NASCAR Arrives at Bristol and the Dirt is Ready for Racing

Heat races set the field for the Cup and Truck series races. Joey Logano runs away with the Craftsman Truck Race.

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Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, TN — April 8, 2023

“It’s Bristol Baby,” and they are “Doing It In The Dirt.” The Food City Dirt Race comes to Bristol Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series and Craftsman Truck Series paying a visit to the “Last Great Colosseum.”

Rain washed out practice on Friday evening, so drivers were getting their first laps on the track during qualifying heats Saturday afternoon and evening. Despite the amount of rain that was dumped on the track, the racing surface is perfect. The Bristol track crew did a spectacular job in prepping the track for tonight’s activities.

Bristol Motor Speedway with a perfectly tailored dirt track over asphalt for the 2023 Food City Dirt Race / Lasco Press Photo

The Craftsman Trucks were first out for four 15-lap qualifying races.

Race One

Starting positions for both series were determined by a blind draw Friday. Stephan Parsons(20) started on the pole. But it was Ben Rhodes(99) who quickly moved out front to dominate the race. Hailie Deegan(13) moved from the sixth starting spot to second. Proving she could race her way around a dirt track. It was a one-two finish for Ford Performance.

Race Two

Stewart Friesen put on a similar performance in Heat Two. Starting fourth, Friesen(52) drove to the front and led every lap. There was a woman driver in this race as well. Friesen’s wife, Jessica Friesen(62). She placed ninth of ten drivers. Colby Howard(9) finished 10th after his truck broke on the first lap.

Race Three

The third Heat featured Cup Series drivers Joey Logano(66) and William Byron(51). Former Cup competitor, Matt DiBenedetto(25), was also in the race. However, it was Nick Sanchez(2) who led the first half of the race. Logano quickly moved to second from the fifth starting position and patiently waited for his opportunity to make a move on the leader.

Logano eventually made the pass and took the checkered flag. Ty Majeski(98) finished second in another Ford Performance one-two result. Sanchez held onto third, Byron and DiBenedetto ended up fifth and sixth, respectively.

Race Four

The best race of the early evening had Matt Crafton(88) and Rajah Caruth(24) nose to nose across the finish line. Caruth led six laps, and Crafton led nine. Including the one that counted the most. Crafton’s win gave Ford Performance three victories out of four heats. A good omen for tonight’s feature race, the Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt.

Lawless Alan(45), Josh Reaume(34), Jessica Friesen, Jerry Bohlman(46), and Andrew Gordon(47) failed to qualify for the main event.

Ford F-150s took eight of the top ten starting positions.

1st Zane Smith(38) Love’s/Speedco Ford

2nd Ty Majeski(98) Soda Sense Ford

3rd Kaden Honeycutt(04) CarQuest/Technet Ford

4th Joey Logano(66) Hang 10 Car Wash Ford

6th Hailie Deegan(13) Ford Performance Ford

7th Ben Rhodes(99) Campers Inn RV Ford

8th Matt Crafton(88) Great Lakes Flooring/Menards Ford

10th Chase Briscoe(22) Production Alliance Group Ford

The Cup Series cars and drivers were next on the track.

Heat One

Former teammates Austin Dillon(3) and Tyler Reddick(45) battled it out for the win in Heat One. Josh Berry(9), filling in for Chase Elliott, made an early run toward the front but spun out and ended up in the eighth position.

Points listed in the results are qualifying points. As there were four individual heats, each driver earned points based on where they finished in their heat. They were also awarded points for every position they advanced from the blind draw starting position in their heat.

2023 NASCAR Cup Series Food City Dirt Race Heat 1 Results – Bristol Motor Speedway
Finish Start Car # Driver Total Pts Laps Led
1 5 3 Austin Dillon 40 15 13
2 6 45 Tyler Reddick 35 15 0
3 8 20 Christopher Bell 34 15 0
4 2 48 Alex Bowman 33 15 1
5 1 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 32 15 1
6 4 31 Justin Haley 31 15 0
7 10 1 Ross Chastain 30 15 0
8 7 9 Josh Berry 0 15 0
9 9 6 Brad Keselowski 28 15 0
10 3 78 BJ McLeod 27 15 0

 

Heat Two

Ryan Blaney(12) led from start to finish. Chase Briscoe(14) gave Ford Performance another one-two finish on the night. William Byron(24) fared better in his Cup Heat than the Truck Heat run earlier, he took the third spot. Road racing specialist AJ Allmendinger(16) is not a dirt track specialist. Apparently, neither is Denny Hamlin(11). The pair finished seventh and eighth.

2023 NASCAR Cup Series Food City Dirt Race Heat 2 Results – Bristol Motor Speedway
Finish Start Car # Driver Total Pts Laps Led
1 1 12 Ryan Blaney 40 15 15
2 2 14 Chase Briscoe 35 15 0
3 5 24 William Byron 34 15 0
4 4 21 Harrison Burton 33 15 0
5 6 10 Aric Almirola 32 15 0
6 9 38 Todd Gilliland 31 15 0
7 3 16 AJ Allmendinger 30 15 0
8 8 11 Denny Hamlin 29 15 0
9 7 42 Noah Gragson 28 15 0

 

Heat Three

Michigan’s Erik Jones(43) started on the pole. But Kyle Larson(5) and Ryan Preece blew past on the start and drove away from the field. Larson led every lap, with Preece in second. Jones ended up fourth.

2023 NASCAR Cup Series Food City Dirt Race Heat 3 Results – Bristol Motor Speedway
Finish Start Car # Driver Total Pts Laps Led
1 6 5 Kyle Larson 40 15 15
2 5 41 Ryan Preece 35 15 0
3 9 15 JJ Yeley 0 15 0
4 1 43 Erik Jones 33 15 0
5 8 34 Michael McDowell 32 15 0
6 4 51 Matt Crafton 0 15 0
7 7 17 Chris Buescher 30 15 0
8 3 77 Ty Dillon 29 15 0
9 2 7 Corey Lajoie 28 15 0

 

Heat Four

Bubba Wallace(23) proved he knows dirt. Another start-to-finish performance gave Bubba the win easily. Last year’s dirt race winner, Kyle Busch(8), and Austin Cindric(2), put on a good battle for second, with Busch prevailing. Logano struggled in his Cup car after making it look easy in the Craftsman truck. He finished in the fifth position.

2023 NASCAR Cup Series Food City Dirt Race Heat 4 Results – Bristol Motor Speedway
FIN ST Car # Driver TOT PTS Laps Led
1 1 23 Bubba Wallace 40 15 15
2 6 8 Kyle Busch 35 15 0
3 7 2 Austin Cindric 34 15 0
4 2 13 Jonathan Davenport 33 15 0
5 8 22 Joey Logano 32 15 0
6 4 54 Ty Gibbs 31 15 0
7 5 19 Martin Truex Jr 30 15 0
8 9 4 Kevin Harvick 29 15 0
9 3 99 Daniel Suarez 28 15 0

 

Austin Cindric was more than excited with his third-place finish in Heat Four. “That’s the greatest I’ve ever been on dirt, I can tell you that much. I don’t know where it’s gonna go from here, but certainly happy with the effort in the heat race. The positive thing is I actually did everything on purpose. It didn’t just fall in my lap.”

“By no means is this an end result for the race, but it’s definitely a win for me to start the weekend coming in with a lot of things that I know I wanted to work on be better at from last year. It was fun to be able to hang it out and get a good finish.”

The Lineup for the 2023 Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway

Position Car # Driver
1 5 Kyle Larson
2 3 Austin Dillon
3 15 J.J. Yeley
4 20 Christopher Bell
5 8 Kyle Busch
6 45 Tyler Reddick
7 2 Austin Cindric
8 41 Ryan Preece
9 12 Ryan Blaney
10 24 William Byron
11 23 Bubba Wallace
12 22 Joey Logano
13 34 Michael McDowell
14 14 Chase Briscoe
15 38 Todd Gilliland
16 1 Ross Chastain
17 48 Alex Bowman
18 43 Erik Jones
19 10 Aric Almirola
20 21 Harrison Burton
21 13 Jonathan Davenport
22 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr
23 54 Ty Gibbs
24 51 Matt Crafton
25 31 Justin Haley
26 4 Kevin Harvick
27 19 Martin Truex Jr
28 17 Chris Buescher
29 16 A.J. Allmendinger
30 11 Denny Hamlin
31 9 Josh Berry
32 77 Ty Dillon
33 6 Brad Keselowski
34 99 Daniel Suarez
35 7 Corey Lajoie
36 42 Noah Gragson
37 78 B.J. McLeod

 

The Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt from Bristol Motor Speedway

Stage One

Joey Logano started on the front row and led every lap in Stage One except the first one. That honor went to Ty Majeski. The two Ford F-150s were the class of the field as they walked away on every restart resulting from two caution periods in the first 40 laps.

William Byron worked his way up to the third spot after a poor qualifying effort. Three trucks stayed out at the end of Stage One. Logano and Majeski will line up behind Matt DiBenedetto, Bret Holmes(32), and Tanner Gray(15) at the start of Stage Two.

Stage Two

Logano is making it look easy. He pulled out to a large advantage over Byron and Majeski, who are staging their own personal battle for second place. Everyone else is just along for the ride. Will the Final Stage provide any excitement to the runaway Logano is working on?

The Final Stage

Joey Logano knows dirt. He led 138 of 150 laps and was never in danger from any of the 35 other competitors. At every drop of the green flag, Logano’s Ford immediately separated itself from the pack.

He cruised out front all night. No one could ever get to his bumper. Will it help him tomorrow in the Cup Series? That remains to be seen. But tonight, Joey Logano picks up another sword, symbolic of victory in the Colosseum over every other gladiator.

Results of The Weather Guard Truck Race from Bristol Motor Speedway

POS CAR DRIVER DELTA LAPS
1 66 Joey Logano 150
2 98 Ty Majeski 1.241 150
3 51 William Byron 2.272 150
4 88 Matt Crafton 4.259 150
5 23 Grant Enfinger 5.230 150
6 35 Jake Garcia 5.495 150
7 22 Chase Briscoe 7.186 150
8 15 Tanner Gray 7.264 150
9 4 Kaden Honeycutt 7.498 150
10 25 Matt DiBenedetto 7.778 150
11 24 Rajah Carut 7.881 150
12 5 Dean Thompson 8.051 150
13 13 Hailie Deegan 8.289 150
14 7 Jonathan Davenport 8.934 150
15 11 Corey Heim 9.363 150
16 12 Spencer Boyd 9.826 150
17 42 Carson Hocevar 9.910 150
18 2 Nick Sanchez 10.220 150
19 99 Ben Rhodes 10.572 150
20 32 Bret Holme 11.252 150
21 38 Zane Smith 11.557 150
22 43 Daniel Dye 12.142 150
23 52 Stewart Friesen 12.832 150
24 6 Norm Benning 13.535 150
25 56 Timmy Hill -2 148
26 30 Tanner Carrick -3 147
27 9 Colby Howard -3 147
28 4 Chase Purdy -3 147
29 41 Tyler Carpenter -33 117
30 19 Christian Eckes -54 96
31 75 Parker Kligerman -65 85
32 2 Kris Wright -75 75
33 16 Tyler Ankrum -125 25
34 17 Taylor Gray -142 8
35 33 Mason Massey -143 7
36 20 Stefan Parsons -143 7