The Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway is set for Sunday March 28th at 3:30 PM. Tune in on Fox Sports 1, MRN radio, or SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 to catch Sunday’s NASCAR action!
This might be one of the most anticipated races of the year, as NASCAR has been racing at Bristol Motor Speedway since 1961. But for the first time since 1970, NASCAR will be racing on a dirt surface. The amount of unknowns on Sunday afternoon can't be understated. How will cars designed to be glued to a hard racing surface fare out on dirt? How will the racing surface itself hold up? How will drivers with little dirt experience compete against the "dirt masters?" Will this just turn into a huge demolition derby with the look and feel of something out of Mad Max Fury Road? And we frankly don't have the answers.
So you get the picture here now, right? Sunday's race track at Bristol Motor Speedway is a half-mile oval with 22-24 degree banking. It’s also nicknamed “The Last Great Colosseum," simply because it will resemble the ancient Roman times when drivers were struggling to keep their cars alive. But before we dive into some key drivers to watch for this weekend's Food City Dirt Race, let's take a quick look back and recap last week's best value bets from the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Last Week's Best Bets Recap:
Kyle Busch (-109 DraftKings) vs. Joey Logano - Kyle Busch simply had a strong day, while Joey Logano didn’t. Not much of a sweat here, as Logano didn’t have the long run speed and wasn’t much of a factor at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Finally, Busch came through when we needed him and helped us cash. -Win
Kevin Harvick Top 5 - If there was one driver who I thought would've done well at Atlanta, Harvick was the one. But he had a tire issue early in the race and could never get it going. During the race, Harvick told crew chief Rodney Childers it was “the biggest pile of crap I’ve ever driven at Atlanta”. He was still able to finish 10th, but not good enough for us - and the first time Harvick has not led a lap at Atlanta since '13. -Loss
Manufacturer of Winning Car: Ford - It wasn’t the Ford driver who I thought would win - that being Brad Keselwoski or Kevin Harvick - but Ryan Blaney pulled through for us for the win. Blaney passed Kyle Larson, who led a total of 269 laps, with eight laps to go to take the checkered flag at the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500. With the win, Ford extended its winning streak at Atlanta to five wins in a row. -Win
Drivers to Look Out For
For this race in particular, again I must stress that we have absolutely zero historical data when it comes to a dirt race with stock cars. It's very difficult to throw current NASCAR driver stats at Sunday's race, even if they were driving real dirt cars on an actual dirt track. With that being said, here are drivers some drivers that have some dirt racing experience below and could provide some value for us at the sports books:
Kyle Larson (+300 to win, +100 top three, -455 top ten; DraftKings Sportsbook): The best dirt racer in the Cup Series, Kyle Larson has already won at the Eldora and the Chili Bowl, and he dominated the dirt circuit last year when he was suspended from NASCAR. He's been running well all season, and no one will be surprised to see him continue his impressive streak, dirt or no dirt, on Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.
Austin Dillon (+1800 to win, +500 top three, +100 top ten; DraftKings Sportsbook): In 2013, Austin Dillon won the inaugural Eldora truck race, and he has also finished 10th (2014) and sixth (2015) at the same track. Dillon raced in a lot of dirt series races before making his way into NASCAR, and he also raced at the Bristol Dirt Nationals last week. He'll be one of the most experienced dirt racers come Sunday.
Christopher Bell (+800 to win, +250 top three, -190 top ten; DraftKings Sportsbook): Yes, this young guy has a lot of dirt experience as well. Christopher Bell's list of accomplishments are impressive: 2017-2019 Chili Bowl champion, 2015 Eldora Mudsummer Classic winner, 2014, 2017 and 2018 Turkey Night Grand Prix winner. He’s won a lot of dirt tracks and has just as good a shot as anyone to win this one.
Best Value Bets
For this week we do not have any best value bets, simply because I have more than a few concerns about this race and I'd rather play it smart here. It's better to see how everything pans out and possibly prepare for next year if in fact NASCAR does decide to run another dirt track. The drivers I listed above do have an advantage when it comes to dirt racing, sure, but keep in mind everyone here is a rookie dirt racing in a stock car overall. This is one of those events where it's best to sit back, watch and observe - or at the very least limit your bet unit size for Sunday compared to what you usually wager when it comes to NASCAR.