NASCAR announced March 3 the starting lineup format and other procedures for the Cup and Camping World series events at the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track.
After revealing that there would be qualifying heats and practices, the sanctioning body shared the full details of the starting lineup, pit stops and stages.
Starting lineup format
As previously announced, there will be four heat races of 15 laps each for both series. The amount of vehicles in each heat is the number of entries divided by four. Only green-flag laps will count; there won’t be overtime, but the free-pass and wave around will be used.
A random draw in order of team owner points standings will determine which heats drivers will compete and where they will start.
The starting lineup for the main event is formed using an equation combining finishing position and spots gained during each heat. First place gets 10 points, second receives nine, etc. Also, each driver will get a “passing point” for each spot they move up the leaderboard in their heat. There won’t be any subtraction if they lose positions on the track. Ties will be broken by team owner points standings.
The only time teams can change tires, fuel the car and work on the car is during stage breaks, though NASCAR will make exceptions for those involved in accidents.
Teams don’t have to pit during the stage breaks; those who don’t will restart in front of those who do pit. Also, there’s no race on or off pit road, as it will be a controlled pit-stop procedure similar to what was used at Eldora Speedway.
NASCAR senior VP of competition explains the reasoning for this: “If we had green-flag stops or changed tires under yellow, that would get us to a competitive pit road. With dirt tires, dirt on concrete, who knows what the traction’s going to be like, having pit crews running around out there under those circumstances, running around in a not-clean pit box, we just felt was not something that we were going to do, and it would potentially create an unsafe environment, so we had to take the actual competitive element out of the pit stops for predominantly safety reasons.”
The stages in Cup’s main feature ends on lap 75 and 150, with the race ending at 250 laps. The Truck’s stages will end on lap 40, 90 and 150 (which completes the race). None of these lengths are longer than a full fuel run.
Note: the choose rule will not be in play.
NASCAR expects the same procedures to be in effect when the Trucks go to Knoxville Speedway in July.
The Cup Series’ Food City Dirt Race airs Sunday, March 28 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX and PRN radio. The Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt airs Saturday, March 27 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1 and MRN radio.