Column By: REID SPENCER / NASCAR – BRISTOL, TN – To gain as much experience on the Bristol dirt as they possibly can, eight drivers entered in Sunday’s Cup race have signed up for the Saturday’s Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Daniel Suarez, Chase Briscoe, Bubba Wallace, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Stewart Friesen will compete in both races at Bristol this weekend.
Three-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton, the only former Eldora Speedway winner not racing on Sunday, isn’t particularly concerned about the Cup drivers—with one major exception.
“I’m not so much worried about the Cup drivers,” Crafton said. “It’s those dirt guys that you are a little bit more worried about and this guy – Kyle Larson – I would be worried about that guy as well. He does a little bit of everything.
“He’s going to be one of the ones to beat, no doubt. Friesen will be really, really fast as well. You’ve got Mike Marlar, a World of Outlaws dirt late model champion. You are going to have a lot of really, really good drivers out there, without a doubt.”
Crafton got his first taste of dirt racing at Eldora and went on to win there in 2017. He enjoyed the experience so much that he is now fielding his own dirt modified.
“I enjoy it so much because it’s so different than something I’ve raced my whole life, and I started racing it with the trucks,” Crafton said. “I started racing other people’s cars and I fell in love with it and ended up buying my own car and spend a lot of time doing it. I think I’ve raced 15 races this year already on dirt.”
Friesen’s wife Jessica, also an accomplished dirt racer, is entered in Saturday’s race. Elton Sawyer and Patty Moise were the last husband-wife combination to compete in a NASCAR national series. Their last race together was a Nov. 7, 1998 Xfinity Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway.