NASCAR: Bristol restores 60-year tradition that ended four years ago

For the first time since 2020, Bristol Motor Speedway is scheduled to host two NASCAR Cup Series races on its concrete surface.

Bristol Motor Speedway, NASCAR
Bristol Motor Speedway, NASCAR / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

NASCAR's decision to cover Bristol Motor Speedway in dirt and run Cup Series and Truck Series races at the "Last Great Colosseum" in 2021 was met with mixed reactions. But despite the initial doubts of the event's potential, the dirt race returned in 2022 and 2023 for both series.

That race unfortunately came at the expense of the regular season race that had been contested on the concrete surface of the iconic four-turn, 0.533-mile (0.858-kilometer) high-banked Bristol, Tennessee oval.

Even since Bristol Motor Speedway opened in 1961, it had hosted two Cup Series races per season. That tradition was slightly altered in 2020, when it hosted a third race due to pandemic-related restrictions altering the calendar, but that additional race was the All-Star Race. So it still hosted two points races, one during the regular season and one during the playoffs.

The 2021 season marked the first time Bristol Motor Speedway only held one race on its concrete surface. Fortunately, that race was the famed Bristol Night Race, and that was true again in 2022 and 2023. The race was a playoff race during all three of those seasons.

But in 2024, a once long-standing NASCAR tradition has been restored.

This Sunday's race, the fifth of 36 on the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series schedule, is once again set to be contested on Bristol Motor Speedway's concrete surface. And it is once again one of two races on this year's calendar for which that can be said, as the dirt race is officially a thing of the past.

This year's schedule does not consist of any dirt races.

Sunday afternoon's Food City 500 is scheduled to be a 500-lap race, as is the playoff race, the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. The latter is scheduled to close out the opening round of the four-round, 10-race postseason, on the evening Saturday, September 21, under the lights.

FanDuel Sportsbook, which is giving fans a bonus $200 for placing any winning $5 bet, lists Hendrick Motorsports' Kyle Larson as the favorite to win this Sunday afternoon's race.

NASCAR: The championship is already Kyle Larson's to lose. NASCAR: The championship is already Kyle Larson's to lose. dark. Next

Tune in to Fox at 3:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, March 17 for the live broadcast of the Food City 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway. Begin a free trial of FuboTV today and don't miss it!