According to a statement made by Bristol Motor Speedway president Jerry Caldwell, the track will prepare to host a third year of NASCAR dirt racing in the spring of 2023.
Bristol Motor Speedway’s dirt adventure will continue for another season after another exciting weekend. Jerry Caldwell, president and general manager of the track, confirmed on Tuesday that the NASCAR Cup Series’ Food City Dirt Race will return in 2023.
The dirt weekend, which was introduced in 2021 for the Cup and Camping World Truck Series, has received mixed reviews from fans and the media, with critics claiming that the half-mile short track is too iconic with two asphalt rounds, and that NASCAR should visit an actual dirt track if it wanted to run such races.
Both editions were marred by strange circumstances: the 2021 weekend was plagued by rain before the Cup race, which saw double-file restarts shifted to a single line due to visibility issues as dirt kicked up into drivers’ windshields (itself a hot-button topic as dirt star and reigning Cup champion Kyle Larson denounced its use); the 2022 Cup race was plagued by rain, mud, and a scoring controversy.
“I’m so thankful for our owners, Bruton and Marcus Smith, for allowing our Bristol Motor Speedway team to put on an amazing Easter celebration and NASCAR race weekend that exceeded our expectations with strong ticket sales and primetime viewership on FOX,” Caldwell stated.
“Bristol Motor Speedway will prepare for a spring night race on dirt in 2023, giving the fans two great NASCAR shows on different surfaces. The dates for our NASCAR events will not be available until later this year.”
“To guarantee the best seats for more amazing dirt racing next year, guests may contact the ticket office or visit our website at BristolMotorSpeedway.com to renew their tickets today.”
Despite its flaws, both contests drew large crowds and received good television ratings. The parent CUP Series had 4.007 million views, the most at Bristol since 2016.
Saturday’s Truck race was the highest-viewed Bristol event in series history, while the parent CUP Series drew 4.007 million viewers, the most at Bristol since 2016. The Bristol Dirt Nationals, which features real dirt cars, has also been a big hit.
The Food City Dirt Race on Sunday finished in a spectacular conclusion when Chase Briscoe and Tyler Reddick collided while racing for the win, allowing Kyle Busch to win.
With four laps to remaining in the previous day’s Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt, Ben Rhodes passed Carson Hocevar for the win.
Caldwell’s announcement came after NASCAR chief operating officer Steve O’Donnell made complimentary comments about the event on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio earlier in the day and Fox Sports released excellent television ratings.
Officials are “certainly interested in continuing to look into soil,” O’Donnell said Tuesday morning. “I think the direction, as of today, would be surely to continue on dirt,” O’Donnell said. “Still dissecting what happened this weekend, what we can do, where we could be, be all in all, I think the direction, as of today, would be certainly to remain on dirt,” he added.
The race was up 28% over last year’s rain-delayed Bristol dirt race, which was contested in late March, according to Fox Sports. It had the greatest numbers for a spring race at Bristol since 2016, with 4,007,000 viewers. The audience peaked at 4,518,000 people.