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Bristol washes away the dirt with plans to run its 2024 NASCAR races on concrete surface

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Bristol Motor Speedway is ditching the dirt.

The Tennessee short track that has used a dirt surface the last three years for its NASCAR races will run both NASCAR weekends in 2024 on its traditional concrete surface.

Bristol in 2021 covered the high-banked, .0533-mile bullring in red Tennessee clay for its spring race in hopes of freshening the NASCAR schedule and boosting both attendance and television ratings at a venue once considered hallowed racing ground.

All three runnings of the dirt races were met with mixed reviews — NASCAR had last run on dirt in 1970 — and its debut was of course an exciting anomaly. But the novelty wore off, the racing was sub-par and after three years, drivers were tired of the gimmick.

Bristol president and general manager Jerry Caldwell did not reveal the track's two Cup Series dates for 2024 but confirmed neither will be on dirt. NASCAR will race on the concrete Saturday night in the first elimination race of this year's playoffs. Four drivers will be eliminated from the 16-driver field following the race.

The spring race, he said, will harken back to Bristol's 1990s halcyon days, when the track was one of the toughest tickets in sports. Bristol boasted a 55-race sellout streak from 1982 through 2010.

“We will revive a logo reminiscent of the first Food City 500s in the early ’90s and resurrect the track’s vintage trademark look and feel of the era," Caldwell said of next year's return to concrete in the spring.

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AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing