Just ahead of NASCAR Cup Series heat races tonight (March 27) at the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track, NASCAR has announced a change in the Bristol dirt stage lengths for tomorrow’s Food City Dirt Race.
FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass announced via Twitter that the race’s stage lengths were changed to 100/100/50 laps, respectively. Originally, the stage ends were set at 75/75/100.
NASCAR has changed the stage lengths for the Cup race to 100-100-50 and competition caution on Laps 50 and 150 and will allow teams to change tires at that point as well (caution laps won't count during competition cautions). Teams will get an extra set of tires.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) March 27, 2021
There will also be two competition cautions at laps 50 and 150, allowing teams more opportunities to change tires. Contrary to current yellow flag procedures, caution laps will not be counted during these competition yellow periods.
What does that mean for the Food City Dirt Race? The longest green-flag run at any point of the race will be 50 laps, reducing concerns about tire wear having an adverse effect on the event.
Cup teams running the race will also receive an additional set of tires.
As described in a Frontstretch article earlier this week, teams can only change tires, fuel up and work on their car overall during stage breaks, with exceptions for those involved in accidents.
Teams don’t have to pit during 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 in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition.
NASCAR stated adjustments will give crews additional track prep opportunities, shorten the length of time between changes and give teams more chances to change tires. These updates are expected to help the racing considerably as the Cup cars run their first dirt event since 1970.