Brad Keselowski Wins Stage 1 of Food City 500

Bristol, TN – Kyle Busch started on the pole and jumped out to a six car length lead on the first lap. Then, two laps later the first caution of the day came out.

Michael McDowell in the No. 34 got loose coming out of turn four, where Chase Elliott in the No. 9 slamed into the side of McDowell. This caused a pile-up on the front stretch with nine cars in total collecting damage, including the No. 78 of Martin Truex Jr. who slammed into the back of Elliott’s car.

After getting back to green flag racing, a 2nd caution of the day came out on lap 17 after Ryan Blaney overtook the lead from Kyle Busch. The incident happened between Jamie McMurray in the No.1 and AJ Allmendinger in the No. 47 go into each other and Allmendinger went sideways.

After getting restarted on lap 22, Kyle Busch would start to fall backward with his car seeming a bit tight. Busch dropped back to 10th just 30 laps into the race. Then on lap 49, the rain came to force a red flag on the track as the tarps went over the cars. The red flag would last for 25 minutes and 25 seconds before the yellow flag was once again shown.

Lap 59 saw the green flag drop with Ryan Blaney in the No. 12 out in the front of the pack. Two laps into the green flag run, the caution came out yet again. This time it was Erik Jones in the No. 20 getting a bit loose in turn four, clipping the No. 17 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr., sending him around. Stenhouse Jr. was able to avoid most contact, limiting the damage.

The field went back to green on lap 67 with Blaeny still in the front of the pack. As we reached lap 100, with just 25 laps left in the stage, Kyle Busch had made his way up to 5th, with Blaney still out in front.

With just eight laps to go in stage one, disaster struck for the leader Ryan Blaney, as he was unable to avoid a huge wreck in turn three. Jamie McMurray in the No 1 got into Trevor Bayne in the No. 6 who then clipped the No. 51 of Harrison Rhodes, sending Rhodes up the track clipping Chris Buscher in the No. 37. Then Rhodes car blocked the topside where the leader Ryan Blaney in the No. 12 was headed to avoid the wreck and slammed right into Rhodes.

Blaney was ok but disappointed coming out of the medical care center. “I don’t know, I didn’t see anything happen, I was so close to the car in front of me when my spotter said they were wrecking.”
Before that incident, Blaney had led 99 of the 118 laps ran. This also forced a second red flag for the race, which would last 6 minutes and 29 seconds.

With just one lap left in the stage, the field went back to green with Brad Keselowski in the lead. Keselowski would maintain the lead on the one lap to capture the stage victory.

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