Starting Line-Up Set for NASCAR Cup Series Bristol Dirt Race After Rain Cancels Qualifying

Published 03/28/2021, 8:00 AM EDT
Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


The NASCAR Cup Series weekend at the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track took the most ominous turn possible, on Saturday. After excessive rain and just a lap of Truck heat racing, NASCAR was forced to cancel the entire day’s action.

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This meant that the NASCAR Cup heat races were also scrapped. While the Cup race is scheduled to begin at 3.30 pm ET, the Truck race will be later in the night at 9 PM.

With the cancellation of qualifying races, NASCAR decided the starting line-up for the Cup Series’ Food City Dirt Race with the same formula which they have used since practice and qualifying was scrapped for most races last year.

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As per the new line-up, Kyle Larson will start at pole position for the dirt race, with Denny Hamlin on the front row alongside him. However, Larson is already slated to start at the rear after his team was forced to change the engine in his car. He will drop to the rear just before the green flag.

Mar 7, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) and driver Kyle Larson (5) lead the field for a restart during the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

How does the NASCAR Cup Series field line-up behind Larson and Hamlin?

Hamlin will not get a choice of lane, but he will be the control car in the outside lane for the start of the race. Following him in the line-up are Ryan Blaney, who won last weekend at Atlanta, and Kyle Busch. Kyle’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. completes the top-five.

Kevin Harvick and Alex Bowman follow them in the starting line-up on Sunday. William Byron, Austin Dillon, and Joey Logano round off the top-10. One of the favorites for the race, Christopher Bell starts in 15th place, while Chase Elliott starts 26th.

Blaney and Bowman were the fastest in the two practice sessions on Friday. Meanwhile, Byron won the iRacing race earlier in the week, which gave the drivers a good look at the revamped track.

The weather at Bristol will be in focus on Sunday

All eyes will be on the weather for Sunday’s racing action in Bristol. Rain is in the forecast for Sunday as well, which could be a big problem for the track authorities.

Any spell of rain closer to the race times on Sunday could further delay the much-awaited race. Since this is the first time racing on the dirt track at Bristol, the officials would need even more time than usual to get the track ready for racing.

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Whenever the race starts, the Cup Series field will be motivated to put on a good show on Sunday.

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DIVE DEEPER

Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman Issue Track Warning for NASCAR Bristol Dirt Race With Rain in Sight

about 1 month ago

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Aayush Majumdar

991 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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