The 2019 NASCAR race season was one of the most unpredictable in history. The season started with a bang as Michael Jackson’s birthday was celebrated with a massive fireworks show and concerts, followed by the NASCAR race. The races took on a more traditional form as the summer went on and many of the race tracks started to adopt NASCAR’s new no-passing-modes. The unexpected development in the middle of the season came as a complete shock to everyone especially NASCAR. The 2019 season was a roller coaster ride both on and off the track as emotions were high and the overall experience was memorable.
Bristol Motor Speedway’s Dressing Table
One of the most unique aspects of the 2019 season was the dirt bombing that took place at several of the tracks including Bristol Motor Speedway. A dirt bomb is basically a large water balloon with nails, glass, or any other hard object in the water balloon. The object is to hurl the water balloon at the screen door of your opponent as they arrive at the track. As soon as the last driver has pulled through the screen door, the barrage of water balloons begins!
The practice of throwing water balloons at screen doors has been around for decades but only started becoming a formal part of the dirt bomb arsenal in 2019. A few months into the season, the phenomenon took the NASCAR world by storm after Wendell Scott threw a dirt bomb at the screen door of Josh Hendry during the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race. The scene quickly went viral as fans couldn’t get enough of the green hues and water balloons!
The sight of a massive crowd cheering as one driver succeeds in getting a water balloon through the opponent’s screen door is something that will remain etched in everyone’s memory. In fact, some people still consider it one of the greatest spectacles in NASCAR racing!
The Rise Of The Dirt Boms
The 2019 dirt bomb season was a pivotal moment for NASCAR. Instead of just using the traditional grass wipes or paper towels to clean their cars, many drivers adopted a more aggressive approach. Once the novelty of throwing water balloons at screen doors wore off, many drivers began using the dirt bombs to clean their cars and themselves after the race. This trend became so widespread that NASCAR started creating new traditions and awards to acknowledge these epic efforts!
The Rise of the Dirt Boms is a documentary that explores this phenomenon. One of the most interesting aspects of the documentary is how some of the drivers approached the dirt bombings differently. Several of them used to clean their cars with paper towels or grass wipes before they became popular, so they weren’t exactly following the rules when it came to the strategy!
What Type of Car Was Most Affected By The Water?
The cars that are prone to wet weather and high speeds are the ones that are most affected by the water balloons. The Bugatti Veyron and Maserati Ghibli were the two most iconic luxury cars that were involved in crashes because of the excess water on the track. The Veyron crashed at Le Mans and the Ghibli was destroyed by fire after it rolled on the track at Mazda Motors Corporation in Japan!
The sheer volume of water that can be hurled at a car is extraordinary. One report stated that during one of the Monster Energy NASCAR wet weather events, over 40,000 drops of rainwater inundated the track!
The report also went on to say that during this time, the surface temperature of the track fell by eighteen degrees Fahrenheit! What makes this even more unusual is that the air temperature was eighty-four degrees Fahrenheit at the time, so there was no chance that it would evaporate as quickly as it fell. This is due to the wetter the greater the absolute humidity, which, according to one source, is “when it feels like you’re in a sauna even when the air is chilly.”[@keywords]
The Evolution Of NASCAR
One of the biggest changes that occurred in the wake of the 2019 dirt bomb season is how fans viewed the sport. Before the dirt bombs, NASCAR was always considered a family friendly sport. However, during the post-race clean-up process people on social media made it clear that they no longer viewed NASCAR as a family friendly sport and more of an adult sport. This is likely due to the fact that several of the drivers began cleaning their cars with dirt bombs, which is something that is usually done by grown-ups in an adult movie!
A surprising amount of dirt was also seen surrounding the Brick House during the post-race clean-up process. This is something that has never happened before. During the pre-race celebrations, the Brick House was completely carpeted in dust but post-race clean-up there was no visible dust at all! The fact that the dust evaporated so quickly clearly proves that a lot of it was put there during the race by the drivers and their staff members!
Does This Mean That Dirt Bombs Are Now Official Racing Equipment?
During the pre-race celebrations of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race all of the cars were rocking out to Michael Jackson’s music. Suddenly, driver Paul Dowd threw a dirt bomb at the screen door of driver Josh Hendry. Hendry, who is known for his quirky sense of humor, promptly responded with his own dirt bomb (which was filled with shaving cream).
This marked the beginning of the Dowd v Hendry feud, but the fight was already well underway before this incident. When asked about his unusual bed fellow, Dowd said, “He’s a real character. I like to call him ‘The Human Fountain Pen’. He’ll throw a dirt bomb at your car screen door and then laugh about it with you later.”[@keywords]
What Is The Long-Term Effect Of Throwing Dirt?
Although the short-term effect of throwing dirt is to make your car look cool, it is the longer-term effects that will really surprise you. Several drivers have complained about dirt building up inside the engines of their cars over time, causing extensive engine work. They also noted that the surface of the track became slippery after pouring so much dirt on it. The track surface will continue to deteriorate over time especially in wet weather, which is why tracks usually adopt a no-passing rule in the first place!
The Future Of Dirt
The future of dirt is very much alive and well in 2020 as several tracks, including Bristol Motor Speedway and Travis Chesnutt’s Carolina Speedway, started the 2020 season with a brawl pre-race night! These types of events showcase the growing tension and intimidation that comes with being at the track on a racetrack and the ever-present risk of getting dyno-ed. The battles between the drivers are also more intense as they drive on less forgiving surfaces which makes the brawls even more exciting!