That was a good thing Sunday in the early going for those attending the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
With rain predicted for all day, the clouds blew past Bristol, giving an open window for racing.
At least for a while.
The green flag dropped at about 1:30 p.m. Twenty-five minutes and 47 laps later, the red flag came out because of rain. Three more red flags dropped during the race, two were for rain delays.
Finally, around 5 p.m., NASCAR and track officials determined there would not be another open window in the rainy weather to get any more racing in on Sunday. So the race was suspended until 1 p.m. today. Gates open at 11:30 a.m.
Drivers got 204 laps in the books on Sunday. NASCAR will attempt to complete the 500-lap Monster Energy Cup Series race today.
FITZGERALD RE-UPS WITH BMS
Fitzgerald USA, a national leader in the trucking industry, has renewed its sponsorship of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at BMS. The sponsorship deal was announced Sunday.
As part of the announcement, BMS and Fitzgerald debuted the new name of the race and its logo: Beginning spring 2019, the race will be known as the Fitzgerald USA 300.
The announcement follows Fitzgerald’s recent multiyear agreement to become the title sponsor of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, and arrives just prior to the company’s popular Fitzgerald Peterbilt Truck Show, scheduled for early May at the Dragway.
START YOUR ENGINES
Tim Morgan, of Morgan-McClure Chevrolet in Southwest Virginia, served as the grand marshal of the Food City 500 and Johnson City’s Chuck Meade was the honorary starter.
Morgan and the McClure brothers started Morgan-McClure Motorsports in 1983. Morgan-McClure Motorsports won 14 races in the highest level of NASCAR, including the BMS night race once and the Daytona 500 three times.
Meade serves as president of Meade Tractor. Based in Kingsport, Meade Tractor is a John Deere dealer with 30 locations spanning Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina.
OUT OF THE DASH, IN THE CASH
NASCAR’s Xfinity Series corrected itself Sunday on an announcement made regarding a post-race inspection Daniel Hemric’s car.
Hemric finished third in Saturday’s Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at BMS.
NASCAR officials then announced that Hemric’s Chevrolet “exceeded tolerance” of a wheel-toe alignment on one side. As a result, NASCAR said Hemric was ineligible for the series’ $100,000 Dash 4 Cash in next weekend’s race in Richmond.
On Sunday, NASCAR announced that further review of the rules show that the Xfinity Series, unlike the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, requires that tolerance be exceeded on both sides of the car.
As a result, Hemric will not be penalized and is eligible to compete for the Dash for Cash $100,000 prize.
‘TAKEN’ STAR MAKES APPEARANCE
British actor Clive Standen, star of the NBC show “Taken,” was at Bristol over the weekend hanging out with NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney.
Blaney was a guest star on the show, playing a special agent with driving skills. Shot during an extremely cold time in Toronto, the driver got high marks from Standen, who also played Rollo in the History Channel’s “Vikings.”
“Not once did I hear him complain about anything. He was a real joy to work with,” Standen said. “Some of the guest actors are divas. We’d love to have him back.”
Sporting a “Days of Thunder” T-shirt, Standen talked about how much his family enjoyed the BMS experience, noting the Tennessee spirit and some good people.