, and this week was a short track. The fifth different one still means high speeds, but now also multiple grooves.
Another trip out west is on the schedule as it will be a visit to Hollywood, or at least nearby.
Up next is the Auto Club Speedway in Southern California, the massive 2-mile speedway that is similar to Michigan, and has seen many different lanes to race, with many options to make the car handle very well.
Writers, don't get caught up in the glitz and glamor, but do have your picks for the Auto Club 400 sent in by Thursday, March 20, at 10 p.m. ET.