BRISTOL, Tenn. — The driver most widely cited as the favorite to win Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway would prefer not to drive a NASCAR Cup Series car on dirt.
“I think everyone assumes my opinion would be, ‘Oh, let’s race dirt every weekend,’” said defending series champion Kyle Larson, whose roots are deep in dirt racing. “But I don’t think Cup cars should be in the dirt. That’s the only change he would make is not really racing on dirt.”
Sunday night’s race is NASCAR’s second on gravel in the modern era and Larson has never been a fan of the move for Cup Series cars, especially with the windshield remaining on the car.
The Food City Dirt Race is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
The 250-lap, 125-mile event will feature three stages of 75 laps, 75 laps and 100 laps.
Joey Logano is the defending winner of the race.
BUILDING THE TRACK
Converting the BMS racing surface from concrete to dirt is an adventure.
The temporary dirt track is banked at 19 degrees at the corners and has a 50-foot-wide racing surface.
More than 2,300 trucks of dirt are needed to convert the half-mile track surface from its traditional cement.
A base layer of sawdust covers the track and it is topped by several layers of dirt, including a race layer of red clay from Bluff City.
NORTH WILKESBORO REVIVAL
North Wilkesboro Speedway will be back sooner than expected.
Speedway Motorsports announced Saturday that it will return grassroots racing to the historic North Carolina track.
Produced by XR Events, Racetrack Revival will be a multi-week, multi-series event on the current North Wilkesboro tarmac in August and then on gravel in October.
The track will be resurfaced with asphalt after the conclusion of the gravel race.
“As we begin the process of reviving North Wilkesboro Speedway, this is a great opportunity for the historic short track to host grassroots racing and allow our team to learn more about what needs to be done before a grand reopening in the future.” said Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith. “Our vision is to revive this place into a multi-use entertainment facility, but racing will always be the core product.
“We know the fans and competitors alike will enjoy kicking the tires alongside us with some live competition this year when we begin renovations.”
Smith said he feels the track could be ready to host one of NASCAR’s top three tracks in a couple of years, though the size of the facility would likely prohibit it from hosting Cup or Xfinity series races.
“You could have a NASCAR national series by 2024. There’s still a lot to do,” Smith said. “I think that would be a perfect place for the NASCAR Truck Series.”
Speedway Motorsports is working with Wilkes County and North Carolina officials to utilize an $18 million American Bailout Plan budget allocation earmarked for infrastructure improvements at the nearly 75-year-old facility.
“This is a unique opportunity for short track racing competitors and fans to experience North Wilkesboro Speedway once again on the old asphalt and then on the dirt as it began,” said XR Events CEO Barry Braun.
“We have a lot of work to do with sanctioning bodies and competitors to prepare for August, but we are committed to producing an event that fans and riders alike will remember for a lifetime.”
Racetrack Revival action on pavement is expected to include Super Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro Late Models, Limited Late Models, Open Wheel Modifieds, Late Model Stocks and Hornets. Dirt events could include Super Late Models, 410 Sprint Cars, Big Block Modifieds, Street Stocks, Open Wheel Modifieds, 602 Crate Late Models, 604 Crate Late Models, Stock Cars, and Hornets.
NASCAR and Pinty’s Delicious Foods announced a five-year extension of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Canada’s largest national motorsports series.
The Canadian food company is also the sponsor of Saturday night’s Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt in Bristol.
“Pinty’s has been a great partner as we work together to grow racing in Canada,” said Chad Seigler, NASCAR Vice President of International Business Development. “His commitment to both the racing industry and the fan experience has elevated the NASCAR Pinty’s Series over the past six years.
“The future is bright for NASCAR in Canada,” added Seigler, “and this continued partnership will further increase fan interest and the level of competition in Canada’s premier racing series.”
This season is the first traditional NASCAR Pinty’s Series season since 2019 after the coronavirus pandemic forced shortened schedules in 2020 and 2021.