BRISTOL, Tenn. – Mother Nature didn’t want NASCAR to race on the dirt Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
A heavy thunderstorm late Saturday morning, combined with a second wave of evening showers just after 5:30 p.m. ET, canceled all on-track activity at the .533-mile, dirt-covered high banks.
Heat races for both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Cup Series were called off, leading to the lineups for both races being set by the metric qualifying formula that has been in place since late last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The rain sets up a Sunday NASCAR doubleheader, with the Food City Dirt Race on schedule for a 3:30 p.m. ET start live on FOX, the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
The Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt will follow at approximately 9 p.m. ET, with live coverage of that event scheduled for FS2, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
Based on the metric formula, Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin will lead the field to green for the Cup Series race, which will go 250 laps in five segments of 50 laps each after format adjustments Saturday.
Kyle Larson is the scheduled pole starter, but must drop to the rear during the pace laps due to an engine change from Friday, elevating Blaney up to the front row.
John Hunter Nemechek will lead the field to the green flag for the Truck Series nightcap, with Austin Hill, Sheldon Creed, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter starting second through fifth, respectively.
With 43 trucks entered after JR Heffner’s withdrawal Saturday morning, three drivers – Trevor Collins, Jessica Friesen and Ryan Newman – missed the show based on the current owner standings.
One lap of the first Truck Series heat race was completed Saturday before the crushing wave of rain hit the Bristol area, with Mike Marlar leading from the pole before a yellow flag was called due to mud that caked the front grille openings and windshields of most of the 11 trucks on track.
The field came to pit road for tear offs and grille cleaning, but the rain squelched any hopes of racing shortly thereafter.
Full lineups for the Food City Dirt Race and Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt will be posted when available.