NASCAR at Bristol 2021 Results: Joey Logano Wins Historic Dirt Race in OvertimeMarch 29, 2021
Joey Logano held off Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Denny Hamlin in overtime to win the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Monday.
Logano took control in the middle stage, claiming a Stage 2 win and remaining at or near the top of the leaderboard for the remainder of the evening. He led 61 laps, second-most in the field.
Inclement weather forced officials to postpone the race—the first NASCAR Cup event on dirt since 1970—by one day, but conditions couldn't have been much better in Bristol, Tennessee. That isn't to say the event was totally drama-free as 10 cautions were called over the 250 laps.
The final caution came with only four laps remaining, providing Hamlin, who was running in second, with a lifeline.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver miscalculated by attempting to pass Logano on the outside. The No. 11 Toyota slid to the top of the track and opened the door for Stenhouse to overtake him for second. That left Logano with a clear path to his first victory of the 2021 season.
No matter how the Food City Dirt Race unfolded, Martin Truex Jr. was guaranteed to leave Bristol Motor Speedway with at least one victory Monday. The 40-year-old was victorious in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race that ran prior to the main event.
Truex's momentum carried over into the NASCAR Cup Series contest as he took the first stage.
The JGR driver was fortunate early into the race as Aric Almirola lost control and spun out in the middle of the track. The No. 19 car managed to slow down and weave his way around to avoid being a part of the collateral damage.
The dirt track was a great callback to the sport's history and made for excellent visuals. To those who actually had to do the driving, the novelty might have worn off quickly.
The surface provided less traction than a traditional concrete or asphalt track and presented different challenges in terms of managing the tires. Simply seeing where you were going was difficult at times as well.
Past experience didn't count for much, either. This was far from Kyle Larson's first rodeo on the dirt, which made the Hendrick Motorsports driver one of the top contenders in the eyes of many.
Instead, Larson was dragged into a wreck in the first stage and quickly fell two laps back. While the No. 5 car eventually returned to the 0.533-mile oval, some modifications were required to make it race-ready.
Bristol already announced it will be bringing the dirt back next spring. That gives NASCAR plenty of time to make some adjustments based on Monday's action.
Drivers will get the weekend off before they're back on the track for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 10. Chase Elliott captured the checkered flag in the NASCAR Cup Series' penultimate race of the 2020 season at the 0.526-mile short track.