Bristol Motor Speedway Cup Series Spring Race Has a History in Month of March

One of the biggest questions surrounding the upcoming Food City 500 race weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway is which driver will fill out the blossoming Bristol four-leaf clover?

Three NASCAR Cup Series drivers have raced to victory at Bristol on St. Patrick’s Day, which honors the Patron Saint of Ireland and is a day filled with large celebrations of Irish culture, good luck charms and all things green. So, in addition to the crazy party going on all day at the track, at least one team can plan for an even crazier post-race party celebrating their effort on one of the toughest tracks on the NASCAR circuit.

This spring’s Food City 500 on March 17 will be the fourth time that the Cup race day falls on the national holiday. The drivers who won in those years include David Pearson in 1968, Cale Yarborough in 1974 and Kasey Kahne in 2013. The winner of this year’s version of the Food City 500 will join those three to form a complete four-leaf-clover, Bristol style.

The tradition-rich Food City 500 race weekend on March 16-17, which also includes the WEATHER GUARD Truck Race in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series under the lights on Saturday night, March 16, and Bush’s Beans Qualifying and Bush’s Beans Practice for both the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Saturday afternoon, has occupied just about every weekend in March and April over the years.

In fact, for those who may have thought the March date assignment was something new, this is actually the 32nd time that NASCAR’s Cup Series will visit the Northeast Tennessee bullring during the month of March for its spring race. There have been 28 April weekends, two in early May and one – the inaugural BMS Cup race – in July.

There have been a total of nine Cup Series winners on St. Patrick’s Day in NASCAR history. Those winners include Ralph Moody in 1957 at Wilson (N.C.) Speedway; Jack Smith in 1962 at Savannah (Ga.) Speedway; Fred Lorenzen in 1963 at Atlanta; Pearson at Bristol in 1968; Yarborough at Bristol in 1974; Bill Elliott in 1985 in Atlanta; Sterling Marlin in 2002 in Darlington; Kahne at Bristol in 2013; and Brad Keselowski at Martinsville in 2019.

And while Bristol is focused on taking the fans back in time at this event with some throwback activities surrounding the early 1990s, you can bet that the track will still fully embrace the St. Patrick’s Day weekend with all things green and encouraging fans to wear their green and shamrocks in what promises to be a huge party.

“If there’s one thing NASCAR Fans love, it’s a big party! St. Patrick’s Day really provides a massive platform for those who want to let loose and celebrate their Irish heritage, or simply just have a good time,” said Drew Bedard, vice president of marketing for Bristol Motor Speedway. “Our history is connected to this national holiday more than any other track on the circuit so we are looking forward to providing our guests with an amazing experience.”

The most recent Food City 500 on concrete held at Bristol during the month of March was won by Carl Edwards on March 16, 2014. Edwards took over at lap 426 and led the final 78 laps of the race to claim the victory. Interestingly, on that day, Edwards was the first driver in history to be presented the much coveted BMS Gladiator Sword in Victory Lane by track president and general manager Jerry Caldwell.

Matt Kenseth led the most laps of the 2014 Food City 500 with 165, but ultimately finished 13th. The top-five finishers behind Edwards’ No. 99 RFK machine was teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Aric Almirola, Tony Stewart and Australian Marcos Ambrose. Denny Hamlin started on the pole in his No. 11 machine and finished sixth.

The most recent BMS Cup race to be held in March was in 2021, when Joey Logano made history as the first Cup driver to win on a dirt track in more than 50 years when he won the Food City Dirt Race on March 29.

The Bristol race weekend will feature action in the NASCAR Cup Series with the tradition-rich Food City 500 on Sunday afternoon, March 17 (3:30 p.m., FOX and PRN Radio) with current champ Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin leading the way.

Saturday afternoon’s Bush’s Beans Practice and Bush’s Beans Qualifying for both the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will precede Saturday night’s WEATHER GUARD® Truck Race. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series stars Ben Rhodes, Grant Enfinger, Nick Sanchez, Corey Heim, Ty Dillon and Christian Eckes, among others, are scheduled to take the green flag at 8 p.m. ET for the 250-lap thriller.

In addition to cheering on their favorite drivers during the weekend and enjoying the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, Bristol Motor Speedway fans will definitely want to take advantage of so many activities to make a complete weekend of family fun. There will be great video entertainment provided by Colossus TV, the world’s largest center-hung video screen, premium VIP experiences, tailgating, a visit to the BMS Kids Zone, on-site camping, concerts and other entertainment at the Food City Fan Zone Stage headlined by Trackside Live with Kenny Wallace and John Roberts, great food and beverages in the concession stands throughout the property, and so much more.

One change that fans can look forward to this spring is a reimagined area for fans that will transport the BMS Fan Zone into the BMS FUN ZONE! Track officials are relocating all of the attractions around property into one primary location near the BMS Entrance No. 1 (North) so fans can conveniently enjoy all there is to offer to keep fans entertained before the green flag drops.

To purchase tickets for the Food City 500 or the WEATHER GUARD® Truck Race, please visit the BMS website, or call the BMS Ticket Sales Center at (866) 415-4158.

BMS PR