Sunday, Jun 04

Ford Performance - Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Advance

Bristol Motor Speedway will be transformed this weekend into a dirt track for the third consecutive year as the NASCAR Cup and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers compete in a pair of scheduled night races. Joey Logano won the inaugural event in 2021 while Ben Rhodes is looking to repeat his Truck win from a year ago.

 
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Chase Briscoe:  “I feel like a dirt race is something we definitely need in the Cup Series.  Every Cup driver in the field was either a short track driver, road course guy or a dirt track guy growing up.  We ran every other type of discipline up until Bristol started this a couple of years ago and it’s something I feel like we need to do every year.  I think they’ve done a phenomenal job as far as getting the track prepared and allowing us to put on a good race.  Hopefully, we can do it again this year.”

Harrison Burton: “I’ve gone there since I was a little kid and for me it was always concrete, so it’s weird to go there and have dirt all over it. We leave and then when we come back for the second race it’s all clean. You would expect there to be dirt everywhere because they put thousands of pounds of dirt on the track, but somehow it all disappears. I don’t really know how they do it, but they do a good job of it.”

Todd Gilliland: “I think seeing it for the first time was the biggest shock in the world.  You can see pictures, but walking in there is just way different.  To me, the whole weekend feels completely different, but I love dirt racing.  It’s super fun to get out there and gas it and sling some dirt and go sideways.  I’ve had a lot of fun with it over the last couple of years.”

 

FORD’S DIRT HISTORY IN CUP

Ford has 101 all-time dirt wins by 30 different drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series from 1955-1969 and 2021-Present.  NASCAR Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett, who is Ford’s all-time leader in Cup wins with 43, also holds the record for most dirt wins for the manufacturer with 26.  Fellow Hall of Famers Junior Johnson and Fireball Roberts are next on the list with 11 and 10 wins, respectively.

 

LOGANO TAKES INAUGURAL BRISTOL DIRT RACE

The first NASCAR Cup Series race on dirt in a half-century had to wait an extra day due to rain, and then endured an overtime session, before Joey Logano finally came away with the historic victory at Bristol Motor Speedway.  Logano led 61 of the 253 laps in the Food City Dirt Race, driving his Mustang to a .554-second margin of victory in NASCAR’s first race on dirt since 1970.  Logano took charge on lap 193, taking the lead away from Daniel Suarez who had just gotten past early race dominator Martin Truex Jr.  Logano went on to win Stage 2 and then stayed in front the rest of the way, leading the final 61 laps for his first win of the season and third at Bristol.

SPEEDY THOMPSON CLAIMS FORD’S FIRST DIRT VICTORY

Ford’s first win on dirt in what is now known as the NASCAR Cup Series came on Oct. 9, 1955 when Speedy Thompson won a 250-lap feature on the 1.5-mile Memphis-Arkansas Speedway in LeHi, Arkansas.  Thompson, driving a 1955 Ford, started 10th before he eventually passed leader Tim Flock on lap 43 and never gave it up.  He led the final 158 circuits as he and Marvin Panch were the only two drivers to end up on the lead lap, giving Ford a one-two finish and its first victory in the Grand National Series since Shirtless Jimmy Florian won the manufacturer’s first race in 1950.

 

RHODES LOOKING TO REPEAT

As mentioned above, Ben Rhodes will be trying for a Bristol Dirt repeat after taking the checkered flag in last year’s event.  Rhodes led two times for a race-high 95 laps and was especially strong at the start, as he topped the field for the first 91 laps before pitting during the Stage 2 break.  He was forced to drive through the field after beginning the final stage in 13th place, but did so with four laps to go when he passed Carson Hocevar to secure the victory.

 

MAJESKI CLAIMS POINTS LEAD

FOR FIRST TIME

Four of the top-five spots belong to Ford after five races. Ty Majeski, coming off back-to-back top-five finishes at Circuit of The Americas and Texas Motor Speedway, now holds the top-spot for the first time in his career (206). Majeski has not been lower than third all season and has scored at least 40 points in all five races to date. Zane Smith (203) and Ben Rhodes (194) continue to battle at the top of the rankings in second and third, with Matt Crafton rounding out the top-five (155).

 
 

BRISCOE, GILLILAND ALSO WINNERS ON NASCAR DIRT

Chase Briscoe knows what it’s like to go to victory lane in one of NASCAR’s top three touring series on dirt. He won the Eldora Dirt Derby in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2018, edging Grant Enfinger at the finish line following a side-by-side battle to the final lap. In all, Briscoe made three NCTS starts at Eldora and finished in the top 10 each time – 3rd in 2017, 1st in 2018 and 7th in 2019.  In last year’s Bristol Dirt Race, Briscoe finished 20th, but was in contention for the win until getting involved in an accident with Tyler Reddick while battling for the lead on the final lap.

 

Todd Gilliland also doubled down on Ford’s dirt track success in 2022, leading 58 of the 150 laps en route to victory at the half-mile, dirt racing gem of Knoxville Raceway. Ford was able to place two additional drivers in the top-five that weekend, which included third and fourth place finishes by Ty Majeski and Zane Smith, respectively.

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