For the first time in 50 years, NASCAR’s premier series is going dirt racing. The seventh race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season will be run at Bristol Motor Speedway on dirt. The Food City Dirt Race replaces the Food City 500 for this season. Whether you are Team “Dirt is for Racing” or Team “Dirt is for Farming”, I think we can all agree that we are in for an interesting weekend of racing. Unless you are one who remembers all the way back to the 1970 NASCAR season, the Cup Series racing on dirt is something we have never seen before.
Bristol Motor Speedway Overview
Bristol Motor Speedway opened on July 30, 1961, and the first race that it hosted was in fact a NASCAR one. The .533-mile track has hosted a race for the NASCAR Cup Series every year since. The NASCAR Cup Series was joined in racing at the track by the Xfinity Series starting in 1982 and the Truck Series in 1995.
The track is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports. In 1992, the track was changed from an asphalt surface to a concrete surface. This makes Sunday’s dirt event the third different surface that NASCAR has run on at Bristol Motor Speedway. The venue can host over 160,000 people for a race, part of the reason for its earning the nickname of “The Last Great Colosseum”. In 2016, the infield was used as the playing field for a college football game between the Tennesee Volunteers and Virginia Tech Hokies. The game set the record for the largest attendance ever for an NCAA football game with 156,990 people turning out.
Darrell Waltrip has the most wins at Bristol Motor Speedway all-time with 12. Among active drivers, Kyle Busch tops the list with eight wins. Last year, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick were the two who found victory lane at “The Bullring”. That was on the concrete surface though. Things will be different on Sunday.
Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Overview
For this weekend’s Food City Dirt Race, Bristol Motor Speedway will be covered in layers of dirt. The first layer is an inch and a half of sawdust. This is followed by the leftover dirt from previous Bristol dirt races. A layer of dirt coming from the Bristol campground is next followed by lime-treated clay. Finally, the Bluff City Tennessee Red Clay makes up the top layer of the dirt. The banking has been reduced from 30 degrees on the concrete surface to 19 degrees for this week’s dirt race. The racing surface is 50 feet wide. The dirt will be a major difference-maker this weekend.
NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway | Weekend Racing Schedule
Pinty’s Dirt Truck Race
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Date: Saturday, March 13, 2021
Start Time: 8 P.M. EST
Distance: 72 miles
Food City Dirt Race
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Date: Sunday, March 14, 2021
Start Time: 3:30 P.M. EST
Distance: 134 miles