NASCAR at Bristol 2021 Postponed Because of Rain; Race Moved to Monday

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2021

Safety workers spread drying agent before heat races for a NASCAR Truck Series race on Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Bristol, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Wade Payne/Associated Press

NASCAR announced Sunday that the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway was postponed until Monday because of heavy rains and flood warnings in Sullivan County in Tennessee. 

The race will be held at 4 p.m. ET on Fox. 

Saturday night's The Truck Series race has been postponed twice after initially being rescheduled for Sunday evening and will be held at noon ET Monday on FS1. 

NASCAR hasn't run a Cup Series race on dirt since 1970, when Richard Petty won at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.

Kyle Larson was scheduled to hold pole position for the Food City Dirt Race but had to drop to the back of the pack after a Friday engine change because of high engine temperatures. 

Per the Associated Press, NASCAR decided to postpone the festivities on Sunday because "even if Bristol's converted dirt track could eventually be readied for night racing, the entire facility was a swampy mess. Grandstand seats that had been covered in dust were caked in mud, while pit road and the apron around the 0.533-mile bullring held several inches of standing water."

The converted dirt racetrack began showing some issues Friday, when "dust that kicked up from the dirt was thick, but the main concern was the durability of the tires provided by Goodyear." 

NASCAR ultimately granted drivers an extra set of tires because of the wear and tear on their tires from the dirt track. 

And when trucks resumed their heat races Saturday following the rain, "it took just one lap for the rain-soaked track to splatter windshields with a thick layer of mud and cake the front grilles—putting every competitor into a blinding situation with a fear of an overheating engine."

Given some of the issues the converted track at Bristol has faced, there has been skepticism about holding a dirt event in the first place. But Larson was giving NASCAR and Bristol the benefit of the doubt. 

"Eldora has races all throughout the year, and the weather is typically fine when they hold those events," he told reporters. "This is a makeshift track in the mountains, and it is always raining in the spring. People need to understand this is not how dirt racing is, and I think they need to try and appreciate how hard this is to pull off. I don't think it is a black eye on Bristol or dirt for Cup."