Fan demand led Bristol back to dirt

John Harrelson/Motorsport Images

Fan demand led Bristol back to dirt


Fan demand led Bristol back to dirt


Bristol Motor Speedway says fan demand was what drove the decision to transform its half-mile facility into a dirt track for the spring 2021 NASCAR Cup Series race. The Food City 500 is set for March 28, 2021.

“As everyone knows, Bristol Motor Speedway is the home to big event, and we feel like this will be one of the most anticipated races in the NASCAR Cup Series in quite some time,” said BMS executive vice president and general manager Jerry Caldwell. “We have proven in the past that we know how to transform Bristol Motor Speedway into one of the most pristine dirt facilities anywhere around, so we can’t wait to see how the stars of the NASCAR Cup Series will perform on the high banks at the World’s Fastest dirt Half-Mile.”

Richard Petty won the last Cup Series race on dirt in 1970 at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, North Carolina. But it will be the third time that Bristol has converted to a dirt track, as it hosted the World of Outlaws in 2000 and 2001.

“We are blessed here at Bristol Motor Speedway to have held some really captivating events in the last 60 years,” Caldwell said. “Hosting the tradition-rich Food City race on dirt is certainly an event that will immediately jump on the list of some of the most compelling events that have taken center stage at Bristol Motor Speedway.”

Details on the track layout and what the format for the race would be were not announced. It is also yet to be determined if there will be any additional races running with the Cup Series that weekend.

“When I heard we were going on dirt, I was pumped,” said Austin Dillon, who participated in the Bristol announcement. “Being the guy to win the truck race at Eldora (in 2013) and now having the opportunity to race on dirt at Bristol … I remember when the World of Outlaws were at Bristol and just thinking how cool it would be to run that track on dirt. Now I’m going to get the opportunity, and it’s going to be awesome.”