In years past, NASCAR did not race on Easter Sunday, it was a day for the crews and drivers to be with their families.  But this year, the Cup Series returns to Thunder Valley and Bristol Motor Speedway for some dirt racing.

After some issues with the track last year, NASCAR chose to run the race under the lights to help keep the sun from drying out the field and stirring up the dust.

In preparation for the race, track officials layered sawdust, dirt, and clay on the concrete track that includes a banking and over seven feet of layers on the track.

A dirt race requires a different set of rules when it comes to qualifying for the race.  The drivers have been divided into four groups for heat racing.  The groups were selected by a random draw.  Each heat race is 15 laps of green flag racing.  The starting order will be determined by finishing position and points earned from passing.  A driver will earn one point for each car he passes above where he started.

Pit road procedures are also a bit different for dirt races.  Crews may fuel a car or change tires – unless one is flat and NASCAR  approves – during stage breaks.  The cars are being crewed by the team engineers and mechanics; as a result, the pit procedure is called a non-competitive stop.  Teams have three minutes to work on the cars and there is no race off of pit road for position.

Joining Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer in the FOX broadcast booth this weekend is NASCAR Hall of Fame legend Darrell Waltrip!

A past master at Bristol – 12 wins, Darrell Waltrip calls Bristol, “the toughest, meanest, badest short track in the country.”

The heat one starting lineup is:
Todd Gilliland
Ross Chastain
Brad Keselowski
Tyler Reddick
Alex Bowman
Ryan Blaney
Martin Truex Jr
Corey LaJoie
Cole Custer

Todd Gilliland brings the field down for the green flag start of heat number one form the inside lane.  Ross Chastain gets out in front from the outside lane to take the lead.

Lap two, Ross Chastain has the lead with Tyler Reddick in second; Todd Gilliland, Brad Keselowski, and Alex Bowman round out the top five.  Cole Custer, Ryan Blaney, Corey LaJoie, and Martin Truex Jr. round out the rest of the field.

Lap four, Tyler Reddick passes Ross Chastain for the lead. 

Lap eight, Tyler Reddick has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Ross Chastain; Todd Gilliland, Brad Keselowski, and Cole Custer round out the top five.

Lap nine, Ryan Blaney spins out and brings out the caution flag.  Caution flag laps do not count.

Tyler Reddick brings the field down for the green flag restart from the outside lane. Reddick jumps out in front for the lead with Cole Custer taking second; Alex Bowman, Todd Gilliland, and Ross Chastain round out the top five.

Lap 10, Ross Chastain takes fourth form Todd Gilliland.

With a lead of over a second and a half, Tyler Reddick wins the heat.

Heat one results:
Tyler Reddick
Cole Custer
Alex Bowman
Brad Keselowski
Todd Gilliland
Ryan Blaney
Corey LaJoie
Martin Truex Jr.
Ross Chastain

Cole Custer earned a total of 16 points after starting the heat in ninth place and finishing in second.


The lineup for heat number two:
Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
Michael McDowell
Justin Allgaier
Christopher Bell
Josh Williams
Chase Briscoe
Erik Jones
Daniel Suarez

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag start of heat number two from the inside lane with Kyle Busch on the outside.  Kyle Busch gets out in front for the lead with Kevin Harvick in second; Chase Briscoe, Michael McDowell, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.  Daniel Suarez, Justin Allgaier, Josh William, and Erik Jones round out the field.  With the Xfinity Series off this weekend, Justin Allgaier comes over for  a one off race.

Daniel Suarez brings out the caution flag on lap five when he spins out.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart from the outside lane with Christopher Bell on the inside.  Kyle Busch edges out in front but Christopher Bell comes alongside to battle for the lead.

Kyle Busch finally gets out in front on lap seven with Christopher Bell in second; Chase Briscoe, Michael McDowell, and Erik Jones round out the top five.

Lap nine, Christopher Bell gets around Kyle Busch for the lead.

With three laps to go, Kyle Busch is staying close to leader Christopher Bell’s bumper.

Christopher Bell wins heat number two.

Heat two results:
Christopher Bell
Kyle Busch
Chase Briscoe
Michael McDowell
Erik Jones
Justin Allgaier
Daniel Suarez
Kevin Harvick
Josh Williams



The lineup for heat number three:
Joey Logano
Justin Haley
JJ Yeley
Chris Buescher
Denny Hamlin
Kurt Busch
Bubba Wallace
Austin Dillon
Noah Gragson

After winning the pole for the Truck Series race, Joey Logano sits on the pole of heat number three and brings the field down for the green flag start from the inside lane with Justin Haley alongside.  Justin Haley jumps out in front for the lead.

Justin Haley leads the race with Joey Logano in second;Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, and JJ Yeley round out the top five.  Bubba Wallace, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, and Noah Gragson round out the field.

Lap three, Justin Haley has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Joey Logano.

Lap seven, Bubba Wallace enters the top five after passing JJ Yeley.

Six to go, Justin Haley has a second and a half lead on Joey Logano; Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, and Bubba Wallace round out the top five.

Leading every lap, Justin Haley wins the heat with a lead of nearly two and a half seconds.

Heat three results:
Justin Haley
Joey Logano
Chris Buescher
Kurt Busch
Austin Dillon
Bubba Wallace
JJ Yeley
Noah Gragson
Denny Hamlin


The lineup for heat number four:
Chase Elliott
Ty Dillon
Aric Almirola
William Byron
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Kyle Larson
Austin Cindric
Cody Ware
Harrison Burton

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag start of the final heat from the inside lane with Ty Dillon on the outside.  Ty Dillon edges out Chase Elliott for the lead.

Ty Dillon leads the race with Chase Elliott in second; Ricky Stenhouse Jr, William Byron, and Kyle Larson round out the top five.  Austin Cindric, Cody Ware, Aric Almirola, and Harrison Burton round out the field.

Lap three, Ty Dillon has a lead of nearly a second on Chase Elliott.

Lap eight, Kyle Larson passes Ricky Stenhouse Jr for third.  Chase Elliott has caught up to leader Ty Dillon.

Ty Dillon wins heat number four after leading every lap.

Heat four results:
Ty Dillon
Chse Elliott
Kyle Larson
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
William Byron
Austin Cindric
Harrison Burton
Aric Almirola
Cody Ware.

After earning a total of 16 points, Cole Custer sits on the pole and will bring the field to the green flag.  This is Custer’s first Cup Series pole.

The starting lineup for the Food City Bristol Dirt Race:
Cole Custer
Christopher Bell
Tyler Reddick
Chase Briscoe
Kyle Larson
Justin Haley
Ty Dillon
Alex Bowman
Chase Elliott
Joey Logano
Kyle Busch
Austin Dillon
Kurt Busch
Erik Jones
Chris Buescher
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
William Byron
Austin Cindric
Daniel Suarez
Bubba Wallace
Todd Gilliland
Harrison Burton
Ryan Blaney
Corey LaJoie
Justin Allgaier
Noah Gragson
JJ Yeley
Martin Truex Jr
Aric Almirola
Kevn Harvick
Ross Chastain
Denny Hamlin
Cody Ware
Josh Williams

A 250 lap race, stages one and two of the race are 75 laps each with stage three lasting 100 laps.

And just when Bristol officials get the track just right…there is some weather in the area.

And with a “Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing boys” form Darrell Waltrip, Cole Custer brings the field down for the green flag start of the race.  Chase Briscoe gets out in front to lead lap one.

Lap three, Chas eBriscoe leads the race with Christopher Bell in second; Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, and Kyle Larson round out the top five.


Lap six, Christopher Bell is on Chase Briscoe’s bumper and looking to take the lead.

Lap eight, Chase Briscoe has a lead of only two tenths of a second on Christopher Bell but third place driver Tyler Reddick is over two seconds back; Kyle Larson and Ty Dillon round out the top five.

Dirt has already accumulated on some of the cars causing some of them to report temperature issues.

Lap 12, Cole Custer comes down pit road to get his grille cleaned off.

Lap 13, the c aution flag comes out so that the drivers can come down pit road to clean their grilles.  NASCAR has called all of the drivers down pit road to clean the grilles.

Kevin Harvick said that his goal was to stay on the lead lap at least through stage one, he has just gone one lap down.

Since the first sanctioned NASCAR dirt race in 1949, there have been a total of 490 dirt track races in NASCAR.

With 35 cars on the lead lap, Chase Briscoe brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 26 from the outside lane.  Briscoe jumps out in front for the lead with Kyle Larson in second; Ty Dillon, Christopher Bell, and Kyle Busch rounding out the top five.

Drivers are getting three wide across the track.

Lap 30, Chase Briscoe has the lead but Kyle Larson is on his bumper and challenging for the lead; Ty Dillon, Christopher Bell, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Lap 37, Chase Briscoe ahs a one second lead on Kyle Larson; Ty Dillon, Kyle Busch, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

Lap 45, fourth place driver Kyle Busch is the only driver in the top seven who does not have a dirst race background.

Lap 48, Chase Briscoe continues to lead the race and continues to lap slower cars.

Lap 49, Chase Briscoe brings out the caution flag when he spins out with a flat tire.  Kyle Larson is the new leader.  There are 32 cars on the lead lap.

Josh Williams is the “lucky dog”.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for  the green flag restart from the outside lane on lap 56.  Kyle Larson jumps out in front of Ty Dillon for the lead with Christopher Bell in third; Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch round out the top five. 

Lap 58, in just two laps, Kyle Larson has pulled out to a lead of over half a second on Ty Dillon.  Back n the field the drivers are getting three and four wide.

Lap 61, the top five are Kyle Larson, Ty Dillon, Christopher Bell, Austin Dillon, and Alex Bowman.  There are 33 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 67, Kyle Larson has a near one second lead on Ty Dillon; Christopher Bell, Austin Dillon, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Lap 71, Kyle Larson has increased his lead to a second and a half on Ty Dillon; Christopher Bell, Austin Dillon, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Just before the end of the stage, Justin Allgaier gets into the wall and brings out the caution flag.

Kyle Larson wins stage one under caution for his first stage win of the season.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Kyle Larson
Ty Dillon
Christopher Bell
Austin Dillon
Kyle Busch
Alex Bowman
Joey Logano
Tyler Reddick
Ryan Blaney
Ricky Stenhouse Jr

Trackhouse team mates Daniel Suarez and Ross Chastain; along with Chase Briscoe stayed out on the track and did not make a pit stop.

Kevin Harvick is the “lucky dog”.

Justin Allgaier has taken his car to the garage.

After staying out on the track, Daniel Suarez brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 76 with Ross Chastain alongside.  Suarez puts his purple Tootsie’s car out in front for the lead with Watermelon Man Ross Chastain in second.

Lap 77, Kyle Larson passes Ross Chastain for second.

Lap 78, the top five are Daniel Suarez, Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, and Chase Briscoe.

Lap 80, Kyle Busch passes Chase Briscoe for fifith.

Lap 83, Kyle Larson challenges Daniel Suarez for the lead; while Kyle Busch and Chase Briscoe continue to swap fifth place back and forth.

Lap 86, Daniel Suarez has the lead with Kyle Larson in second; Chase Briscoe, Ross Chastain, and Christopher Bell round out the top five.

Lap 90, Denny Hamlin is off the pace and is reporting some issues with his car.

The caution flag comes out on lap 92 when Alex Bowman spins out.

 Cole Custer is the “lucky dog”.

Daniel Suarez brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 97 and holds on to the lead with Ross Chastain in second; Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, and Chase Briscoe round out the top five.

A four car pile up brings out the caution flag involving Alex Bowman, Corey LaJoie, Austin Cindric, and Noah Gragson.  Kevin Harvick has some damage to his car as well.

Cody Ware is the “lucky dog”.

Denny Hamlin is out of his car with apparent engine issues.

Kevin Harvick has taken his car to the garage.

Chase Briscoe is reporting a sticky throttle.

Daniel Suarez brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 106 and edges ot team mate Ross Chastain for the lead.

Lap 107, Daniel Suarez has a very narrow lead on Ross Chastain; Kyle Busch, Christopher Bell, and Chase Briscoe round out the top five.

Denny Hamlin is off the track but Kevin Harvick and Justin Allgaier are out of the race.  Noah Gragson is the only driver on the track not on the lead lap and is six laps down.

Lap 111, Ross Chastain continues to battle Daniel Suarez for the lead of the race.

Lap 114, Brad Keselowski brings out the caution flag when he spins out after contact with Austin Dillon.  Keselowski barely misses Ryan Blaney when he spins out.

Noah Gragson gets one of his laps back.

Daniel Suarez brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 119 and edges out Christopher Bell for the lead but Bell continues to battle for the spot.

Lap 121, the top five are Daniel Suarez, Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, and Chase Briscoe.

Lap 125, halfway, the race is now official if bad weather arrives.

Daneil Suarez holds on to the lead with Christopher Bell in second; Kyle Larson, Chase Briscoe, and Kyle Busch round out the top five.

Lap 126, the caution flag comes out for debris on the track.

Aric Almirola is the “lucky dog”.

Daniel Suarez brings the field down for the green flag restart on la 132 but it is Chase Briscoe who comes up to battle with Suarez for the lead.

Corey LaJoie is again involved in an incident and brings out the caution flag on lap 134. 

The Easter Bunny is at the race.  Earlier he hid 5,000 eggs in the RV camping lot.

There are some sprinkles at the track.

Daniel Suarez brings the field down for the gren flag restart on lap 140 with Chase Briscoe alongside.  Drivers are three wide in a battle for the lead with Chase Briscoe getting out in front for the lead; Christopher Bell takes second with Daniel Suarez in third.

Lap 143, the top five are Chase Briscoe, Christopher Bell, Daniel Suarez, Chase Elliott, and Joey Logano.

Darrell Waltrip has longed been an avid believer in the “vortex theory” – where the heat generated by the cars keeps the bad weather at bay.  It has stopped raining at Bristol.

As they come to the final lap of stage two, Christopher Bell is making a charge for Chase Briscoe…and the lead.

Chase Briscoe wins stage two for his first Bristol stage win.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Chase Briscoe
Christopher Bell
Daniel Suarez
Chase Elliott
Kyle Busch
Kyle Larson
Joey Logano
Michael McDowell
Ryan Blaney
Tyler Reddick

Kyle Busch stayed out on the track; his crew chief noted that it will be close to the end of the race on fuel.

Noah Gragson was the “lucky dog” and got another one of his laps back.

There is some light rain at the track.

Cars are sliding all over the track.

NASCAR has brought the drivers down pit road – pit road is paved – and the red flag has been displayed at 8:47pm EDT.  Crews are covering the cars.

Under dirt track conditions, scoring is frozen at the end of the stage, no matter who pits, until the green flag waves for the beginning of the next stage.  Should the race get called for the weather, the order of the drivers at the end of stage two will also be the race results.

Ross Chastain reports that his engine is about blown up and is barely working.

After crews have worked on the track, NASCAR has called the drivers back to their cars at 9:36pm, nearly an hour after the red flag was displayed to stop the race for rain.

And the cars are moving once again at 9:48pm.

Ross Chastain’s car has started but sounds terrible.  He reported that some dirt had gotten into the engine.  He made it as far as turn four but cannot get any further.

After staying out on the track, Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three and the final 100 laps of the race.  Joey Logano is alongside.  Getting three wide, Tyler Reddick gets out in front for the lead.

Lap 151, Tyler Reddick leads the race with Joey Logano in second; Ryan Blaney, Austin Diloin and Brad Keselowski rounds out the top five.  Kyle Busch has dropped to seventh after getting loose on the track.

With 92 laps to go, Tyler Reddick has a lead of over half a second on Joey Logano; Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon, and Brad Keselowski rounds out the top five but the number 18 car of Kyle Busch is on Keslowski’s bumper challenging for the spot.

The caution flag comes out on lap 162 for some on track contact involving Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Cody Ware, Martin Truex Jr, Daniel Suarez, and Chase Elliott.

Noah Gragson is the “lucky dog”.

Tyler Reddick brings the field down for the green flag restart with 83 laps to go.  Reddick gets out in front for the lead with Austin Dillon in second; Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.  Drivers gets four wide back in the field.

Erik Jones brings out the eleventh caution flag of the race on lap 169.

Cody Ware is the “lucky dog”.

Martin Truex Jr is on pit road for some repairs.

Tyler Reddick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 175.  Tyler Reddick gets out in front of his team mate Austin Dillon for the lead.  Drivers are three wide across the track in a battle for position.

Joey Logano battles with Tyler Reddick for the lead with Austin Dillon right behind them.

Todd Gilliland spins out and brings out the caution flag for the twelfth time.  Noah Gragson is the “lucky dog” and gets another of his laps back.

Tyler Reddick brings the field down for the green flag restart with 67 laps remaining in the race.  Drivers are three wide across the track.  Kyle Busch comes up on the outside to take second place with Tyler Reddick in the lead.

Tyler Reddick leads the race with Kyle Busch on his bumper; Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Austin Dillon round out the top five.

Ross Chastain is out of the race.  Noah Gragson is the only car on the  track not on the lead lap – three laps down.

Brad Keselowski passes Joey Logano for third.

Sixty to go; Tyler Reddick leads the race but Kyle Busch is on his bumper just a tenth of a second back.

There are 31 cars on the lead lap.

Ryan Blaney and Chase Briscoe make contact but the track stays green.

Lap 198, Tyler Reddick has a third of a second lead on Kyle Busch; Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Austin Dillon round out the top five.

Austin Dillon gets loose and slides up the track giving Ryan Blaney fifth place with Chase Briscoe on his bumper.

Lap 202, Ricky Stenhouse Jr spins out and brings out the caution flag.

Noah Gragson is the “lucky dog” and is now only two laps down.

Martin Truex Jr is back on pit road for more repairs.

Tyler Reddick brings the field down for the green flag restart from the outside lane with Kyle Busch alongside on the inside lane on lap 160.  Drivers are three wide in a battle for position.  Tyler Reddick edges out Kyle Busch for the lead. 

The caution flag comes out when Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola get shoved up the track and into the wall after Austin Dillon falls back through the field.  Kurt Busch is on pit road for repairs.  Austin Dillon’s car is being pushed to the garage.  Austin Dillon reports that the engine blew up.

The rains have returned.  NASCAR has brought the drivers down pit road with 28 laps remaining in the race.

NASCAR has displayed the red flag to stop the race at 10:29pm for rain.

The drivers fire up the engines at 10:44pm and are moving again.

Tyler Reddick brings the field down for the green flag restart with just 25 laps remaining in the race with Kyle Busch alongside.  Getting a push from Chase Briscoe, Tyler Reddick takes the lead with Kyle Busch in second; Chase Briscoe, Joey Logano, and Christopher Bell rounding out the top five.

Chase Briscoe and Kyle Busch battle for second with Joey Logano right behind them.

Twenty to go, Tyler Reddick has a lead of over half a second on Chase Briscoe and Kyle Busch who continue to battle for second; Joey Logano and Kyle Larson round out the top five.

Chase Briscoe gets around Kyle Busch for second.  Joey Logano comes up to battle with Kyle Busch for third.

Now that he has second place, Chase Briscoe sets his sights on leader Tyler Reddick with just 16 laps remaining in the race.

There are just eleven laps remaining in the race and Chase Briscoe has pulled to within half a second of leader Tyler Reddick.

Seven to go, battles continue all through the field.  Chase Briscoe has closed the gap on Tyler Reddick to under half a second.

Five to go, Tyler Reddick continues to hold on to the lead with Chase Briscoe less than half a second behind; Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, and Kyle Larson round out the top five.

Three to go, leaders encounter traffic.

Tyler Reddick takes the white flat with Chase Briscoe on his bumper.

Chase Briscoe tries to pass Tyler Reddick and both drivers get loose and spin out.  Kyle Busch wins the race!  With this win, Kyle Busch has won at least one race in each of his 18 years in the Cup Series; he ties with Richard Petty for the record.  This is career race win number 60 for Busch.  Kyle Busch has now won nine races at Bristol but this is the first one on the dirt.

In his post race interview, Kyle Busch said that he felt like Dale Earnhardt Sr; adding that he didn’t do anything.

Chase Briscoe came up to Tyler Reddick and apologized for causing them to wreck.  Tyler Reddick noted that he felt that he didn’t do everything he should have.

The unofficial results of the Food City Race on Dirt:
Kyle Busch
Tyler Reddick
Joey Logano
Kyle Larson
Ryan Blaney
Alex Bowman
Christopher Bell
Chase Elliott
Michael McDowell
Ty Dillon
Brad Keselowski
Daniel Suarez
Cole Custer
Austin Cindric
Todd Gilliland
William Byron
Corey LaJoie
Harrison Burton
Martin Truex Jr
Chase Briscoe
Aric Almirola
Erik Jones
Josh Williams
Cody Ware
Noah Gragson
Bubba Wallace
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
JJ Yeley
Austin Dillon
Kurt Busch
Ross Chastain
Kevin Harvick
Denny Hamlin
Justin Allgaier