Denny Hamlin Highlights Areas of Improvement on Bristol Dirt Track Ahead of NASCAR Cup Race in 2022

Published 04/04/2021, 8:15 AM EDT
Mar 29, 2021; Bristol, TN, USA; General view during the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports


Midway through the Cup series Bristol dirt race, NASCAR announced that the dirt race would return to the venue in 2022. The first experience of hosting a dirt race at Bristol was a positive one as most of the drivers were happy with the overall product. To make it even better, Denny Hamlin has a few suggestions.

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A few hiccups were expected as NASCAR Cup Series returned to dirt racing after 50 years. Probably the biggest thing that drivers suffered from was the dust factor which severely impacted visibility.

While Hamlin believes the regular dirt drivers will provide better inputs, he raised the dust issue and also felt that single-file restarts implemented during Stage 2 were a bit of a problem.

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Mar 29, 2021; Bristol, TN, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) and driver Joey Logano (22) during the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Denny Hamlin gives useful advice to improve dirt track conditions

“The dust hindered the ability — the single-file racing as much as anything. You could not get out of the groove or else you were just running on dust,” Hamlin said on the same.

Hamlin hopes the officials will work on certain solutions that ensure there is not so much dust flying around, ahead of the 2022 race. Be it a different type of dirt that produces less dirt or racing in the night, or anything else, Hamlin feels the dust factor has to be worked upon.

Most of the wrecks were also a result of excessive dust.

At the same time, he felt the racing, in general, was really good. The Joe Gibbs Racing superstar was reminded of the ‘old Bristol’.

“If you got out of the lane, you got shuffled. That part of it was really encouraging. For fans’ sake, for visibility of the drivers’ sake, I think a lot of the wrecks happened because of the dust and we couldn’t see anything. Just that part,” Hamlin continued.

What issues will the NASCAR Next Gen car face on dirt?

The 2022 race will still be very different as drivers will run the Next Gen car on dirt. During this year’s race, several holes were formed on the track, and Hamlin raised doubts about the Next Gen car’s ability to withstand those deep holes.

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I don’t know, these holes, somebody better get a tape measure. Some of them are at least like a foot deep. They are super deep. I don’t know if that new car can stand that,” the 23XI Racing co-owner expressed.

Mar 29, 2021; Bristol, TN, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) leads the first lap during the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

All in all, Hamlin and other drivers declared the dirt race a success. Such inputs on making the track conditions better will also go a long way in helping the NASCAR officials to prepare a better product for 2022.

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Aayush Majumdar

948 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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