Bristol night race turns into night of survival
BRISTOL, TENN. — The Bass Pro Shops Bristol Night Race turned into a night of survival as 12 of its 36 starters finished 31 or more laps down with various issues.
Seemingly-widespread issues especially affected Ford and Toyota drivers, including some of the playoff contenders.
Tire issues for Ford
Just 50 laps after fellow Ford drivers Harrison Burton and JJ Yeley caused the first yellow with right-front tire issues, playoff drivers Austin Cindric and Ryan Blaney each had a similar tire issue after 43 green-flag laps.
Blaney hit the wall and broke a right-rear toe link. The team made repairs, Blaney met minimum speed to clear the DVP clock and then brought the car in for more repairs.
In total, the team spent over 150 laps making repairs that propelled Blaney to a 30th-place finish that advanced him to the Round of 12 by 26 points.
Teammate Joey Logano hit the wall with a tire down which broke a right-rear toe link, among other suspension issues, which put him out of the race with 25 laps to go.
Ford driver Brad Keselowski also had a right-front tire issue while leading on Lap 413, after 53 green-flag laps.
However, the issues weren’t just with the Ford entries.
After Keselowski had his issue, Christopher Bell led for 24 laps and then had a right-rear tire issue on Lap 437. Teammate Denny Hamlin also had a right-front tire issue on Lap 235.
Despite the issues, Bell and Hamlin finished fourth and ninth and advanced to the Round of 12 but teammate Kyle Busch wasn’t so fortunate.
Kyle Busch’s engine failed on Lap 269 as he was running in a top-10 position that would’ve advanced him to the Round of 12. Busch was relegated to a 34th-place finish and clung to a Round of 12 spot until Austin Cindric gained three positions and beat Busch by two points.
Busch’s engine failure arguably wasn’t Toyota’s biggest storyline at Bristol, either.
Power steering issue for three Toyotas
The issues started on Lap 175 when Bubba Wallace pitted with a power steering issue. Then, Ty Gibbs pitted on Lap 183 and Martin Truex on Lap 198, each with a similar issue as Bubba.
Bubba continued 92 laps later and made up seven spots to finish 29th, 92 laps down.
Gibbs’s team made repairs but, after running 82 laps, more issues arose that put him back to finish 35th, 235 laps down – besting only Martin Truex Jr., who finished last with a busted power steering seal. It’s believed Gibbs and Bubba’s issues may have been similar to a busted seal.
In all, all six Toyota drivers had some sort of issue – yet none of them were even involved in the biggest incident of the night.
Multi-car wreck on Lap 278
Exiting turn two, Daniel Suarez got loose and hit Ricky Stenhouse Jr., which caused them to wreck in front of several cars on the backstretch.
Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick were involved, which knocked Dillon out of the race and Reddick off the pace. Dillon finished 31st and Reddick finished 25th, 31 laps down, respectively. Neither of them advanced to the Round of 12.
Todd Gilliland, Alex Bowman, Austin Cindric, Chase Elliott, Landon Cassill, Ross Chastain, Harrison Burton and Chase Briscoe were also involved in the Lap 278 multi-car crash. Suarez, Bowman, Cindric, Elliott and Briscoe all advanced to the Round of 12.
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