Although weather eliminated several days of racing, the show must go on, even if it is a few days after the fact. A show it most definitely will be as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will race on the dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway Monday afternoon.
The allure of dirt racing will make its return to the truck series for the first time since the series raced at Eldora Speedway on Aug. 1, 2019. Racing through the dust and finding the grooves at Bristol, however, will bring a new flavor to the racing style that will only continue to diversify the potential playoff field this season.
John Hunter Nemechek will start on the pole. The 23-year-old for Kyle Busch Motorsports has been the most dominant truck driver through the early going of the 2021 campaign as the No. 4 Toyota has one win, three top-five finishes and four top-10 finishes in four races so far this season. Nemechek’s 204 season points, five stage wins and 143 laps led lead the field. In five dirt races in the truck series (all at Eldora), Nemechek has finished inside the top 10 in four of them.
Stewart Friesen, the last driver to win a Truck Series dirt race, (Aug. 1, 2019) will start seventh. The 37-year-old for Halmar Friesen Racing is currently fifth in season points (122). In four career dirt races in the truck series, Friesen has finished inside the top three in three of them. In fact, all three of those races came during back-to-back-to-back seasons (second in 2017, third in 2018 and first in 2019).
Ben Rhodes, who already has two victories to his name this season, will start ninth. In four career dirt races at Eldora, Rhodes has an average finish of 24.0, despite possessing an average start of 5.5. Despite the poor road performance, Rhodes is riding a hot streak – dating back to last season, Rhodes has finished inside the top 10 in five of his past six races (he finished 16th at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend).
Six full-time divers in the Cup Series will take part in the race (Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Bubba Wallace and Chase Briscoe). Of the six, Truex will start the highest (15th), while Briscoe will start the lowest (33rd).
While the truck field is definitely ripe with storylines, Jessica Friesen and Ryan Newman will be two storylines that will not play out Sunday, as both failed to qualify for the race due to the heat race cancellations.
Stage lengths for the race will be 40-50-60. The race is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. EST. Coverage will take place on FS1.
Goodyear tire notes: https://www.jayski.com/2021/03/23/goodyear-fast-facts-bristol-dirt/