By admin | March 22, 2009
By Richard Allen
The Bristol Motor Speedway is considered one of the most uniquely American tracks in all of motorsports. However, the high banked half-mile speedway fell victim to a foreign takeover on Sunday in the Food City 500.
By leading 378 of the 503 laps run in the race Kyle Busch won going away.
Hailing from Las Vegas, Busch is certainly American but he contributed to the foreign invasion by driving a Toyota. Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin, also added to the success of the foreign manufacturer by finishing 2nd. It was the Japanese auto maker’s first Sprint Cup win on the Bristol concrete.
Busch started the race from the 19th position but wasted little time in getting to the front, taking the lead on lap 69. From that point on, there was little doubt as to the eventual outcome provided the #18 car stayed out of trouble.
Busch moved to 4th place in the overall Sprint Cup standings. It was Kyle Busch’s second win of the season and the third race in a row won by someone with the last name of Busch.
The Toyota victory was not the only foreign success in upper east Tennessee on Sunday. Colombia’s Juan Pablo Montoya and Australia’s Marcos Ambrose each scored their best finishes of the season in the Food City 500.
Montoya placed 9th in his Earnhardt-Ganassi Chevrolet while Ambrose finished 10th in a Toyota for JTG-Daugherty Racing.
Significantly for each of these two drivers, the good runs were not flukes as both ran in the Top 10 all day. And, each showed they can be competitive on oval tracks as well as on road courses.
Montoya moved up to 15th in the Sprint Cup standings while Ambrose landed in 24th of the standings.
Bristol may be old time NASCAR and as American as apple pie, but on Sunday, it became a foreign playground.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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