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The NASCAR Cup Series to Return to Dirt For the First Time Since 1970 in 2021 at Bristol

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The news we had all be anticipating became reality on Wednesday as NASCAR and Bristol Motor Speedway officially announced a massive change to the 0.533-mile speedway’s spring race for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Next year, the event will be a dirt race as dirt will be packed on top of the concrete surface of the Tennessee track.

The speedway made the announcement via a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Here is the press conference in its entirety:

The March 28th race will mark the first NASCAR Cup Series race held on dirt since the September, 1970 event at the North Carolina Fairgrounds Speedway, which was won by Richard Petty.

In recent years, the Eldora Dirt Derby in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series has been an event that fans have been quite receptive of, and BMS general manager Jerry Caldwell says the track took the fan input into consideration when deciding to run a dirt event at BMS.

“This really is response to fan feedback,” Caldwell said.

The night race at Bristol Motor Speedway in the fall will still be contested on the concrete surface of the track and Caldwell says there are no plans to resurface the track following the dirt race in March.

So, what will the format will the dirt race be? Will we see heat races or anything like a local dirt track series would run?

That is still to be determined.

Regardless of the eventual format, NASCAR and SMI have taken some bold steps for 2021 with their revamped schedule. The series will head to more road courses, less 1.5-mile speedways and we seem to have more short tracks coming on the horizon.

While some of the moves may be considered as confusing to fans, NASCAR is definitely pulling out all of the stops to try to shake up what had been a stale schedule for a very long time.

Next year we will be treated to new NASCAR Cup Series races at Circuit of the Americas, Road America, Nashville Superspeedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and now the dirt race at Bristol. There are still more official changes to the 2021 schedule to be announced on Wednesday, follow our live blog to catch all of the changes here:

Live Blog: NASCAR 2021 Schedule Release

Toby Christie View All

Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.

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