NASCAR Cup Series Race Report - Bristol Dirt

April 9, 2023

TRACK: Bristol Motor Speedway
RACE: Food City Dirt Race          
DATE: APRIL 9, 2023

START: 7TH     
STAGE ONE: 19TH     
STAGE TWO: 32nd     

RACE RUNDOWN: Austin Cindric finished 19th in the third edition of the Food City Dirt Race Sunday evening on the red Tennessee clay at Bristol Motor Speedway. Cindric rolled off the grid seventh after a stout performance in his heat race. Cindric maintained his top-10 pace for the first chunk of Stage 1 but slipped to 19th at the end of the segment as he struggled with drive off. Under the six-minute service clock, Cindric pitted for a list of adjustments to aid the handling of the car in preparation for Stage 2. Cindric restarted 19th and navigated a slew of cautions, but sustained damage to the right rear toward the end of the stage, dropping to 32nd. The driver of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang steered the car to pit road for the second service break to receive a right-rear toe link repair, fresh tires, adjustments and fuel. Cindric restarted 32nd for the final showdown and avoided various late-race incidents to collect a 19th-place finish. 

CINDRIC'S THOUGHTS: "Yeah, it was a pretty crazy night. I wish I could do it all over again with my experience from tonight and just kind of knowing where the track was going to go and what I needed out of my car. I feel like we could have saved ourselves from losing some track position early. I got to trying too hard to run the top and made a mistake, getting some damage. The team did a great job fixing it and getting the toe link swapped back on. We made some spots back up and clawed back through the field to get inside the top 20, avoiding some craziness. Overall, it was an OK day, but kind of a disappointment after a really good Saturday. I learned a lot."

START: 9TH     

RACE RUNDOWN: Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 team brought a strong Menards/Maytag Ford Mustang to Sunday night's Food City Dirt Race as it showed top-five speed from the drop of the green flag. Blaney fought through a loose-handling condition on the entry and exit of the corners in the opening stage, but battled to cross the line fifth in Stage 1. Following a four-tire stop and a round of adjustments at the stage break, Blaney maintained his spot in the top-10 as the track began to change. He kept alternating between the high and low lines throughout Stage 2 while adapting to a slicker track surface, resulting in an eighth-place finish in the stage. Despite falling outside the top-10 in the early laps of the final stage, Blaney started to make his move forward by wrapping the bottom line in the corners and eventually made his way back into the top-five by lap 221. With under 20 laps to go, he picked off the next two in front of him to sit third in the running order before the caution flag flew on lap 235. Blaney chose the bottom lane to restart on the inside of row one as the field took the green flag with eight laps to go, but was spun by the No. 14 in turn one after contact with the left rear. Blaney avoided contact, but the race stayed green the rest of the way resulting in a 23rd-place finish. 

BLANEY'S THOUGHTS: "I was excited to start on the front row [on the final restart]. I thought that we were kind of making the middle work and I was really pumped to start on the front row and see what we had, but we never got a shot. The 14 hit us from behind and that was it."

START: 12TH     
STAGE ONE: 14TH     
STAGE TWO: 37TH     

RACE RUNDOWN: Joey Logano made his way into the top-10 only two laps into Sunday's Food City Dirt Race after starting 12th, but was involved in the first caution of the night on lap 10 when the No. 23 spun in front of him in turn 2. The No. 22 team opted to bring Logano to pit road for a wedge adjustment to address a loose handling condition, relegating him to the tail end of the field on the ensuing restart. Logano battled his way through traffic to make it back inside the top-20 by the time the caution flag flew again on lap 57. Despite fighting an issue with rear grip, Logano crossed the line 14th in Stage 1. Following a four-tire stop and a round of adjustments during the stage break, Logano contacted the outside wall in turn 1 on the restart and dropped to the back of the field while reporting damage to the toe link. Shortly after, he was collected in a multi-car incident that caused the right front tire to go down while the race stayed green. While on pit road, the No. 22 team determined the A-frame was broken on the Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang which brought an early end to the night. 

LOGANO'S THOUGHTS: "Someone wrecked in front of me and I can't say I really saw it and they came down the racetrack and hit it with the right-front and it broke the steering and then I hit the wall really hard after that. That just kind of killed our car. It's a bummer. We got caught up in pretty much everything from the beginning of the race. I was in the first couple of cautions right off the bat. We had a really good Mustang that could run its way back through the field and we got our way back to 14th by the end of the first stage and I was like, 'Alright, I think we're pretty good.' And then just got caught up in more of them."

WHAT'S NEXT: The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, April 16. Coverage of the event will be carried on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 3:00 p.m. ET.