Junior Bags FC 250

  By Marvin Birchfield
  star staff
  BRISTOL -- There was a lot of excitement heading into the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday after the announcement Nextel Cup star Dale Earnhardt Jr. was going to compete in this year's event.
  It was nowhere near the excitement that unfolded with the enormous cheer Earnhardt received after winning.
  The victory moves him into a tie for eighth place on the all-time Busch Series win list with Jeff Burton with 20, just two shy of his legendary father Dale Earnhardt Sr. and one behind Handsome Harry Gant.
  Pole sitter Earnhardt Jr. grabbed the top spot and led the first 20 laps before being overtaken by the No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick.
  The two-time Busch Series champion held the pole on one other occasion at Bristol, when he finished a previous career best second in the 1998 spring race.
  The first caution came out on lap three when a pack of cars outside the top ten jammed up and caused a chain reaction to collect several machines near the rear of the field.
  The cars of Johnny Sauter, Eric McClure, Mark Green and Tina Gordon were all a result of the accident on the frontstretch.
  Searching for a tie with all-time BMS Busch wins, three-time Bristol winner Harvick moved into second past outside front-wall qualifier Tony Raines on lap 13.
  Tempers flared on lap 30, when Greg Biffle in the No. 60 Charter Ford retaliated after receiving a tap fromTina Gordon on the frontstretch the previous lap. The spin came off two turn as Biffle banged the rear of Gordon's No. 39 Yahoo Ford.
  It was almost disaster for the points leader Martin Truex Jr., who was caught up in the incident and sent to pit road for minimal repair to the nose of his machine.
  Another close call came for the No. 8 Bass Pro Shop Chevrolet of Truex Jr. on lap 108 as Aaron's Dream Machine of Michael Waltrip got into the back of Jimmy Kitchens.
  Last year's event winner was trying to keep from going down a lap.
  What was hoping to be a promising night for Tony Raines took a turn for the worst on lap 49. He and Ron Hornaday Jr. became victims of the third yellow flag on the evening.
  The leaders made their first pit stop on lap 74 after a spin that involved Gibbs Racing driver J.J. Yeley.
  The cars of Matt Kenseth and Truex Jr. stayed out to gain track position, with Harvick dropping back to tenth and Earnhardt Jr. to ninth.
  Robby Gordon's night came to and end two laps later after he and Derrick Cope tangled on the backstretch, which sent the No. 55 Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet for a quick trip to the cleaners.
  Mike McLaughlin and Mike Bliss were also involved in the accident with minor damage.
  The restart on lap 93 saw Kenseth take off and lead the next 60 circuits. Truex Jr. followed closely in search of a season sweep at Bristol.
  Earnhardt Jr. moved up to second on the restart passing his team car of Truex Jr. with his sights set on first place.
  The lead was handed back to Earnhardt Jr. on lap 137, when he made the move underneath Kenseth coming off turn four.
  Busch was making his statement for the series commander and chief by passing points leader Truex on lap 155.
  Caution came out on lap 166, which involved Hornaday Jr. and the No. 36 car of Travis Geisler.
  All the top leaders pitted after a lap 166 accident involving Hornaday and Travis Geisler. The Menard's Chevy of Earnhardt won the race off pit road, while Yeley obtained the top spot by staying out.
  The lead didn't last long. Earnhardt made the pass on Yeley before the tenth caution flew.
  The restart on lap 196 saw Harvick in pursuit of Earnhardt with Kenseth following a close third.
  Earnhardt Jr. crept away from Harvick while Busch made the pass on Kenseth for third.
  After a brief caution for a spin, the race restarted on lap 218. It was time for everyone to let it all hang out.
  Busch relinquished the third spot to Kenseth with less than 25 laps left in the event, but he still picked up points on Truex Jr., who finished seventh.
  Busch is 78 points behind in the Busch Series chase.
  A spin from Hermie Sadler going into turn three brought out the last caution of the night, setting up a 10-lap sprint.
  What appeared to be Earnhardt's race was quickly contested when Kenseth made a strong move under Harvick on the restart. Busch soon followed, but no one seem to be able to make a move on Earnhardt.
  What had been a solid night for the Abingdon-based Charlie Henderson team ended in agony when the No. 75 Food Country car of Jay Sauter collected the wall in between turn three and four, with Raines also involved.
  This set up the first-ever green and white checkered finish in the Busch Series that came down to two of top ranking Nextel Cup stars.
  Earnhardt quickly got away on the restart, but Kenseth managed to reel back the No. 81 Chevrolet.
  Too little, too late was the theme for the defending Nextel Cup champion of Kenseth, as Earnhardt came away with his 20th career Busch Series victory.
  It was his second on the year, as he won both pole and event at Daytona's season opener.
  Busch came home third, while Harvick finished fourth. David Green rounded out the top five.