Race Weekend Central

Truckin Thursdays: Dancing in the Dirt Or Just Kicking Rocks?

“Rub some dirt on it, kid.”

Many of you are familiar with the expression.

For anyone who isn’t fully aware of what it means, it’s a suggestion of fixing something quickly without giving it much thought. If you suffer a minor injury, rather than go through the painstakingly slow process of appropriately tending to the wound, you can just rub some bacteria laden dirt on it and keep right on playing.

It would seem that someone among the leadership at Bristol Motor Speedway is particularly fond of the practice. Rather than take the time to appropriately address what was broken about the track (in terms of putting on a quality show), they instead decided to rub a little dirt on it.

See also
Entry List: 2023 Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt

Whether the experiment has worked as intended is up for debate but what isn’t as uncertain is that the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winner in each of the first two outings has put a solid whooping on the field. In 2021, Martin Truex Jr. led 105 of the 150 laps en route to the win. Ben Rhodes‘ victory last year came after he paced the field for 95 laps.

In the Cup Series, which also races on the dirt at Bristol, there’s not much basis for comparison to other tracks. The muddy version of the .533-mile oval is the only dirt track that has hosted the Cup Series in 50 years. And no, the Charlotte Motor Speedway infield in the 1987 All-Star Race doesn’t count.

However, with the trucks, there is a much more relatable circuit. From 2013 to 2019, Eldora Speedway clogged many a chassis with caked mud. While the novelty of a major NASCAR touring division running on dirt kept the stands full, the final laps of the race were relatively anticlimactic. Only once in the seven years of competition at Eldora was there a lead change within the final 10 laps of the race.

See also
Next Target for Carson Hocevar? A Truck Championship

Despite the apparent lack of late-race uncertainty regarding the winner, the dirt experience isn’t likely to end. If nothing else, it’s certainly not a monotonous game of follow the leader for two hours around a 1.5-mile oval that, apart from the logo on the infield, looks just identical to four other tracks. So even if one driver stinks up the show, it’s still a show nonetheless.

Truckin Tidbits

Joey Logano will make his ninth career start in the Truck Series this week behind the wheel of the No. 66 ThorSport Racing Ford. Logano, who won the first Cup race on Bristol dirt, started on the pole and finished sixth in last year’s event.

Nick Sanchez narrowly missed collecting his first win last week at Texas as he trounced everyone before being swept up in an accident. Sanchez led more laps (168) in that one race than any other drivers have led in all five races put together.

About the author

Frank Velat has been an avid follower of NASCAR and other motorsports for over 20 years. He brings a blend of passionate fan and objective author to his work. Frank offers unique perspectives that everyone can relate to, remembering the sport's past all the while embracing its future. Follow along with @FrankVelat on Twitter.

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jdquick

Rather than take the time to appropriately address what was broken about the track (in terms of putting on a quality show), they instead decided to rub a little dirt on it.

Agree wholeheartedly. Bristol used to be the most desired ticket in the sport and now they had to trick up the track just to sell tickets. After the repave, the track was pathetic. Instead of fixing what they broke, they tricked up the race and for what? To sell tickets to a novelty. But then that is NASCAR, if it don’t work right trick it up and make people think it works. Anyone look at the ratings lately and the owner’s boycotting the quarterly meeting with NASCAR? The sport is in trouble….

Dawg

The temporary dirt track is a gimmick, & people tire of gimmicks rather quickly.

Witness the Clash at the Coliseum, this year there were a plethora of empty seats. If they go back for a third time the new will have worn off, & there will probably more empty than full.

The overwatering gave it a bad start last year. it’s an open-air track so a little dust would be preferable if they don’t hit the balance.

Actually, after it got run in the racing was better than I expected, but still, it’s just a very expensive Band-Aid.

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