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March 22, 2021

Get all the dirt: Dirt racing terminology, FAQ for Bristol Dirt Race

Bristol Dirt Ariel View
Bristol Motor Speedway

The NASCAR Cup Series will get to play in the dirt for the first time since 1970, joining the Camping World Truck Series at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Camping World Truck Series will hit the Bristol dirt track for the Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt on Monday at Noon ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM). The Cup Series will run the Food City Dirt Race on Monday at 4 p.m. ET (FOX, PRN, SiriusXM).

In order to get you ready for a weekend of action-packed racing on the dirt, we’ve put together a dirt racing glossary that includes terminology you will likely hear on the broadcasts and frequently asked questions.

RELATED: Bristol dirt schedule


Bite: The amount of traction the tread holds in the rear tires, which allows for more grip on the dirt racing surface.

ROSSBURG, OH - JULY 18: Ben Rhodes, driver of the #41 The Carolina Nut Co. Ford, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway on July 18, 2018 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images) | Getty Images
The “cushion” is the darker line of dirt at the top of the racing groove in the corner. (Matt Sullivan | Getty Images)

Bottom feeder: When a driver elects to run the lowest line of the race track during a race.

Cushion: A dirt edge formed when multiple cars run on the top groove of the race track. The “cushion” will move up as cars run a higher line on the track throughout the event.

Dry or slick track: When the dirt racing surface holds little to no moisture, which results in a dustier surface.

Feathering the throttle: The amount of usage the driver applies on the gas pedal through the corner depending on the availability of grip on the dirt racing surface. The better the car handles through the corner, the more throttle they will be able to apply.

Hopping the cushion: When a car jumps above the dirt edge at the top of the highest racing groove, which will upset the car and cause it to bobble up the track and potentially into the outside wall.

ROSSBURG, OH - JULY 18: Tyler Dippel, driver of the #17 Hue Jackson Foundation/Caruso Logistics Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway on July 18, 2018 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images) | Getty Images
This is how the track will appear when it “slicks off,” creating a shiny, gray look to the dirt surface. (Matt Sullivan | Getty Images)

Slicking off: When the dirt racing surface becomes slicker throughout the course of the race, which gives the track a shiny, gray appearance.

Slide job: When a driver makes a pass on another driver by diving low and sliding up the race track in front of the opposing car.

Tacky: When the dirt racing surface is wet, which holds moisture and is sticky.

PHOTOS: Bristol dirt transformation in photos


How will the starting lineup for each main event be determined?

  • Both series will set the starting lineups according to the inclement weather policies in the NASCAR Rule Book since Saturday’s qualifying races were canceled. Kyle Larson will start from the pole position in the Cup Series event (and is expected to drop to the rear due to an engine change), and John Hunter Nemechek is set to start first in the Camping World Trucks.

Will there be live, competitive pit stops for each race?

  • Due to safety reasons, there will not be live pit stops under green- or yellow-flag conditions for both series. Teams will not be permitted to change tires, add fuel or work on their vehicles except during the breaks between stages. Exceptions will be made for vehicles involved in incidents. Additionally, teams are not required to pit during stage breaks. Those that elect to stay on the track during stage intermissions will line up ahead of the cars/trucks that pit on the ensuing restart. There will be no race onto or off pit road, using a controlled pit-stop procedure similar to the previous format in Eldora events.

Will caution laps count for the main events?

  • Yes, as was the case for Eldora Speedway, caution-flag laps will count for both the Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series main events. Only green-flag laps will count for the qualifying heats.

Will there be stages for each race?

  • Yes. Stages for Monday’s Cup Series main event will end at Lap 100, Lap 200, with 250 laps the scheduled full distance. Stage endings for Monday’s Truck Series main event are set for Lap 40, Lap 90 and Lap 150. None of the stage lengths are scheduled longer than a full fuel run for either series. There will also be competition cautions on Laps 50 and 150 in the Cup race.

Will there be a Choose Rule for these events?

  • The choose rule procedure of allowing teams/drivers to pick either the inside or outside line for restarts will not be in effect. The race leader – or “control car” in scoring tower parlance – will still select the inside or outside lane on the front row for restarts, as is the case for all NASCAR national series events. The difficultly of maintaining an orange “V” on the dirt-racing surface was a key determining factor of this decision.