By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Shell and Pennzoil sponsored driver Joey Logano has become the seventh different driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series event this season. He won the Food City Dirt Race on Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track in Bristol, Tennessee.
Due to inclement weather, the race was pushed back a day. Logano needed overtime to get the win in his No. 22 Team Penske entry.
The Connecticut native — who now resides in North Carolina — won the race in two hours and 43 minutes. He won the race by .554 seconds.
This was NASCAR’s first Cup Series race on dirt since 1970. During the race, NASCAR officials announced that the dirt will return for the 2022 race.
“Man, it’s incredible,” Logano said. “How about Bristol on dirt? This is an incredible, unbelievable racetrack — great job by everyone that prepped the track. Obviously, a lot of work over here the last few days. We did a lot of work in the dirt department here the last few weeks, my buddy Ryan Flores and my car chief Jerry Kelley doing a good job with the modified and just making laps and learning where I was going. A lot of that helped. Kevin Buskirk helped a lot, too.
He has a lot of knowledge — and obviously Paul Wolfe, this team. Great car, obviously, to be able to execute the race that we did and get a win. I was getting nervous. There was so many first-time winners and different winners (this season) than there have typically been. I said, ‘We’ve got to get a win to make sure we get in the playoffs,’ so it’s amazing to get this Shell/Pennzoil Mustang into Victory Lane at Bristol. There’s nothing like winning at Bristol, but putting dirt on it and being the first to do it is really special.”
Experienced dirt track racer Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second in his Kroger entry for JTG Daughtery Racing. When he’s not competing in NASCAR, he’ll return to dirt tracks and compete in Sprint Cars.
FedEx Freight sponsored driver Denny Hamlin was third.
Late in the race on lap 170, NASCAR officials had to go to a single-file restart. Drivers had a problem with visibility, as they had to deal with dust. There was just one lead change after that happened, which came in lap 192 when Logano got past Daniel Suarez.
“It was definitely a challenge,” Logano said in his post-race interview. “When they watered down the track the last stage, that kind of changed everything. Denny and I had a heck of a race because he found grip up top, and I was like, ‘Well, I don’t know how to do that,’ so I had to go up there and try to figure that out to defend the lead position then eventually just worked the lapped cars. That was very hard — as well as it should be. Everybody is racing to stay on the lead lap, so I was able to get through them as needed and of course, the late-race caution, but what an amazing team.
“Everyone at Team Penske really put together some really good cars to come here and wing it. That’s what this is about. Nobody really knew what to put in the car, and we were able to adjust the right away throughout practice and get into Victory Lane. It’s great.”
There was five lead changes. Also, there were 10 cautions for 39 laps.
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