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NASCAR Cup: Joey Logano wins on Bristol dirt

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE – MARCH 29: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 29, 2021 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Despite a lack of dirt-racing experience, Joey Logano was victorious in the Food City Dirt Race, the first NASCAR Cup Series race on dirt in over 50 years, Monday at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race originally was scheduled for Sunday afternoon, but rain forced the postponement of the historic race to Monday.

“This is, obviously, my first dirt win,” Logano said. “It’s only my fourth dirt race ever, so I had a lot of fun trying to figure it out. I was having a blast racing, trying to find the right lanes, moving around, watching Denny (Hamlin) figure out the top after they watered the track. I was like, ‘Oh no, now what do we do?’ So just a crazy moment.”

Logano’s win Monday extended the string of different winners to start a season to seven.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took runner-up honors after taking the second position on an overtime restart when Denny Hamlin opted to go high in an attempt to take the lead from Logano. Hamlin finished third.

“Our Kroger Camaro was really good on the long run; we needed a little bit more NOS Energy Drink for the restarts. I just couldn’t get going; couldn’t get the turn in the race car that we needed. But we made a ton of adjustments and we kind of went back and forth overnight of what we were going to do. (Kyle) Larson and I came out and hung with the track crew. Steve Swift and the boys did a great job of getting this thing race-able today with all the rain and all the challenges that they had.” 

Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-five.

“To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing,” Suarez said. “But we’re having fun. Everyone at Trackhouse Racing did an amazing job. This is the second week in a row that we’ve had very fast race cars capable of running in the top-five, top-10. I couldn’t be more proud of all these guys — Justin Marks, Ty Norris, and everyone that helps in this program, Camping World, Chevy, CommScope. Everyone has been a huge support of myself. It just feels so good to be back. It’s been a little bit difficult the last year, and it feels so good to be able to race with these guys and to have some fun up front. Hopefully, our time will come soon.”

Martin Truex Jr., who won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol earlier in the day, dominated the first half of the race, leading 126 laps of the race that was scheduled for a 250-lap distance until Suarez bumped him and took the lead on lap 136. Truex’s laps led included a stage-one win on lap 100. He was third to Logano and Hamlin on the final restart, but a flat tire dropped him to the back of the lead lap for a 19th-place finish.

Suarez led 58 laps before Logano took the lead on lap 193 and went on to win stage two on lap 200. Hamlin took second on the restart that followed the conclusion of stage two and challenged Logano for the lead, but Logano was able to maintain his position up front for the remainder of the race.

William Byron finished sixth, Tyler Reddick was seventh, Ryan Blaney was eighth, Erik Jones ninth, and Chase Elliott finished 10th.

The race included four scheduled cautions — two at the end of each of the first two stages and two competition cautions — to divide the race into 50-lap segments as a result of concern about tire wear following two practice sessions Friday. Several race favorites (for their dirt-racing experience) — Kyle Larson, Chase Briscoe and Christopher Bell among them — fell victim to one or more of the five incidents that brought the yellow-flag tally to nine.

“That was not the race we wanted for our HightPoint.com Ford Mustang,” Briscoe, who finished 20th, said. “Obviously, we had high expectations for this weekend. After running the Truck Series race earlier today, I knew it was going to be a challenge. A lot of what happened, there, was out of our control with the accidents. We actually were heading in the right direction there in stage two but, once again, got hit from behind and just never really recovered from it. I’m just looking forward to the week off before we head to Martinsville.”

Larson was the official pole sitter of the race, but he had to start in the back after an engine change Friday.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Food City Dirt Race:

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Posted by on March 30, 2021. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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