BMS NOTES

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR STAFF
jbirchfield@starhq.com

   * Sunday's second-place finish for Rusty Wallace was his best finish since November 2002 at Phoenix, when he finished behind Matt Kenseth.
   * Third-place finisher Kevin Harvick posted his best NASCAR Cup Series finish at BMS since taking the runner-up spot behind Tony Stewart at the August 2001 race.
   * A long green-flag stretch in the middle portion of the race changed the overall complexion of the event. Busch ended up the top beneficary from the way the cautions fell, going from sixth at the beginning of the stretch to the top spot at the end of the stage.
   * Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and crew chief Tony Eury, Sr. were each vocal in their displeasure about a late-race caution period which extended to double-digit laps. They contended the long yellow-flag condition ruined a strategy of taking on new tires 40 laps from the finish. In the abbreviated final laps, Earnhardt made a move from 17th to the 11th finishing position.
   * For the second straight year, Ryan Newman started the Food City 500 from the pole position. After leading the first 25 laps of the race, Newman lost handling on the car midway through the race. His team was able to recover and ended the day in the seventh place.
   * Jeff Gordon, who won a string of four straight Food City 500's from 1995-'98, made the same driver error that cost him a shot at the win one year ago. Although NASCAR rules allow a driver to exit the backstretch pits onto the race track under green flag conditions, Gordon did a caution-flag routine of driving at a reduced speed through the frontstretch pits. The miscue cost the driver one lap, which he didn't make up until late in the race.
   * Rookie Kasey Kahne in 40th place after an early-race accident with Jamie McMurray suffered his worst finish of the season since running 41st in the season-opening Daytona 500. It wasn't a stellar day for rookies with Scott Wimmer's 13th the best finish of the class. Other rookie showings were Johnny Sauter in 15th, Brendan Gaughan in 20th depsite running strong early, Scott Riggs in 34th place, Brian Vickers in 35th.