The Bristol Motor Speedway spring date returns to the concrete for the first time since 2020 and will host the NASCAR Craftsman Truck and NASCAR Cup Series this weekend. A total of 21 different drivers have registered at least one of Ford’s 40 all-time Cup wins on the concrete surface.

BLANEY ON TOP

The NASCAR Cup Series season is only four weeks old, but whenever you’re at the top of the standings it’s a good thing. That’s where defending champion Ryan Blaney finds himself after a fifth-place finish on Sunday in Phoenix moved him from second to first. As a result, he holds a 10-point lead over Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. The last time Blaney found himself first in the regular-season standings was last year after a sixth-place run at World Wide Technology Raceway. That was the only week in which he held the top spot until claiming the championship a few months later.

GILLILAND LEADS MORE LAPS

Todd Gilliland continues to be among the lap leaders in the NASCAR Cup Series through four races, ranking third among all drivers and first for Ford with 88. He and his No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford Mustang Dark Horse have led at least one lap in three of the first four events, including 14 last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

FROM DIRT TO CONCRETE

The last three years has seen dirt covering the half-mile oval at Bristol Motor Speedway, and even though he didn’t have a long history of experience on that surface, Joey Logano adapted quite nicely. He won the first NASCAR Cup Series race on dirt in a half-century after taking the lead away from Daniel Suarez and leading the final 61 circuits that included an overtime restart to claim the victory. Last year, he hopped in an additional ThorSport Racing entry and captured the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event by leading 138-of-150 laps.

ACTIVE WINNERS

Three current Ford drivers have at least one NASCAR Cup Series victory on the concrete of Bristol Motor Speedway. Brad Keselowski has three wins (2011, ‘12, ‘20) while Joey Logano owns a pair (2014-15) and Chris Buescher has one (2022). Rusty Wallace and Kurt Busch each have five victories to lead Ford all-time while David Pearson is next with four.

RYAN BLANEY: “Honestly, I didn’t really have any huge feelings towards it either way. I enjoyed the dirt race, and I thought every year it got better. The first year the track wasn’t very good. The second year it got better and then last year I thought the track was awesome. It was very racy, very slick from top to bottom. You could have options and lanes, but it’s good. I think you go back every few years and maybe in a few years you could throw dirt on it again, but I had no big feelings about it either way.”

JOSH BERRY: “I feel like that’s an event that has been missing a little bit. Obviously, I’m from Tennessee and I remember going to Bristol a lot when I was a kid and watching those races, so it’ll be fun to go back and run the concrete. I know Rodney is really excited, so that’s fun too. He loves that track, but not in dirt form.”

FIREBALL BURNS BRIGHT IN FORD DEBUT

Ford won its first NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 31, 1963 when Fireball Roberts won the Southeastern 500. What made the win so noteworthy is that it marked the debut of Roberts with Ford as a teammate of Fred Lorenzen’s at Holman-Moody. The duo put on a dominant show that day as they combined to lead 329 of 500 laps with Roberts leading 165 and Lorenzen 164. Roberts passed his new teammate with eight laps to go and won by five seconds as the race saw only one caution for nine laps. Roberts went on to win four races in 1963 while Lorenzen won six times.

ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND

The date was July 20, 1969 and while Neil Armstrong was uttering those groundbreaking words as being the first man to step foot on the moon, David Pearson was busy winning at Bristol on the first race since the track installed high banking. What made the race even more interesting is that Pearson was relieved during the race by none other than Richard Petty, who was driving a Ford that season and dropped out earlier in the event. Even more ironic is that Petty was chasing Pearson for the championship that season, one in which Pearson eventually won for the second straight time.

MAJESKI MOTIVATED

Ty Majeski comes into this weekend’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race second in the point standings after posting a pair of stage wins and two top-10 finishes in the first three races.

Majeski led a race-high 40 laps when the series last raced two weeks ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but a pit road speeding penalty late in the event cost him a shot at winning.

He comes to Bristol Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s race with one career victory at the half-mile facility in two career series starts on the concrete.

Ford Performance PR