NASCAR Hosts First Dirt Surface Race in 51 years


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia/Creative Commons

Kole Scheneman

On March 28th, 2021, NASCAR will race on a dirt surface for the first time in 51 years. The last time the NASCAR Cup Series raced on a dirt surface was at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, North Carolina on September 30, 1970.

Many drivers are using different methods to try to prepare for the race.

Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, and Chase Elliott will race super late models and participate in the Bristol Dirt Nationals on Friday and Saturday. The winner of Saturday’s 60-lap feature race will take home $50,000.

“I’m excited to get there,” Larson said. “I think we all are just because we don’t know what it’s going to be like. So, I don’t really know. I’m probably not going to learn a whole lot the week before, other than just getting familiar with the banking and the track and stuff like that. A super late model on dirt is going to be way different than a cup car on the same race track. So, I don’t know what to expect for the cup race anyway.”

Meanwhile, Martin Truex Jr., last week’s winner, will do something that he hasn’t done since 2006 – race in the Truck Series. Truex will drive Kyle Busch’s #51 car for his race team, Kyle Busch Motorsports. The Camping World Truck Series will race on the dirt surface at Bristol next Saturday, the day before the cup series race.

“I grew up on four-wheelers and motorcycles,” Truex said. “It’s going to be a learning curve for sure. I look at it as Bristol has been our worst track for the past couple of years. Why the heck not lay down dirt and see what we can do? I think it’s going to be fun. New challenge, something different.”

Ryan Blaney is doing something different.

“I just do Ford sim stuff and we have practice there, which will be good and kind of relying back to the Truck dirt race I did at Eldora a couple times,” he said. “I’ll kind of think back on that a little bit and rewatch that race, but Bristol will be totally different — bigger, high-banked track, and the Cup car is gonna drive a little bit different than the truck, so that’s the biggest thing.”

Erik Jones hopes to get some practice by testing a micro sprint at Millbridge Speedway. 

Just the feeling of dirt and being on dirt and having the car and what it feels like,” Jones said. “I haven’t been on dirt in, I guess, six years was the last time. Just being on a dirt track, not a lot is going to apply over to a totally different car and track and everything.”

The NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway will be on Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 2:30. The race coverage will be on FOX.