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Joey Logano takes the checkered flag in a haze of Bristol dirt

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Somewhere underneath the thick purple haze floating over Bristol Motor Speedway, Joey Logano took the checkered flag for NASCAR’s first Cup Series race at a dirt observe in 50 years.

He couldn’t see a lot — visibility was subsequent to nothing throughout this Monday mud storm — however Logano clung to the acquainted backside lane round the bullring to gather the checkered flag on this NASCAR experiment.

Logano bought a bounce on Denny Hamlin on the additional time restart to earn his third profession victory at Bristol. But this was not the Bristol of outdated, the observe had been coated with 2,300 truckloads of purple Tennessee clay in order that NASCAR may add a dirt observe to the Cup schedule for the first time since 1970.

“How about Bristol on dirt, guys! This is incredible,” Logano stated to the crowd, a decreased capability sellout of about 30,000 followers.

“There’s nothing like winning at Bristol, but putting it on dirt and being the first to do it is very special.”

Logano turned the seventh race winner by seven races this season and gave Team Penske back-to-back victories. Ryan Blaney gained in a Penske Ford final week.

The Logano victory closed a weekend of uncertainty and even some hysteria as NASCAR launched this drive by the dirt. It was broadcast accomplice Fox who wished a dirt race on the Cup schedule and Speedway Motorsports, looking for some new power at its beloved Bristol bullring, stated it will take the race.

So NASCAR awarded the experiment to Bristol, bypassing dozens of high quality established dirt tracks throughout the nation. The snub prolonged to Tony Stewart, who had efficiently hosted seven Truck Series races at his Eldora Speedway dirt observe in Ohio however stated was by no means thought-about for a Cup race.

Marcus Smith, the CEO of Speedway Motorsports, insisted concrete Bristol was as much as the problem and he advised The Associated Press he’d spent practically $2 million to make the dirt dream a actuality.

Smith was happy with the buzz generated by the occasion, whilst NASCAR huddled for options to excessive mud, poor tire sturdiness and shifting climate situations that made the buildup a muddy mess. When race day lastly arrived, torrential in a single day rains had flooded the Bristol grounds and NASCAR needed to postpone Sunday’s present by a day.

Through all the consternation, Smith remained optimistic and headed to the observe Monday morning satisfied this dirt venture was a success. The last product was a doubleheader — Martin Truex Jr. gained his first Truck Series race in 15 years to open the day — after which Logano closed the Cup race with the additional time victory.

Everyone appeared completely satisfied, and earlier than the race was even over, the observe introduced over the public tackle system that Bristol would run on dirt once more subsequent season.

“It’s only my fourth dirt race ever, so I had a lot of fun trying to figure it out,” Logano stated. “I was having a blast racing, trying to find the right lanes, moving around.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., a veteran dirt racer, was second for his highest end of the season. Hamlin, who had final raced on dirt in go-karts when he was 8, completed third.

Daniel Suarez was a season-best fourth for brand new staff Trackhouse Racing, which is part-owned by Pitbull. Suarez’s first drive on dirt got here in Friday follow and he caught on so rapidly that he led his first laps of the season — 58 of them in all — and even bumped Logano out of his technique to take over the level.

But Logano took over with 61 laps remaining and wasn’t challenged till the last restart when the race went to a two-lap additional time.

It was inconceivable to handicap this primary dirt race as a result of the groups had no concept easy methods to put together and the drivers had wildly various expertise. Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell, two of the high dirt racers in the nation, have been the favorites and the race might need gone in another way had the two not crashed with one another 54 laps into the race.

Seven of the Cup regulars entered the Truck Series race simply to get some observe time on an unknown floor, a determination that purchased them two further follow periods in addition to Monday’s earlier race. Truex, a dirt novice, dominated the subject to win the vans and led a race-high 126 of the 253 laps.

Suarez was the different benefactor of including the truck to his schedule with a breakthrough end for his model new staff. Of the so-called dirt specialists, it was Stenhouse with a quiet runner-up end who delivered.

Ryan Newman, who in the previous few years started racing a bit on dirt with some regularity, completed a season-high fifth.

There had been critical pre-race concern that the 3,400-pound Cup automobiles have been too heavy for the Goodyear tires on the dirt floor. The mixture on Friday, in addition to kicking up critical dirt, triggered the tires to put on to the cords whereas deep ruts developed on the observe.

The rain that washed out Sunday racing additionally washed away a lot of the issues, and an all-nighter by the Bristol observe prep crew had the floor able to go for the doubleheader. It wasn’t excellent and the mud was an absolute visibility hazard for the drivers, a lot in order that halfway by the race NASCAR ordered all restarts could be single-file to mitigate the sudden burst of airborne dirt.

“You can’t see. That’s honestly the biggest problem,” Aric Almirola stated after he was hit by a number of automobiles in an early wreck. “In dirt racing you don’t have a windshield in front of you, so you can pull a tearoff. We can’t reach out there and pull a tearoff off our windshield, so you can’t see anything. Everybody just comes piling in because you can’t see.”

UP NEXT

NASCAR is off for Easter and the Cup Series resumes Saturday night time April 10 underneath the lights at Martinsville Speedway. Martin Truex Jr. is the defending race winner.

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