After over 50 years of NASCAR not racing on dirt tracks the Bristol Dirt Track was run last weekend. The hype to the race hasn’t matched any NASCAR event in recent memory and to say the least it was one to remember.
The weekend started out with multiple practice sessions for both the truck and cup series which went well, and showed off how the track, which is usually on pavement, would run on the slick dirt. However, as the race time approached for the Saturday night heat races, so did the rain. After only one lap, the first truck heat cars were pulled off the track, and they wouldn’t return for anymore heat races during the weekend and qualifying was based off of owners points for both series. The truck series race was cancelled for the night, and re-scheduled for a Sunday doubleheader with the cup series. Unfortunately, Sunday also had torrential rain which cancelled any shot of racing for the day and also flooded parking lots and other areas of importance for the speedway.
However, Monday came around and it turned out to be a beautiful day for racing which was quite the contrast from most of the weekend. The truck series got underway around noon, and it was a caution fest for the majority of the race with major contenders such as John Hunter Nemechek, Chandler Smith, and dirt track specialist Kyle Larson all getting taken out in the course of the race. However, Martin Truex Jr.,who had never raced on dirt up to this point, came out on top dominating the race and taking home a very impressive victory, his first in the truck series even with his impressive career in the higher ranks. The Cup series raced around four o’ clock, and it was also a fender beating battle all the way to the end. Main favorites including Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, and Kyle Larson would get taken out early in the event all with fast cars. With many other drivers fighting adversity and great battles everywhere you look, the race was almost impossible to predict, but it came down between two drivers at the end: Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, as they controlled the race. However, coming into the final laps, a caution came out as the sixty six of Mike Marlar spun out setting up an overtime finish. Unfazed, Joey Logano fended off the field and took home the win despite a hard charging Ricky Stenhouse, who would come second.
This was a weekend that faced weather issues, and a new track that was unknown to anyone who watched or raced. It was a success and with the race being announced for 2022 as well, should be a very welcome spot to the schedule for years to come.