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Big names will start at the back

Kevin Mays • Apr 14, 2018 at 6:47 PM

BRISTOL—Three big NASCAR names will be in an unfamiliar place at the start of the Food City 500 today.

Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson will be at the back of the field when the green flag drops for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Harvick, who has won three of NASCAR’s first seven Cup races, hit the wall during the first practice session on Sunday. Harvick was forced to go to a backup car, sending him to the back of the field.

Johnson joined Harvick at the back when two of his qualifying tires went flat after qualifying. NASCAR rules require drivers to start the race with the same tires on the car that were used in qualifying. Since Johnson’s team had to change tires, the car was sent to the back of the field for the start of the Food City 500.

Kurt Busch was the third NASCAR star to be sent to the back of the pack for Sunday’s race. Busch, who qualified second and was set to start on the front row beside his brother Kyle, smacked the inside wall just before turn three during Saturday’s final practice for Cup series drivers.

“I had 45 laps on the tires and was trying to get to 50,” Busch said. “The setup changes dramatically with air-pressure builds and the VHT changing, so I was just trying to do as much research as I could. The lap times were really good in the car and then, boom, there’s just no forgiveness right now with how many variables there are.”

RAGAN FAST

David Ragan had the fastest time in Saturday’s final practice for the Food City 500.

Ragan’s fast lap was timed at 15.051 seconds and 127.487 miles per hour around the half-mile, concrete oval at BMS.

FLYING HIGH

Four T-38 Talons from the 469th Flying Training Squadron at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita, Texas, will race across the sky on Sunday for the Food City 500. Lt. Colonel Mark Hickie, a Bristol native, will pilot one of the T-38 Talons. He is a 1999 graduate of Tennessee High.

IN THE FAMILY

Todd Gilliland, the son of former NASCAR driver David Gilliland, pulled away from Harrison Burton, the son of former NASCAR racer Jeff Burton, Saturday to win the Zombie Auto 150 NASCAR K&N race at BMS.

The K&N race had plenty of action with three lead changes, nine caution flags — including two competition cautions — and three red flags.

RACING TO BEAT DIABETES

Ryan Reed continued his drive to fight diabetes during the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

The driver of the Drive Down A1C Lilly Diabetes Ford was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2011.

Despite being told he could not drive a race car again, Reed continued his career and now drives full time for Roush Fenway Racing. He also makes public appearances, speaking on the fight against Diabetes.

Reed started Saturday’s Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at BMS in the 12th spot. He finished the race in 18th position.

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