The winner of Monday’s NASCAR Cup Series dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway had to survive a two-lap overtime sprint to the checkered flag.
Joey Logano drove away for the win on the final restart of the rain-delayed Food City Dirt Race. Logano first put away Denny Hamlin, who lost a lot of ground as he tried to pass Logano from the high lane, and then held off a late challenge by a closing Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
The extra laps capped a chaotic race that was marked by tire wear, poor visibility and multiple wrecks on restarts. The crashes prompted NASCAR to switch to single-file restarts in Stage 2.
Despite all of that, NASCAR announced before the end of the race that it would run another dirt race at Bristol in spring 2022. Prior to this year, NASCAR’s top national series last raced on dirt in 1970.
Below is more about Logano’s win, plus the complete results of Monday’s race.
Who won the NASCAR race yesterday?
Joey Logano became the seventh winner in the first seven races of the NASCAR Cup Series 2021 season. He joins Michael McDowell, Christopher Bell, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney in that group. All seven automatically qualify for NASCAR’s playoffs.
“Nothing like winning at Bristol, but putting dirt on it and being the first to do it is really special,” Logano told Fox Sports’ Jamie Little in his on-track postrace interview.
Logano was getting ready to put away Hamlin for the win when Mike Marlar cut a tire with four laps to go, forcing the overtime. Because of the change to single-file restarts, Hamlin restarted behind Logano instead of next to him. Rather than trying to bump and run, Hamlin went high while Logano stayed low, and it cost him.
Hamlin said in his pn-track interview that he “cut the 22 (Logano) too many breaks” while Logano was “cutting us off” in the final stage .
“He’s doing what he has to do to protect the lead and I’m trying to get it from him,” Hamlin said later in his postrace Zoom call with media (per Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass). “I just wasn’t aggressive enough. I should have just kind of shoved him out of the . . . when I had position on the bottom I should have just moved up and got him in the dust and got rid of him. But I wanted to pass him clean, and I didn’t, and so I didn’t win.”
Truex dominated the first half of the 250-lap race after winning the Truck Series race earlier in the afternoon. He won Stage 1 but lost the lead in Stage 2 and never recaptured it. Logano went on to win Stage 2.
NASCAR results from Bristol
Logano, Stenhouse and Hamlin finished 1-2-3. The third was Hamlin’s sixth top-five finish in seven races. The rest of the top 10: Daniel Suarez, Ryan Newman, Byron, Tyler Reddick, Blaney, Erik Jones and Chase Elliott.
Truex finished 19th after cutting a tire on the final restart.
The Cup Series will now take a week off for Easter and then return on April 10 for more short-track racing at Martinsville (7:30 p.m.; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
NASCAR at Bristol results
|2||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|
|19||Martin Truex Jr.|