NASCAR’s Bristol dirt race, explained: Format, rules, qualifying & other changes for Food City Dirt Race

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NASCAR is holding a throwback weekend at certainly one of its most storied tracks.

Cup Series automobiles will probably be racing on dirt for the first time in additional than half a century when the inexperienced flag drops for the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday. The final Cup dirt race was Sept. 30, 1970, on the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.

Here’s the whole lot you might want to know in regards to the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol, together with lineups for the warmth races, rule changes and modifications to the automobiles.

Why is NASCAR racing on dirt at Bristol?

NASCAR noticed how standard the Truck Series’ annual dirt race at Eldora Speedway was and determined to have Cup automobiles race on the floor, as properly. Bristol is a becoming place to make a journey down reminiscence lane; the monitor is beloved by followers and racing folks, and the power is marking its sixtieth anniversary this 12 months.

Of course, dirt was the racing floor of selection throughout NASCAR’s earliest days.

“This isn’t new to NASCAR,” Fox analyst Clint Bowyer told the Bristol website. Bowyer will probably be a part of the broadcast workforce for the race. “This is back to where we came from. I think that’s something to stay focused on and remember as well. This isn’t just completely thrown out of nowhere. This is something our past and our history was part of.”

NASCAR canceled the Eldora dirt truck race final 12 months due to the COVID-19 outbreak after which moved the race to Bristol. The Truck Series will maintain one other dirt race in July, at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway.

How does qualifying work?

Qualifying for the Bristol dirt race will consist of 4 15-lap warmth races run consecutively on Saturday. NASCAR divided the heat-race fields virtually evenly among the many 39 automobiles which might be entered for the primary race: three 10-car fields and one nine-car subject. The beginning lineups for every warmth have been decided by a random draw, so as of the motive force level standings.

Qualifying Race 1

Position Driver Team
1 Quin Houff StarCom Racing
2 Kyle Larson Hendrick Motorsports
3 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing
4 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing
5 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing
6 Bubba Wallace 23XI Racing
7 Erik Jones Richard Petty Motorsports
8 Anthony Alfredo Front Row Motorsports
9 Shane Golobic Live Fast Motorsports
10 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing

Qualifying Race 2

Position Driver Team
1 Brad Keselowski Team Penske
2 Mike Marlar Motorsports Business Management
3 Daniel Suarez Trackhouse Racing Team
4 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports
5 Josh Bilicki Rick Ware Racing
6 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports
7 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing
8 Christopher Bell Joe Gibbs Racing
9 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing
10 Chris Buescher Roush Fenway Racing

Qualifying Race 3

Position Driver Team
1 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports
2 J.J. Yeley Rick Ware Racing
3 Ty Dillon Gaunt Brothers Racing
4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing
5 Tyler Reddick Richard Childress Racing
6 Cole Custer Stewart-Haas Racing
7 Cody Ware Petty Ware Racing
8 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing
9 Joey Logano Team Penske
10 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing

Qualifying Race 4

Position Driver Team
1 Corey LaJoie Spire Motorsports
2 Matt DiBenedetto Wood Brothers Racing
3 Chris Windom Rick Ware Racing
4 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing
5 Ross Chastain Chip Ganassi Racing
6 Stewart Friesen Spire Motorsports
7 Ryan Blaney Team Penske
8 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports
9 Chase Briscoe Stewart-Haas Racing

NASCAR will use a two-part level system to set the beginning lineup for the primary race.

The first half is ending order within the warmth races. The winner of every warmth will obtain 10 factors whereas the Tenth-place driver will obtain one level.

The second half is the variety of positions a driver features in a warmth race. Drivers will obtain one level per place gained and won’t have factors deducted for dropping positions.

The two level totals will probably be added to find out an general level whole. Ties will probably be damaged by place within the present proprietor level standings.

These qualifying factors are strictly for setting the beginning lineup. They is not going to be added to a driver’s season level whole.   

NASCAR schedule at Bristol

The Cup Series race will cap a full weekend of dirt racing in Thunder Valley. The Camping World Truck Series will race at Bristol on Saturday (heats and predominant) previous to and after the Cup warmth races. Each sequence can have two follow classes Friday. 

Qualifying Race 1 for the Cup Series is scheduled to start at 6 p.m., with the following three races scheduled for 6:15, 6:30 and 6:45 p.m. The predominant race on Sunday is scheduled to start someday after 3:30 p.m. 

Friday, March 26

Event Time TV
Truck Series first follow 3:05 p.m. FS1, TSN3
Cup Series first follow 4:05 p.m. FS1, TSN3
Truck Series remaining follow 5:35 p.m. FS1, TSN3
Cup Series remaining follow 6:35 p.m. FS1, TSN3

Saturday, March 27

Event Time TV
First truck qualifying race 4:30 p.m. FS1, TSN2
Second truck qualifying race 4:45 p.m. FS1, TSN2
Third truck qualifying race 5 p.m. FS1, TSN2
Fourth truck qualifying race 5:15 p.m. FS1, TSN2
First Cup qualifying race 6 p.m. FS1, TSN2
Second Cup qualifying race 6:15 p.m. FS1, TSN2
Third Cup qualifying race 6:30 p.m. FS1, TSN2
Fourth Cup qualifying race 6:45 p.m. FS1, TSN2
Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt 8 p.m. FS1, TSN2

Sunday, March 28

Event Time TV & Radio
Food City Dirt Race 3:30 p.m. Fox, TSN, PRN

Car modifications for Bristol dirt race

The change in floor required changes to the automobiles, totally on the outside. Viewers will be capable to spot the variations.

For starters, the entrance splitter overhang is gone. A contraption known as a particles deflector could present up on some automobiles’ hoods. Teams can cowl ducts with screens or other supplies to forestall dirt from entering into them. The rear spoiler will probably be bigger than it often is for short-track races. Cars might be strengthened alongside the edges and in high-stress spots such because the deck and steering arm.

Racing followers anticipating to see automobiles drift by turns will probably be dissatisfied. As Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass noted, NASCAR determined towards putting in suspensions that might have made the automobiles extra nimble due to the associated fee to groups.

“They don’t drive anything like what I’m used to with a sprint car, midget or now a dirt late model,” mentioned Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson, who drove a late mannequin to 2 second-place finishes final weekend on the Bristol Dirt Nationals. “These cars are way heavier and have a lot less horsepower than I’m used to on a dirt track.”

Cup automobiles are 1,000 kilos heavier than the late mannequin automobiles Larson drove.

Bristol dirt race laps, format and other guidelines to know

UPDATE: NASCAR launched a number of changes to the race format Saturday after receiving suggestions in regards to the Friday follow classes.

Stages 1 and a pair of will now be 100 laps every and Stage 3 will probably be 50 laps. The earlier stage breakdown was 75, 75 and 100 laps. There will now be competitors cautions on Laps 50 and 150 to permit groups to pit. The preliminary pit schedule was solely throughout stage breaks or if a automobile was concerned in an incident. The competitors cautions additionally will enable NASCAR to work on the racing floor.


The Bristol Cup Series dirt race is scheduled for 250 laps (133.25 miles), or half the same old variety of laps for a Cup race on Bristol’s concrete monitor. The race will probably be divided into three levels: 75, 75 and 100 laps. Drivers will not must cease for gasoline throughout any stage.

And pit stops will probably be restricted anyway. They’ll solely be allowed throughout breaks between levels or if a automobile is concerned in an incident. Teams can have the choice of not pitting in any respect throughout a stage break. Drivers who keep out will begin on the entrance of the sector on restarts. Cars is not going to be allowed to race onto or off pit highway, which stays concrete. Positions is not going to be gained or misplaced throughout stops.

NASCAR says the procedures for getting into and exiting pit highway will probably be much like how pit stops came about on the Eldora truck races. NASCAR is setting all these circumstances in the title of security.

Caution-flag laps will rely in the primary race, not like within the qualifying warmth races, the place solely green-flag laps will rely. 

Though NASCAR is racing on a brief monitor this weekend, there will probably be no “choose” rule, which permits drivers to decide on the within or exterior lane on restarts. As places it, “The difficultly of maintaining an orange ‘V’ on the dirt-racing surface was a key determining factor of this decision.”

Material from the NASCAR Wire Service was used on this report.

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