Logano takes the checkered flag in a haze of Bristol dirt
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Somewhere under the thick red haze floating over Bristol Motor Speedway, Joey Logano took the checkered flag for NASCAR's first Cup Series race at a dirt track in 50 years. The Logano victory closed a weekend of uncertainty and even some hysteria as NASCAR launched this drive through the dirt. “It’s only my fourth dirt race ever, so I had a lot of fun trying to figure it out," Logano said. It was impossible to handicap this first dirt race because the teams had no idea how to prepare and the drivers had wildly varying experience. "In dirt racing you don’t have a windshield in front of you, so you can pull a tearoff.
Rain swamps Bristol dirt track; NASCAR to try again Monday
NASCAR canceled all Sunday activity because even if Bristol's converted dirt track could eventually be readied for night racing, the entire facility was a swampy mess. The first Cup Series race on dirt since 1970 was rescheduled for 4 p.m. Monday; trucks were set to run at noon. He openly fretted that a bad show at Bristol would damage the future of NASCAR dirt racing — and NASCAR itself seemed to admit it was a valid concern. Stewart, who has insisted Eldora can successfully host the Cup Series, declined to comment Sunday when reached by The Associated Press. “People need to understand this is not how dirt racing is and I think they need to try and appreciate how hard this is to pull off.
What a Mess: NASCAR worried about first Bristol dirt race
AdBristol also made a bold change this year by converting its facility into a dirt race as part of radical changes to the 2021 schedule. NASCAR needed a major shakeup and the dirt race joined an influx of road courses and new venues for the most adventurous schedule in sport history. So when NASCAR broadcast partner Fox pushed for a dirt race on the Cup schedule, Speedway Motorsports said Bristol would be the guinea pig. “That's probably the most uncomfortable I've ever been in a race car,” said Kevin Harvick, running his first Truck Series race since 2015. The first NASCAR Cup Series points-paying sanctioned race in the inaugural 1949 season was on dirt at Charlotte (Old) Speedway.
NASCAR's 'unique' winners already altering playoff landscape
Christopher Bell celebrates at the finish line after winning the NASCAR Cup Series road course auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)HOMESTEAD, Fla. – NASCAR’s postseason landscape has been altered after just two Cup Series races. “The number of unique winners is really going to change how many cars get in on points, right? Although Bell drives for powerhouse Joe Gibbs Racing, he was a rookie for that top team and in his second full season in the Cup series. The Cup Series opened on a superspeedway, then raced on a road course, and now heads to an intermediate track. Whether that’s different markets, different racetracks, it has to be different from year to year.
Allmendinger back at Daytona in 1st Cup race since 2018
Allmendinger will run his first Cup race since the 2018 season finale in Kaulig's first Cup race not at a superspeedway. The longshot Daytona 500 win earned McDowell his first playoff berth and FRM now is positioned to build a once unthinkable cushion. This road course race was added to NASCAR's schedule in December because COVID-19 restrictions would not allow a stop at Fontana, California. AdThe Daytona road course was wedged into the open slot, creating two weekends of very different racing that very much suits Furniture Row. Dillon missed the Cup race in August because he'd received a positive COVID-19 test.
AP Was There: Earnhardt killed in 2001 Daytona 500 crash
“I guess someone got into Dale because Dale got into me and then we went up,” Schrader said. We’ve lost Dale Earnhardt,” Helton said. The death of Earnhardt left NASCAR reeling in the wake of a 2000 season in which three of its young stars were killed in separate accidents. All three died of the same type of head injuries that apparently killed Earnhardt. “The only reason I won this race is Dale Earnhardt,” Waltrip said.
Michael Jordan's NASCAR team partners with Gibbs, Toyota
The car will be driven by Bubba Wallace and will be a Toyota in an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing. (Toyota Racing via AP)CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Michael Jordan expects to field a winning team when 23XI Racing begins NASCAR competition next season. The first move toward victory lane came Friday in a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. “My main goal for 23XI Racing is to be competitive for a championship as soon as possible,” said Jordan. “Our partnership with Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing gives us the equipment, resources and expertise to do it.”JGR is the flagship Toyota team and considered one of NASCAR's top organizations.
Chase Briscoe lands childhood hero Tony Stewart's No. 14
Briscoe idolized fellow Indiana native Tony Stewart and dreamed of one day driving Stewart's car. and I'd say ‘Man, the dream is to drive the 14,’" Briscoe said in an interview with The Associated Press. Much like Stewart, Briscoe is considered a blue-collar racer who lacks the family wealth needed to clear the path for an aspiring young driver. He had to earn everything on the track, yet nearly every year Briscoe's season plans were 11th hour deals. It’s why he’s ready for the NASCAR Cup Series and why we are so honored to support him.”
Stewart and Evernham team to recreate IROC as SRX All-Stars
FILE - In this June 26, 2006, file photo, Tony Stewart poses with the trophy after winning the Crown Royal IROC auto race in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Paul Kizzle, File)CHARLOTTE, N.C. Remember the old IROC Series, where the best drivers from various disciplines raced each other in equally prepared cars? It ran for 30 seasons before Tony Stewart won its final championship and the series quietly went away. We envision a hybrid of all different series we dont see it looking like a crazy dunebuggyish type car, Evernham told the AP. Evernham believes drivers will arrive and draw for both their car and crew chief which Evernham hopes comes from a pool of noted industry veterans.
Denny Hamlin wins on a long day at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla. Denny Hamlin found the magic at Homestead-Miami Speedway, once again. Hamlin went to the lead for the final time with 30 laps left and held off Chase Elliott for his record-tying NASCAR Cup Series victory at Homestead. At Homestead, he led 137 of 267 laps on the 1 1/2-mile track in Joe Gibbs Racing's No. Most of those fans were gone when Hamlin drove under the checkered flag at 10:46 p.m., ending the marathon day. Austin Dillon had a day hell never forget, though his seventh-place finish wasnt even close to the most significant development.
Briscoe finds a way, wins Xfinity race at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla. Chase Briscoe lost much of his team and got a win for them. Its just a testament to our team, Briscoe said. With 15 laps to go, it was basically down to a two-car race: Gragson was leading, about 2 1/2 seconds ahead of Briscoe. Gragson never had control of the race again, and Briscoe wound up in victory lane. That was a team win, for sure, Briscoe said.