In recent years, many “naysayers” have stated their displeasure that Bristol Motor Speedway was not the bump and run, carnage fest it used to be. The high-banked track nestled in the hills of northeast Tennessee, known for causing an increase in overtime for the fabrication crew at race shops, is making sure everyone knows the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” still has some bite as two notable Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series contenders from Stewart-Haas Racing have been forced to backup cars for Sunday’s Food City 500.
Kevin Harvick, winner of three races this season, destroyed his No. 4 Busch Ford Fusion in practice. The former series champion skipped qualifying as the team worked diligently to prepare a backup car, also having an additional car sent up from the shop.
Harvick only managed mediocre results in practice, however, the SHR has performed exceptionally well this year, so do not be surprised to see Harvick in contention in the late stages of the race. Harvick has two career wins at Bristol, with 17 top-ten finishes in 34 starts.
Kurt Busch seemed to have Bristol figured out all weekend. After strong practice sessions and missing the pole to his brother by a mere .002 seconds, Busch was well on his way to a great race weekend and possibly his first win of the season until late in final practice when his No. 41 Haas Automation Ford found the wall forcing him to a backup car as well. Busch has a strong record at Bristol, scoring five wins and 17 top-tens in 34 starts.
Both, Harvick and Busch have strong records at the famed short track, and given the performance of Ford and the seemingly great chemistry of of SHR this season, these two former champions should not be counted out.
SHR teammates, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola will start 14th and 18th respectively.