NASCAR Cup SeriesNASCAR Truck Series

Bristol Dirt returning for 2023

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Credit: Logan Riely/Getty Images

After another interesting weekend, Bristol Motor Speedway‘s dirt experiment will continue for another season. On Tuesday, track president and general manager Jerry Caldwell confirmed the NASCAR Cup SeriesFood City Dirt Race will return for 2023.

Introduced in 2021 for the Cup and Camping World Truck Series, the dirt weekend has drawn mixed reception from fans and media, with detractors arguing the half-mile short track is too iconic with two asphalt rounds and that NASCAR should visit an actual dirt track if it wished to run such races. Both editions were also marred by bizarre circumstances: the 2021 weekend was plagued by rain before the Cup event saw double-file restarts be shifted to a single line due to visibility problems as dirt kicked up into drivers’ windshields (itself a hot-button topic as those like dirt star and reigning Cup champion Kyle Larson denounced their usage); the 2022 Cup race suffered from rain, mud, and a scoring controversy.

Despite its issues, both races enjoyed high ticket sales and television ratings. Saturday’s Truck race was the highest-viewed Bristol race in series history while the parent CUp Series had 4.007 million viewers, the most at Bristol since 2016. The Bristol Dirt Nationals, featuring actual dirt cars, has also been a popular event.

“I’m so thankful for our owners, Bruton and Marcus Smith, for allowing our Bristol Motor Speedway team to put on an amazing Easter celebration and NASCAR race weekend that exceeded our expectations with strong ticket sales and primetime viewership on FOX,” Caldwell stated. “Bristol Motor Speedway will prepare for a spring night race on dirt in 2023, giving the fans two great NASCAR shows on different surfaces. The dates for our NASCAR events will not be available until later this year. To guarantee the best seats for more amazing dirt racing next year, guests may contact the ticket office or visit our website at BristolMotorSpeedway.com to renew their tickets today.”

Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race ended with a dramatic finish in which Chase Briscoe and Tyler Reddick made contact while fighting for the win, which allowed Kyle Busch to steal the victory. The previous day’s Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt saw Ben Rhodes pass Carson Hocevar for the win with four laps to go.

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Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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