Joey Logano drove through often-thick dust and numerous fender-benders within it to win NASCAR’s first Cup Race on a dirt track since 1970. The .533-mile oval at Bristol had been covered with 23,000 cubic yards (about 30,000 tons) of dirt and clay for the event, which was pushed back to Monday by heavy rains Sunday.
Logano led the last 61 laps of the 253-lap race and held off Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who put together a late-race charge, by a little more than half a second. He is the seventh winner in the first seven races of the NASCAR year.
Competitors at times were mostly blind because of thick dust and the glare of the setting sun as the race wound down and the sun began to set.
Martin Truex, who led one lap less than half the race limped home 19th after a tire went flat on the final lap.
Series points leader Denny Hamlin was third, his sixth top-five finish in the first seven races. He’s still searching for his first win of 2021. Daniel Suarez led 56 laps, more laps that he has led in any race in his Cup career. He finished fourth, ahead of Ryan Newman, William Byron, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney, and Erik Jones.
NASCAR and track officials announced during the race that fan and driver enthusiasm for the event mean the spring Bristol race next year also will be on dirt. The dirt will be removed for the NASCAR return to Bristol on September 18th.
NASCAR is off for Easter weekend before resuming the season on Saturday night, April 10, on another short track, Martinsville.