Joey Logano and Thorsport have a dominant day, a rookie showed his talents, and a race with almost 50% caution laps. Here are 5 takeaways from the Bristol Dirt Race.
1: Joey Logano dominates at Bristol Dirt
Joey Logano showed that his victory at the dirt race in 2021 was no fluke. The #66 truck, prepared by Thorsport, lead an incredible 138 laps out of 150. Logano was originally unable to qualify due to the weather, but the heat races were moved to Saturday before the race and he was able to qualify. Logano was in heat race #3, where he took an early lead on a short 15-lap race with two red flags. Winning the heat qualified him fourth and he took the lead in the race on lap two. Matt DiBenedetto led eleven laps, and Ty Majeski grabbed the lead in just one.
Logano did not just have a fast truck to help him secure the lead, but a teammate on top of the roof. Ryan Blaney was spotting for the 2022 Cup champion. Blaney has a family history of dirt racers. His father, Dave Blaney, won the 1995 World of Outlaws championship and owns Sharon Speedway, a 3/8 oval in Ohio. Logano had excellent help on the way to becoming the 12th different driver to win a dirt race in the truck series of the last 12 dirt races in the series.
— Team Penske (@Team_Penske) April 9, 2023
2: Thorsport shows its strength
Winning the race with the #66 driven by Logano, Thorsport brought four more trucks capable of great finishes. Ty Majeski, known for his abilities on asphalt short tracks, spent most of the night trying to run down the #66. Matt Crafton won his heat race by dueling with the #24 of Rajah Caruth, just narrowly getting the win. He started the race eighth, but had a late race resurgence to finish fourth.
Ben Rhodes and Hailie Deegan finished first and second in heat race #1. Rhodes rolled off in the seventh position and Deegan in the sixth. A wreck on lap 132 doomed the #99 truck to a 19th-place finish. Deegan finished the race thirteenth and called it a good thing to be disappointed about thirteenth.
In a vlog posted to her YouTube channel, she said:
“Good days will be top fives, bad days will be thirteenth.”
Overall, a great night for the entire Thorsport team at the Bristol dirt race.
3: Kaden Honeycutt has a career night
This season, Nick Sanchez has dominated the discussion about Rookie of the Year in the Craftsman Truck Series. Another rookie, Kaden Honeycutt, showed up at Bristol Dirt. In heat race #4, he ran third to Crafton and Caruth, earning passing points to start a career-best of third. He had top-ten speed all night, bringing his Roper Racing #04 Ford to a ninth-place finish. Finishing ninth ties Honeycutt’s best finish at Phoenix last fall, also ninth. Kaden will race both Trucks and Xfinity at Martinsville this coming weekend, piloting the #74 Camaro for CHK Racing. Exciting times for this rookie from Texas.
Recap of our Top 10 at Bristol!👊🏻 pic.twitter.com/7X9DikTNLi
— Kaden Honeycutt (@KadenWHoneycutt) April 11, 2023
4: Cup Drivers have a quiet night
While Joey Logano was leading the field, some other drivers from the Cup Series were gaining valuable experience in advance of their race on Sunday. William Byron drove for his former Truck Series team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, and Chase Briscoe for AM Racing.
Jonathan Davenport, a veteran dirt late model driver, was behind the wheel of the #7 for Spire Motorsports.
Briscoe qualified the best of these three, finishing third in his heat allowing him to start tenth. Byron finished fifth in heat three, starting fourteenth. Davenport had a rough time in qualifying, he started twenty-fifth. Byron had the most speed of the three, running as high as third where he would eventually finish. Briscoe had to rally after being involved in the Lap 132 wreck. With only nine laps remaining, he drove up to tenth, an impressive drive for the racer from Stewart-Haas. Davenport had a rough go in his first stock car race on dirt, finishing 25th. Solid finishing positions for two of the three.
5: Bristol Dirt gives us another caution filled race
The Bristol Dirt race saw an average green flag run of seven laps, putting it second for the lowest green flag run behind Daytona. 44 percent of this race was run under the caution flag. While we had six wrecks, we also had cautions for many spins. I understand that this is the nature of stock cars racing on dirt, but it seemed to be excessive. Race control had their finger hovering over the button to throw the caution, maybe in an attempt to see if someone could get around the #66 of Logano. Overall, this race seemed like a wreck fest and, with it so hard to pass the leader, it was a hard watch. Maybe it was the inexperience of some drivers in the field or just dirt. I hope that in the future for dirt races we see a better racing product than last Saturday.