NASCAR’s Return to Dirt
That’s right, after 51 years, NASCAR is back on a dirt track for the first time since 1970!
Written by: Wyatt Blamires, Edited by Unreäl A. & Ishaan More
After a great qualifying with not-so-great weather, NASCAR hosted this monumental race at the Bristol Motor Speedway after its unfortunate postponement last Sunday. The race eventually started on the 29th of March with Kyle Larson (Hendrick Motorsports) claiming pole, with Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Ryan Blaney (Team Penske) starting second and third respectively.
Before the race, however, Kyle Larson was demoted to the rear of the pack due to an engine change, shooting Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) up to 3rd. Michael McDowell (Front Row Motorsports) and Matt DiBenedetto (Wood Brothers Racing) also started at the back due to car adjustments that weren’t approved by the governing body.
At the start of stage one Denny Hamlin quickly led the pack, but on lap 10, Kyle Busch took the lead. Kyle then had to make an unfortunate and unplanned pitstop due to dust building up and causing the engine to overheat – this gave Martin Truex Jr. (Joe Gibbs Racing) a chance at the lead. On lap 41, Aric Almirola (Stewart-Haas Racing) spun and was hit by multiple cars. Both Aric and Anthony Alfredo (Front Row Motorsports) retired from the race due to the crash. Shane Golobic (Live Fast Motorsports) and Cory LaJoie (Spire Motorsports) also both crashed and retired from the race, causing the red flag to be called out. Martin Turex Jr. won stage 1.
Stage 2 started with Truex Jr. in 1st with Daniel Saurez (Trackhouse Racing) close behind. On lap 136 Saurez took the lead while William Byron (Hendrick Motorsports) passed Truex Jr. to take 2nd. The top three at this point were all inexperienced dirt drivers. On lap 150 the caution was called out and all drivers came into the pits for repairs and minor changes. 2 laps after the green flag, multiple cars were involved in a massive pileup, but all cars were able to drive away and keep racing. 10 laps after the pileup, driver Chase Briscoe (Stewart-Haas Racing) spun into the inside barrier, causing yet another yellow flag to come out which pushed the governing body to make single-file restarts from now on. On lap 200, Joey Logano (Team Penske) passed Martin Truex Jr. to take first place for Stage 2.
Stage 3 started off strong with Logano and Denny Hamlin having a great battle for first, leaving Truex Jr. in the dust. After a few laps, lapped drivers began to introduce yet more obstacles to compete with in the dirt. On lap 250, Joey Logano took the lead with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (JTG Daughtery Racing) and Denny Hamlin coming in 2nd and 3rd.
With crashes and endings like that, we can only hope that next year’s dirt race will be even better!
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