BRISTOL, Tenn – NASCAR’s hyped return to the dirt is instead a muddy mess that’s on hold until at least Monday

Heavy rains flooded campgrounds and parking lots around Bristol Motor Speedway, causing a far deeper rut for NASCAR than anything the Cup Series drivers experienced on the track

NASCAR has canceled all Sunday activities because even if Bristol’s rebuilt dirt road could be prepared for night races at some point, the entire facility was a swampy mess Dust-covered grandstand seats were baked in mud while the pit lane and apron were around 0 The 533 -Mile bullring contained several inches of stagnant water

After 2½ inches of rain fell over Thunder Valley, NASCAR made an atypical decision to require an early washout. The first ever race of the Cup series on clay since 1970 was postponed to 4pm Monday; The trucks should leave at noon

Stewart successfully hosted seven Truck Series races on his Eldora Speedway dirt track in Ohio, but when Fox asked NASCAR to add a dirt event to the Cup schedule, the date went to the bullring in Bristol instead refused to bring the trucks back to Eldora this year in spite of himself, and sat back and watched from afar as Bristol attempted the challenges of a dirt race

He was openly angry that a bad show in Bristol would damage the future of NASCAR dirt racing – and NASCAR itself seemed to admit that that was a legitimate concern

“We need this show to be great,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, on Saturday

Stewart, who has insisted that Eldora can successfully host the Cup series, declined to say much on Sunday when he was reached by The Associated Press

To do justice to Bristol’s parent company, Speedway Motorsports, the CEO wasn’t afraid to take risks and spend significant money to bring new energy to the sport. Marcus Smith turned the centerpiece of Charlotte Motor Speedway into a hybrid -Oval and street course “Roval” which has become one of the most popular events in the NASCAR program in three years IMSA sports cars were added last season to enhance the weekend experience

So Smith was all in on offering Bristol for the dirt cup experiment, and his staff spent six months building the concrete oval at age 2300 truckloads of red Tennessee clay to be converted The track was ready in time to host the Bristol Dirt Nationals a week ago when Super Late Models, Sport Mods, Modifieds and 602 Late Models drove largely without problems

Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon competed, and NASCAR leaned on both of them for advice this strange weekend

Problems surfaced Friday when the Cup and trucks were holding their training sessions The dust kicking up from the dirt was thick, but the main concern was the durability of the tires provided by Goodyear Drivers reported significant wear and tear on the cables of their tires, and the 3,400-pound production cars ripped open the road surface

NASCAR improved procedures in the race to allow extra time for track preparation and gave teams an extra set of tires for the race When the rain stopped on Saturday, the trucks were sent out to start races, but it only lasted one lap until the rain-soaked track splattered the windshields with a thick layer of mud and caked the front grilles together – which put every competitor in a dazzling situation with the fear of an overheated engine

Larson felt that track conditions early in the races would have produced the best dirt racing NASCAR had ever seen, but the cars hadn’t been converted for the event

“If dirt racing became a thing, we could develop a tire that could handle the loads on a track like Bristol and that kind of dirt They could stay together and have good races, “said Larson on Sunday

“And if dirt racing is one thing, maybe we should come up with something that doesn’t run with windshields and we can switch the coolers so we can race in Saturday’s conditions””

A week earlier, Larson hosted a track preparation feedback session during a drivers meeting at the Dirt Nationals As one of the best dirt racers in the country, he is one of the most knowledgeable on-site and ready to advise both NASCAR and NASCAR the track staff,

“Now that Smoke isn’t here, I’m the guy who probably has the most experience,” Larson said. “A lot of the people at NASCAR don’t have a lot of experience with dirt, and that might apply to a lot of people who are even on work the route “

He thought the Dirt Nationals were going well and Bristol had done a great job rebuilding the track

“I don’t think Bristol did anything wrong I know it looks bad with the dust from Friday practice,” said Larson. “But I really think it matters that our cars 1000 pounds heavier than anything we’ve run here this past weekend, and our tires are narrow and tough – that’s just a recipe for how this ended up “

Larson hasn’t given up that Monday’s scheduled race is still a decent show, and he wants critics to give Bristol a break

“Eldora has races all year round and the weather is usually good when they host these events,” said Larson. “This is a makeshift track in the mountains and it always rains in spring

“People need to understand that dirt racing isn’t like that, and I think they need to try to understand how hard it is to make that happen”I don’t think it’s a black eye on Bristol or Dirt for Cup Sure, there are plenty of other dirt roads we can run on that have really good dirt and a great track prep crew that knows the track, however a lot of work has gone into making this possible and I still think it can be a great event because Bristol was great last week “

Bristol Dirt Race, Bristol Motor Speedway

World news – USA – Heavy rains postpone the Bristol Dirt Race to Monday