2021 Cup Series Bristol Dirt Outside Track Panorama Shot Hhp Chris Owens Photo
The Bristol Dirt Nationals will return to Bristol Motor Speedway in 2023. (HHP/Chris Owens Photo)

What To Watch For — March 31-April 2

While winter continues to hang on in much of the country, a busy racing schedule signals spring weather is just around the corner.

The NTT IndyCar Series, NASCAR Cup Series and NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series are all in action this weekend, with dirt late models, sprint cars and midgets also set to take center stage.

Devil’s Bowl Double

A little more than 45 years after the first World of Outlaws sprint car feature (March 18, 1978) was run at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas, the series returns to the half-mile oval for two nights of action. Saturday’s main event will pay $25,000 to win. Pennsylvania driver Brent Marks won last year’s WoO race at Devil’s Bowl.

Oval Meisters

The NTT IndyCar Series will make its first appearance of the season on an oval track this weekend, as the series visits the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway for the 27th consecutive season on Sunday afternoon. Arie Luyendyk won the first race at Texas in 1997 and two-time IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden is the defending race winner.

Back To Cali

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series traditionally opened its season at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip in Pomona, Calif., for decades. However, a shuffling of the schedule takes the series “back home” for the third event on the calendar. Still the home of the season-ending NHRA event, the Pomona strip saw Austin Prock (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) win there in November.

NASCAR Richmond

Richmond (Va.) Raceway will host NASCAR this weekend. The NASCAR Cup Series, which runs Sunday afternoon at Richmond, ran its first race at the Virginia State Fairgrounds in Richmond in 1953 and has raced there every year since. The original half-mile dirt track was later paved and renovated to become a three-quarter-mile track in 1988. With 13 victories, Richard Petty is the winningest driver at Richmond, while Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick won the two races there last year. The NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will also be on the weekend card.

USAC Returns

The USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Championship will hit the track for the first time since starting the season in Florida, when it visits Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway on Saturday night. The 30-lap feature will pay $5,000 to win. Four-time series champion Brady Bacon holds a 10-point lead over C.J. Leary entering the event.

Bristol Dirt

For the third consecutive year dirt has been placed over the concrete at Bristol Motor Speedway to showcase the NASCAR Cup Series in the Food City Dirt Race on April 9. While the amount of dirt racing at Bristol this year, has been reduced from the previous two seasons, action kicks off April 1 with the Bristol Dirt Showcase that features the Steel Block Bandit Late Model Series and the American All-Star Series.