The Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway had plenty of action and ended with some drama on the last lap.
The track was wet from rain when the green flag started the race Easter Sunday (4/17). It guaranteed that the track would go through changes. That made the drivers and crews have to try to guess where to start with the set-ups in the cars. It also meant they would have to work hard to try to adjust the cars properly to keep up with the track through the race.
Due to the dirt racing surface and paved pit road, NASCAR made the call for “non-competitive Pit stops.” That meant when you pitted under cautions you would retain your track position coming out of the pits. That also meant that if you were to pit under green flag conditions you could not fuel the car or change the tires. The exception would be if you had a flat tire, you could change only the tire(s) that were flat. There were plenty of chances to adjust the cars and put on new tires though as the race had 14 caution periods.
Early on it appeared that Chase Briscoe was going to be a serious contender for the win. He led the first 48 laps of the race. However, he had a flat tire allowing Kyle Larson to take over the lead and win stage one of the race. Chase was able to race his way back to be the winner of the second stage of the race. This again made it known that he would contend for the race win.
Daniel Suarez made his statement that he could win the race during stage three as he spent 64 laps as the leader in stage two of the race.
Tyler Reddick made his way to the front during stage three. He became the fourth leader of the race. Tyler was in control for a race high 99 laps. It seemed as though he had everything under control to score his first win the NASCAR Cup Series. However, Chase Briscoe had raced his way to second place and was looking for a spot to try to pass as the laps were winding down.
On the last lap of the race going through turns three and four Chase made his move on Tyler. Chase dove his #14 car below the #8 car. Chase then slid up the track into Tyler’s car causing them both to spin out. That allowed Kyle Busch to race forward from the third spot and become the fifth and final leader of the race. It would be the only lap Kyle Busch would lead, but it was the most important lap to be the leader.
Kyle scored his ninth win at Bristol Motor Speedway in his NASCAR Cup career and his first at the track on the dirt. He also becomes the eighth driver to win in the nine races so far this season.
Tyler Reddick was able to recover from the spin in time to claim a second-place finish. Joey Logano finished in third, Kyle Larson in fourth and Ryan Blaney finished in fifth-place. See the complete race results for the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway here.
Chase Elliott left Bristol Motor Speedway as the leader in the point standings. Ryan Blaney is in second-place. Joey Logano holds third-place. William Byron is in fourth with Alex Bowman in fifth. See the complete NASCAR Cup Series point standings here.
The NASCAR Drivers and teams now head to opposite end of the racing spectrum from short track dirt racing. Next stop is Talladega Superspeedway Sunday, April 24th for the Geico 500.
By: Buck Stevens