Rain Shuts Down Bristol Dirt Racing

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 27 2021

Rain put the clamps on racing at Bristol on Saturday. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Steady rain Saturday evening at Bristol Motor Speedway forced cancellation of the heat qualifying races for the NASCAR Cup and Camping World Truck series and postponement of the Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt.

NASCAR rescheduled the Truck race for 9 p.m. Sunday. The Food City Dirt Race remained scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Sunday. A flash flood watch was in effect for the Bristol area Saturday night and the weather forecast called for thunderstorms until 4 p.m. on Sunday. Sunny skies aren’t in the forecast until Monday. 

With the cancellation of the 15-lap heat qualifying races, Ryan Newman, Jessica Friesen and Trevor Collins were immediately booted from the Truck Series lineup. J.R. Heffner lost his chance to start the Truck race when he crashed his Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet during Friday’s practice and the team didn’t have a backup. 

In Friday’s final Truck practice, Newman posted the best 10 consecutive lap average. Friesen was attempting to make her Truck Series debut. If she had qualified for the race, she and her husband, full-time Truck competitor Stewart Friesen, would have become the first couple to compete against each other in a NASCAR race since the 1990s. Jessica is a regular competitor on dirt tracks in the Northeast.

NASCAR attempted to start the first Truck qualifying race Saturday about an hour after the originally scheduled time. However, when the 11 trucks received the green flag they were able to make only one lap due to the mud covering their windshields. It began raining again while crews cleaned the mud from the trucks’ windshields and grills. 

John Hunter Nemechek will start on the pole for the Truck race with Austin Hill possessing the other front-row starting position. 

For the Food City Dirt Race, Kyle Larson was assigned the pole; however, his Chevrolet underwent an engine change on Friday. That means he will have to drop to the rear for the start. Denny Hamlin has the other front row starting position.

NASCAR also made several other adjustments for the Cup race due to data gathered during Friday’s two practices. For the Cup race, the Stages will now end on laps 100 and 200. Originally, the first two Stages were scheduled to end on laps 75 and 150. The race will still be 250 laps. There will be a competition caution on laps 50 and 150. Caution laps will not count once NASCAR sends the free pass car around. Each team also will receive an additional set of tires.

The Cup race will be telecast on Fox with the Truck race set for FS2. 



| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 27 2021
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