NASCAR officials have made competition changes for Sunday’s Cup Series race on the dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway after feedback and lessons from practice.
The stages of the Food City Dirt Race will now end on laps 100 and 200. They were initially set to end at lap 75 and 150. The race remains 250 laps in length.
There will also be competition cautions thrown on lap 50 and lap 150. Caution laps will not count once NASCAR sends the free pass driver around the pace car.
Additionally, Cup Series teams will receive one additional set of tires, giving them a total of six. One set will be for qualifying, and five sets are for the race.
These adjustments give officials additional opportunities for track prep while teams have more chances to change tires. During the two Friday practice sessions, there were concerns over how quickly tires were cording.
Teams are not sending their pit crews to Bristol this weekend because there will not be live pit stops. The only time they will be allowed to change tires will be during competition cautions and stage breaks.
“Obviously, this is something we haven’t done in the premier NASCAR series for a very long time – over 50 years – so we knew, especially with the character of this track and everything that we could be faced with coming into this weekend, some things we needed to adjust to,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition. “Two things about this: It obviously gives us more opportunity to prepare the track during these breaks; and it kind of assures us that the story will really be about the racing. Trying to ask the tires to do more than they can isn’t in the best interest of anybody. So, we made these adjustments just in the best interest of this event and the entire industry.
“(We) had a lot of back and forth with some of the drivers and some of the crew chiefs. Kyle Larson has been extremely helpful on a lot of this. He and Austin Dillon (photo above) have been really good. Been engaged with us as they participated with the Dirt Nationals last week and continued to give us good feedback on what was going on. Just a lot of conversations that led to this decision.”