For the first time in 60 years, NASCAR returned to a dirt-track race with Monday’s Food City Dirt Race. The event featured many memorable moments while creating much excitement for what may lie ahead. With that in mind, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has one suggestion when it comes to NASCAR‘s handling of dirt track races moving forward.
NASCAR returns to a dirt track for the first time in 60 years
Following weeks of anticipation, NASCAR made its long-awaited return to a dirt track with Monday’s Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
It marked the first Cup Series race on a dirt course since 1970, which didn’t disappoint. There were plenty of high-action moments that featured a few crashes on the track.
It first featured several drivers such as Aric Almirola, Corey La Joie, and Anthony Alfredo knocked out of the event in a wreck. That was followed by William Byron spinning out Ryan Newman while Kevin Harvick, Chase Briscoe, and Cody Ware became part of the crash.
Despite that, it was a successful event that saw Joey Logano grab his first Cup Series win of the season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. voices 1 wish regarding NASCAR dirt-track races
Since Monday’s race, there has been a largely positive reaction to NASCAR returning to a dirt track this year.
Among those thrilled about the turnout from the event is Dale Earnhardt Jr. During his latest Ask Jr. segment for The Dale Jr. Download podcast, the 46-year-old voiced that he hopes NASCAR sticks to holding a dirt race only at Bristol for the next couple of years.
“I hope it’s here to stay,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I hope that it’s here to stay. I hope that it’s just at Bristol. I think there is some potential here for us to have success at dirt tracks outside of Bristol, but let’s just do it at Bristol for a little while and figure it out. Get it right and get our cars right.
“We got a new car coming into the sport in a year or two. Let’s get all the bugs worked out of this before we go take it everywhere.”
Monday’s race was quite entertaining, but there are some evident kinks that need to be worked out. There is a necessary adjustment to get the cars better adapted to running on dirt roads, contributing to a few crashes.
The lack of experience running that kind of track also played a factor that contributed to those wrecks. All that makes Earnhardt’s suggestions all the more likely path that NASCAR will follow to make the race a regular part of the annual schedule moving forward.
Another dirt-track race scheduled for 2022
Before NASCAR debuted Bristol Motor Speedway’s dirt track, a significant announcement was made that it wouldn’t be a one-off event.
The track owners voiced that its Spring NASCAR weekend in 2022 will also be featured on the same course. (H/T NASCAR.com)
“There has been so much buzz and excitement around the inaugural Food City Dirt Race weekend that with NASCAR’s blessing, we are thrilled to announce that we will be bringing back dirt in 2022 as part of the NASCAR Cup Series spring schedule,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. “The dirt experience is unlike any other for NASCAR fans and could become a must-see event every season.”
With the plans set for 2022, the sport will have plenty of time to better prepare for the race next year. It’s another chance to string together a more efficient and thrilling event with the hopes of making it a mainstay for years to come.