NASCAR Cup Series is Back for Some Dirt Racing at Bristol

(Florida Sports Wire) – Back for more. The NASCAR Cup Series is returns with the Next Gen car ready for some wild action on the dirt surface of Bristol Motor Speedway in the Food City Dirt Race, this Sunday, April 9 at 7 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

This season marks the third time the NASCAR Cup Series has competed on dirt at Bristol. The inaugural race at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt track was the first-time the NASCAR Cup Series had competed on dirt in over 50 years.

Not since the checkered flag flew on September 30, 1970 at North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, North Carolina when NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty won the race, had the NASCAR Cup Series competed on a dirt track.

With more than 23,000 cubic yards of dirt hauled in to create the temporary dirt track surface at Bristol, it is a sight to be seen when the full field takes the green flag.

The inaugural Bristol Dirt event in 2021 saw five lead changes among five different leaders, but it was Team Penske’s Joey Logano who took the checkered flag over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. by a scant 0.554-second.

Then last season’s race was even more intense at the finish, when Kyle Busch won the Food City Dirt Race from a distant third place after the Ford of second-place Chase Briscoe slid up the high-banked dirt track into the Chevrolet of leader Tyler Reddick in the final corner, turning both cars sideways. Busch led only the final lap en route to his first dirt win.

This weekend’s Cup Series action at Bristol will kick off on Friday, April 7 with Random Draw for Qualifying Race Assignments at 5:30 p.m. ET, and then first practice from 6:35 p.m. – 7:25 p.m. ET, and then followed by final practice from 8:32 p.m. – 8:57 p.m. ET. Both practices will be televised on FS1. Then on Saturday, April 8 the Qualifying Races will be held from 6 – 7 p.m. ET on FS1.

Looking back at the NASCAR Cup Series on dirt

The NASCAR Cup Series has had a long legacy of racing at dirt tracks prior to the Modern Era (1972-Present), from 1949 to 1970 the series competed in 501 races on dirt.

The very first NASCAR Cup Series points-paying sanctioned race in the inaugural season of 1949 was on dirt at Charlotte (Old) Speedway, a 0.75-mile track in Charlotte, North Carolina and the event was won by Jim Roper driving a Lincoln.

Including this past season’s dirt race at Bristol, the 503 all-time dirt Cup races have produced 78 different winners. NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty leads the series in dirt track wins with 46 victories; followed by Buck Baker with 42 and Herb Thomas with 41.

Joey Logano (2021) and Kyle Busch (2022) are the only active drivers with a win on dirt in the NASCAR Cup Series.

This weeek the competitors will be tasked with wrangling a Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt track that has been measured to exactly 0.5-mile, and the event will be 125 miles (250 laps) in length. The race will be broken up into three stages. The first two stages are 75 laps each and the final stage is 100 laps.

In addition, NASCAR has instituted a special format for Busch Light Pole Qualifying that includes qualifying races, to decide the starting lineup. The lineups for the qualifying races will be done by random draw on Friday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m. ET. There are four qualifying races scheduled with 37 entrants competing this weekend

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