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Winning Restart Ignites Controversy At Bristol

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, August 23 2014

Ryan Blaney breaks to the front of the field during the final restart at Bristol on Friday night. The move won the race but not universal respect. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Ryan Blaney capitalized on the final restart in Friday’s rain delayed Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway, but the maneuver that gave him his first Nationwide Series victory this season wasn’t without controversy.

Kyle Busch, who was leading at the time, criticized the way Blaney handled the restart. Blaney said Busch had been going late on the restarts. And third-place finisher Chase Elliott said he didn’t see anything wrong with the restart.

“Kyle made a rare mistake on a restart,” said Elliott, who took a 13-point lead in the standings over JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith.

“It was just really, really, really hard not to spin your tires here. That’s always been the case here on restarts every time I’ve been here. For whatever reason, it was about 10 times worse tonight than I have ever seen it. If you ever got your tires spinning, you couldn’t ever get it back.

“I think when he (Busch) initially got on the gas he got them spinning and Ryan didn’t spin his tires as bad. That gave him a chance to get back going. He (Busch) was still spinning them and at that point he (Blaney) kinda took off. No harm, no foul in my opinion. I thought it was just a restart where a guy spun his tires and the other guy capitalized.”

The restart issue developed following the 10th and final caution period. Busch was the leader and elected the outside lane for the restart that occurred with six laps remaining in the 300-lap event. That placed the second-place Blaney on the inside. Elliott restarted behind Blaney and Regan Smith followed Busch. Busch appeared to be attempting to slow the field when Blaney took off and beat Busch to the start-finish line to lead lap 294. Under NASCAR’s restart rules, the leader controls the start in the restart zone. However, once the green flag waves, the second-place car may beat the leader to the line.

“He likes to go really late,” Blaney said about the way Busch executes his restarts. “I’ve learned that in the Truck stuff and also racing with him in other Nationwide races. He goes really late, so I was kind of prepared for that and my spotter, Joey Meier, did a great job of confirming with me that he was going very late.”

Busch, however, said his rear tires weren’t on the track as the reason he couldn’t accelerate forward. He also pointed a finger at NASCAR for not policing the restarts properly as the reason Blaney snatched the lead from him.

“The leader is at the biggest disadvantage, I think, because everybody tries to always hold back to the inside,” said Busch, who led twice for 161 laps. “They try to time a run so when the leader goes they have momentum on the leader. I’m trying to maintain a regular speed and those guys are falling back, falling back. Then I try to fall back and then they fall back more. Now you’re underneath the pit road speed. You try to maintain it and then they get a run on your inside.

“The 22 (Blaney) was 5 mph faster than me by the first double yellow stripe. I didn’t go because I didn’t want to go, but everybody behind me is trying to go because they’re following the 22. I’m trying to wait for him to stop so I can go by the single red mark on the wall. It’s stupid. NASCAR doesn’t police it so everybody keeps jacking around on it. One of these days I’m just going to lock all four down and stack the whole field up.”

– Deb Williams can be reached at dwilliams@racintoday.com

NASCAR Nationwide Series Race – Food City 300

Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol, Tennessee

Friday, August 22, 2014

1. (2) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 300, $55725.

2. (1) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 300, $46750.

3. (4) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 300, $35925.

4. (7) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 300, $31400.

5. (8) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 300, $30050.

6. (11) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 300, $26700.

7. (13) Kevin Harvick(i), Chevrolet, 300, $20135.

8. (6) Erik Jones(i), Toyota, 300, $26395.

9. (16) James Buescher, Toyota, 300, $27850.

10. (23) Chris Buescher #, Ford, 300, $26775.

11. (9) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 300, $25275.

12. (21) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 300, $25175.

13. (12) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 300, $25075.

14. (19) Ryan Reed #, Ford, 300, $25010.

15. (10) Cale Conley(i), Chevrolet, 300, $25615.

16. (27) Ryan Sieg #, Chevrolet, 300, $24930.

17. (22) Mike Bliss, Toyota, 300, $18885.

18. (28) John Wes Townley(i), Toyota, 298, $19040.

19. (20) Matt DiBenedetto, Chevrolet, 295, $24805.

20. (31) Eric McClure, Toyota, 295, $25465.

21. (35) Jamie Dick, Chevrolet, 295, $24700.

22. (17) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 294, $24650.

23. (18) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 290, $24590.

24. (39) Hermie Sadler III, Toyota, 290, $24530.

25. (14) Dylan Kwasniewski #, Chevrolet, Accident, 282, $24970.

26. (3) Kyle Larson(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 281, $18405.

27. (33) Kevin Swindell, Dodge, 281, $24345.

28. (15) Dakoda Armstrong #, Ford, 275, $24255.

29. (5) Elliott Sadler, Toyota, Accident, 261, $24215.

30. (25) JJ Yeley, Dodge, 238, $24470.

31. (30) David Starr, Toyota, 220, $24130.

32. (34) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, Transmission, 186, $24060.

33. (36) Jake Crum(i), Ford, Rear Gear, 184, $18035.

34. (32) Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 181, $24015.

35. (37) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, Vibration, 154, $23988.

36. (26) Tanner Berryhill #, Dodge, Accident, 110, $22615.

37. (24) Chad Boat #, Chevrolet, Accident, 109, $16595.

38. (40) Kevin Lepage, Dodge, Transmission, 17, $16556.

39. (38) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Overheating, 16, $16455.

40. (29) Jeff Green, Toyota, Vibration, 3, $16430.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 82.187 mph.

Time of Race: 01 Hrs, 56 Mins, 44 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.132 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 10 for 57 laps.

Lead Changes: 9 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders: K. Busch(i) 1-63; E. Sadler 64-68; C. Elliott # 69; E. Sadler 70-90; C. Elliott # 91-97; E. Sadler 98; C. Elliott # 99-149; K. Larson(i) 150-195; K. Busch(i) 196-293; R. Blaney(i) 294-300.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): K. Busch(i) 2 times for 161 laps; C. Elliott # 3 times for 59 laps; K. Larson(i) 1 time for 46 laps; E. Sadler 3 times for 27 laps; R. Blaney(i) 1 time for 7 laps.

Top 10 in Points: C. Elliott # – 834; R. Smith – 821; T. Dillon # – 804; E. Sadler – 792; B. Scott – 783; T. Bayne – 771; C. Buescher # – 682; B. Gaughan – 664; R. Reed # – 632; J. Buescher – 621.

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, August 23 2014
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