A Look at Dirt Specialists Making Cup Debuts at Bristol

The term “road course ringer” was popular in NASCAR up until the last decade with the influx of teams hiring road course specialists for races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen.  Now with the first NASCAR Cup Series race on dirt since 1970 set for next weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, several teams have hired dirt track racing stars for the event.


As of now, four full-time dirt racers are scheduled to make their series debuts in the event.  Their experience spans from open-wheel to Late Models and to Big-Block Modifieds.  We now take a look at those four drivers that are currently entered, in the order their announcements were made.


Chris Windom


“Big Daddy” is set to make his first Cup Series start in the Rick Ware Racing No.15.  He brings along sponsorship from NOS Energy Drink, the same sponsor he carries in USAC competition.


Windom became just the seventh driver to stake claim to the USAC Triple Crown at the end of 2020, having been named USAC National Midget champion driving for Tucker-Boat Motorsports (now CB Industries).  He also won the USAC Silver Crown championship in 2016 and the USAC National Sprint title in 2017.


He has five Truck Series starts to his credit, coming with the Mittler Brothers and DGR-Crosley.  His best finish came at Eldora in 2018, when he finished 14th.  Windom also has three Truck starts on asphalt, coming at Martinsville and Homestead-Miami.


Shane Golobic


The California driver will be getting behind the wheel of the No. 78 for Live Fast Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR drivers B.J. McLeod and Matt Tifft.  Similar to Windom, NOS also will tag along with him from the dirt side.


Golobic has mainly focused his racing endeavors in California, while venturing east for special events over the years.  He was runner-up in the 2017 USAC National Midget points to Spencer Bayston, while earning the Indiana Midget Week title.  He has become one of the top runners with King of the West by NARC and is a two-time feature winner with the World of Outlaws.


Next weekend’s event will be Golobic’s first start in any of NASCAR’s top-three series.  He has made three starts in what’s now the ARCA Menards Series West for Bill McAnally Racing, finishing eighth twice at All American Speedway and Kern County Raceway Park.


Mike Marlar


The “Winfield Warrior” reunites with MBM Motorsports for next weekend.  He will be pulling double-duty at Bristol, joining Hill Motorsports for the Truck Series event.


Marlar has become one of the most accomplished Dirt Late Model drivers still active today.  He was the 2018 World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion, while having also claimed wins in the Knoxville Late Model Nationals, Magnolia State 100, Blue-Gray 100 and the Butterball Memorial.


He has two previous NASCAR national series starts to his credit, including an Xfinity Series race at Richmond with MBM.  He finished fourth in his Truck Series debut at Eldora in 2019.


Stewart Friesen


After spending the previous four seasons full-time in the NASCAR Truck Series, Friesen makes the jump to the Cup Series with long-time sponsor Halmar to make his Cup debut with Spire Motorsports.


Friesen’s Big Block Modified success is well-known to those in the Northeast.  He has 25 career wins with the Super DIRTcar Series and championships with the Short Track Super Series and RoC Dirt Modified Tour.  He is also a five-time Super DIRT Week champion and a former winner with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.


He heads into Bristol with by far the most NASCAR experience out of the four drivers.  Friesen has two Truck Series wins to his credit, including one on the dirt at Eldora.  He finished fourth in series points in 2019, having made it all the way to Homestead with a shot at the title.


-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3

-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo

A Look at Dirt Specialists Making Cup Debuts at Bristol