TRACK: Bristol Motor Speedway (.533 mile oval) DISTANCE: 250 Laps – STAGE 1: 75 Laps, Stage 2: 75 Laps, FINAL STAGE 100 LAPS, 133.25 Miles)
Will be determined by heat races on Saturday.
Throw all your old Bristol notes away for this weekend’s Food City Dirt Race (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN). You don’t need them. This Sunday’s race will take place on the same .533-mile oval as always, but this time, it won’t be on the concrete racing surface. We’re getting dirty instead with the asphalt being covered in dirt.
Sunday marks the first Cup race on dirt since Sept. 30, 1970. That was a 200 lap race won by Richard Petty on the North Carolina State Fairgrounds race track. It was a 23 car field that awarded $1k to the winner.
Now, we’ll get 39 cars on a half mile dirt track in the heat of the day. That would wreck havoc on things with there maybe not being enough moisture in the racing surface as a result. Plus, 40 cars that weigh over 3,400 pounds going a long 250 laps could also make for some interesting moments.
Lapped traffic is going to be key and as a result, may not give guys with a dirt racing background like Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and other with as much of an advantage as we’d like to think.
There’s obviously way more questions than answers for how this race will play out on Sunday, which is why this one is the ultimate wildcard. I mean, we have to start eyeing playoffs even though it’s the last weekend of March.
We’ve had six races run in 2021 and six different winners. Some of those winners are shockers. No one saw Michael McDowell winning the Daytona 500 and taking a playoff spot by virtue of that. Then, you get guys like Christopher Bell and William Byron winning already. I think most saw them are back end fringe playoff guys that may have had to take a wildcard berth into the postseason. Instead, they have guaranteed spots.
Bristol, could produce another unlikely winner. What happens when we still have 19 races left in the regular season with seven of them are either on road courses or superspeedway’s? You have the potential for several more wildcard winners like McDowell, Bell and Byron ahead.
That’s why Bristol also has a big focus on the playoff picture as well.