NASCAR at Bristol 2021 Results: Joey Logano Wins Historic Dirt Race in Overtime

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2021

Joey Logano walks along pit road prior to a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Phoenix Raceway, Sunday, March 14, 2021, in Avondale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Ralph Freso/Associated Press

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.


Retweet to congratulate @JoeyLogano on his NASCAR Cup Series WIN on the Bristol Dirt Track! @BMSUpdates | @Team_Penske https://t.co/SpKqwkkANt

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.

JR Hildebrand @JRHildebrand

Truex. Not a road course guy but wins on road courses. Not a dirt guy but cruising out there today. Pretty awesome! @MartinTruex_Jr #BristolDirtRace #NASCAR

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 red flag is out after a big crash at the Bristol Dirt Track. https://t.co/vX3wLq74Ah https://t.co/kTMQ4lOFsv

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.


Ride with @CBellRacing as the No. 20 car spins coming off the corner. 📺: FOX | 📲: https://t.co/oWWAusOO8X https://t.co/9YT07GHMLZ


"Dude, you can't see anything. NOTHING."- Kyle Busch https://t.co/GBF8qDrqbf

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.


Trouble for two of today's favorites to win. Christopher Bell goes around and Kyle Larson has nowhere to go. https://t.co/nhKfNCSawx

nascarcasm @nascarcasm

Kyle Larson would be ready to put this race in the rearview mirror but I think that fell off also. #NASCAR #BristolDirtRace https://t.co/xBCdf4KLx5

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.