It’s dirt baby!
That’s the slogan for the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 28, which will be the first NASCAR Cup Series race held on a dirt track since 1970.
The half-mile oval has been covered in red clay for the event and will also host a Camping World Truck Series Race on Saturday night that several Cup Series regulars have entered to get in some extra practice on the surface.
Among them is Kyle Larson, who is the favorite to win on Sunday at 5-2 odds. Larson’s background is in dirt racing and he picked up 43 wins in sprint cars last season followed by his second-straight Chili Bowl Nationals midget car title in January. He also won the Truck Series race on the dirt track at Eldora Speedway in 2016.
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The 28-year-old has been in excellent form since returning to the Cup Series from last year’s suspension, with one win and five top 10 finishes through the first six races, but isn’t ready to declare victory at Bristol yet. He knows that he and three-time Chili Bowl champ Christopher Bell, who won his first Cup Series race this year on the Daytona road course, are expected to do well, but isn’t counting anyone out.
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“Everybody in the Cup Series is an amazing race car driver, so I think everybody will pick up on it very quickly and the racing will be very good because of it,” he said.
The cars will run a package that combines high horsepower with a tall, narrow spoiler and bias-ply tires with a block tread. Unlike most dedicated dirt racing cars, the windshields will be kept in place. Pit stops will only be allowed during stage breaks and will be non-competitive for safety reasons, with the field frozen until the restart.
Despite the changes, Larson thinks it will look a lot like a typical race at Bristol.
“I think Kyle Busch will be up there, Harvick, Truex, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, like, I don’t think the running order’s going to look much different than normal,” he said.
Viewers can tune in Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX to catch the Food City Dirt Race. Those with a participating TV provider can also watch the race online and on smart devices using the FOX Sports app.