NASCAR Legend Richard Petty Speaks About the 2021 Bristol Dirt Race

Published 02/04/2021, 12:35 PM EST
DAYTONA BEACH, FL: Nascar driver Richard Petty in this portrait sitting next to the STP #43 car before the Nascar Winston Cup Daytona 500 race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, FL. Petty finished 3rd in the race. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)


One of the most anticipated events on the 2021 NASCAR calendar is the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track. In all honesty, this is a brand new experience for the drivers, as nobody has raced these cars on dirt. Recently, NASCAR legend, Richard Petty spoke about the upcoming race and he was in two minds about it.

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He said, “From a PR standpoint, it’s great. From a logical standpoint, you’re going backwards. We worked for 70 years to get away from the dirt track.

“Get away from bootlegging, get away from all that stuff. Why are you going back to it, man? Why would you spend millions and millions of dollars to put dirt on the same track, clean up all the dust and stuff when it’s all over with…”

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DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 20, 1983:Nascar Driver Richard Petty in action in the STP #43 car during the Nascar Winston Cup Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, FL. Petty finished 38th in the race. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

According to the living legend, the whole process of cleaning up the track after the race is difficult. In all honesty, Richard Petty is ‘shocked‘ that the sport is supposedly going backwards.

Despite this, he is still going to enjoy the race, even though he does not understand the move.

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Why is Richard Petty apprehensive of the move?

The 7-time Cup Series champion is under the impression that this dirt race is just a one-off. In other words, this kind of event will only happen this year and may not happen again in the long run.

He believes that it will not be worth the effort to add the dirt to the track, only to remove it again when the race is over. Of course, nobody knows if this dirt race will ever return.

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Obviously, all these questions can only be answered once the 2021 edition of the race concludes. Only then can NASCAR take a call on whether to extend their deal, depending on how well the event is received by fans. And with what Petty has to say, it’s not looking too promising.

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Dhruv George

12013 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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