This is dirt, baby!
Next March is the slogan for the NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which will convert a half-mile oval to a dirt track, out of the many shakeups coming in the 2021 schedule.
Bristol covered its concrete in clay for the World of Outlaws and Support races in 2000 and 2001, but never for NASCAR’s top series.
The race will be the first Cup Series run on dirt as Richard Petty won the 1970 Home State 200 at State Fairgrounds Speedway in Raleigh, NC.
Bristol will also host a playoff race on the pavement on 18 September.
Among other moves, NASCAR has removed Chicagoland and Kentucky from the schedule, adding Road America and Circuit of America courses in Wisconsin and Texas. It is also ending the Brickyard 400 after 27 races and switching to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Infilt Road course on August 15 for a doublehead weekend with the Indycar series.
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Nashville Superspeedway’s first-ever series race is scheduled for June 20 and Atlanta and Darlington will have two weekends, with the latter having to exit the playoffs with the Southern 500 on Sept 5.
Michigan is losing a race and so is Texas Motor Speedway, which will host a playoff event on October 17, but is taking an All-Star race from Charlotte on June 13.
NASCAR season will observe two-week breaks during the Tokyo Olympic Games on August 1 and August 8.
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According to the Associated Press report, all races will be held over the weekend due to disappointing TV ratings for the mid-week races taking place this week.
Here is the complete 2021 schedule, including changes to several other race dates:
14 February – Daytona 500
February 21 – Homestead-Miami Speedway
February 28 – Auto Club Speedway
March 7 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
March 14 – Phoenix Raceway
March 21 – Atlanta Motor Speedway
28 March – Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Layout
April 10 – Martinsville Speedway
April 18 – Richmond Raceway
April 25 – Talladega Superspeedway
May 2 – Kansas Speedway
May 9 – Darlington Raceway
16 May – Dover International Speedway
May 23 – Circuit of America
May 30 – Charlett Motor Speedway
June 6 – Sonoma Raceway
June 13 – All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway
June 20 – Nashville Superspeedway
26-27 June – Cocoa Raceway Doubleheader
4 July – Road America
July 11 – Atlanta Motor Speedway
July 18 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway
August 8 – Watkins Glen International
August 15 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
August 22 – Michigan International Speedway
August 28 – Daytona International Speedway
September 5 – Darlington Raceway
September 11 – Richmond Raceway
18 September – Bristol Motor Speedway
September 26 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
October 3 – Talladega Superspeedway
October 10 – Charlotte Rowell
October 17 – Texas Motor Speedway
October 24 – Kansas Speedway
October 31 – Martinsville Speedway
November 7 – Phoenix Raceway