Happy Dirt Week NASCAR fans! For the first time since 1970, the NASCAR Cup Series will run on a dirt surface with the Food City Dirt Race this Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. No matter how you slice it, there is plenty of buzz, uncertainty and intrigue heading into this weekend’s racing action. For the first time since the season-opening Daytona 500, this weekend will also include qualifying races to determine the Food City Dirt Race starting lineup. Buckle up for what should be a wild (and, dare I say, dirty) ride at “The Last Great Colosseum”!
This article contains all of the vital information necessary to get you ready for the fourth race of the NASCAR Cup Series season. Read on for the Food City Dirt Race starting lineup, start time, fast facts and statistics.
NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway
60th Food City 500 (first race on dirt)
Date: Sunday, March 28, 2021
Start Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway — Bristol, TN
Pole Sitter: Kyle Larson
Defending Champion: Brad Keselowski
Food City Dirt Race Details
Distance: 133.25 miles
Lap Length: 0.533 miles
Stages: Three (Laps 1-75; Laps 76-150; Laps 151-250)
Food City Dirt Race Starting Grid
See below for a breakdown of qualifying.
**Note: Due to inclement weather, qualifying for the Food City Dirt Race was canceled. The starting lineup was set by the same performance metrics formula that NASCAR is using at the majority of tracks this season:
- 35 percent: Team owner points ranking
- 25 percent: Driver’s finishing position from the previous race
- 25 percent: Car owner’s finishing position from the previous race
- 15 percent: Fastest lap from the previous race
|Starting Position||Driver||Car Number||Team||Manufacturer|
|1||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|2||Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|3||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|4||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|5||Joey Logano||22||Team Penske||Ford|
|6||Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|7||Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske||Ford|
|8||Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|9||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|10||Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing||Ford|
|11||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|12||Chris Buescher||22||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|13||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|14||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet|
|15||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing||Toyota|
|16||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford|
|17||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|18||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|19||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|20||Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske||Ford|
|21||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|22||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|23||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports||Ford|
|24||Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|25||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet|
|26||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford|
|27||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing||Chevrolet|
|28||James Davison||15||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|29||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports||Ford|
|30||Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|31||Josh Billicki||52||Rick Ware Racing||Ford|
|32||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing||Chevrolet|
|33||Cody Ware||51||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet|
|34||Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|35||B.J. McLeod||78||Live Fast Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|36||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|37||Garrett Smithley||53||Rick Ware Racing||Ford|
|38||Austin Cindric||33||Team Penske||Ford|
NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying Overview
After utilizing the performance metrics formula to determine the starting grid for all five races this season following the Daytona 500, on-track qualifying returns this weekend. Four different 15-lap qualifying heat races will determine the Food City Dirt Race starting lineup. The first qualifying race for the NASCAR Cup Series is scheduled for 6 p.m. EST on Saturday.
When it comes to the qualifying heats themselves, the starting lineups for all four races will be determined by a random draw. The draw will be carried out in order of the current team owner points standings. The results from the four qualifying heats will be put into a formula that will ultimately generate the starting lineup. The formula takes into account both finishing position and positions gained during a driver’s respective qualifying heat.
Food City Dirt race Qualifying Scoring Breakdown
The following list offers a breakdown for scoring that will be input into the formula to set the Food City Dirt Race starting lineup. Any ties that occur after point totals have been tabulated will be broken by the current team owner points standings.
- 1st place in qualifying heat — 10 points
- 2nd place in qualifying heat — 9 points
- 3rd place in qualifying heat — 8 points (and so on)
- +1 point for each position gained in qualifying heat
- +/- 0 points for positions lost in qualifying heat
Food City Dirt Race Stats and NASCAR Betting Facts
- This weekend marks the first time since 1970 that the NASCAR Cup Series has run on a dirt surface.
- There are typically 500 laps run in this race, but that number changed to 250 with the shift to the dirt surface this season.
- Dirt marks the third different surface to be run on by the NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway. The track was originally asphalt before switching to concrete following the 1992 season.
- Brad Keselowski won last year’s Food City 500 race with an average speed of 80.338 mph.
- 2019 Food City 500 winner Kyle Busch has won three of the last six NASCAR Cup Series races at Bristol.
- Toyota has been the winning manufacturer in four of the last six Food City 500 races. All four were Joe Gibbs Racing cars.
- Among the full-time Cup Series drivers that trace their roots back to dirt racing are NASCAR betting favorites Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Several dirt track veterans are among the 40-car field including Stewart Friesen, Chris Windom and Shane Golobic.