The NASCAR Cup Series has not run on Easter Sunday for as long as one can remember. That will change this weekend to the delight of race fans from various disciplines and backgrounds. For the second year in a row, the spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway is set to be run on a dirt surface. Sunday night’s Food City Dirt Race is being billed as one of the NASCAR’s showcase events of the season. Given that this is the only dirt track the sport will race on all season, there are a few surprises to be found on the NASCAR betting odds board. Bettors would be wise to factor in the experience level of drivers on dirt surfaces when making their Fodd City Dirt Race NASCAR betting picks.
The following column serves the sole purpose of preparing bettors to make some money wagering on the ninth NASCAR Cup Series race of the season. Read on for an overview of the Food City Dirt Race odds and the best betting picks for Sunday night’s NASCAR action at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Food City Dirt Race NASCAR Race Info
2nd Food City Dirt Race
Date: Sunday, Apr. 17, 2022
Start Time: 7 p.m. EST
Distance: 133.25 miles
Stages: Three (Laps 1-100; Laps 101-200; Laps 201-250)
Pole Sitter: Cole Custer
Defending Champion: Joey Logano
Check out the official Food City Dirt Race starting lineup as well as notes and takeaways from both practice and qualifying!
Food City Dirt Race NASCAR Betting Odds
Refer to the table below which lists the outright odds to win the NASCAR Cup Series Food City Dirt Race. NASCAR betting odds for the top 30 drivers are included.
Food City Dirt Race NASCAR betting odds are taken from Bovada Sportsbook.
|Driver||Odds to Win|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||+1800|
|Martin Truex Jr.||+2500|
Food City Dirt Race NASCAR Picks and Predictions
Race Winner: Kyle Larson (+300)
In last year’s inaugural Food City Dirt Race, Kyle Larson had his day ended early when he made contact with fellow dirt track racer, Christopher Bell. Of course, the incident on the dirt at Bristol proved inconsequential as far as Larson going on to have a tremendous championship season. Assuming he avoids similar carnage this year, Larson is the clear NASCAR betting favorite to win Sunday night’s race for a reason.
Of all the drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series, only a handful have any sort of significant experience racing on dirt. Larson arguably has more than anyone. In addition to getting his start in racing on dirt tracks, the reigning NASCAR champ regularly runs in dirt events to this day. While his dirt track accomplishments from a year ago received nowhere near the press as his NASCAR success, Larson won over 90% of all dirt races he started on the 2021 calendar.
In Larson, bettors are picking a driver who checks all the boxes. He is the best and most experienced NASCAR Cup Series contender when it comes to dirt tracks. He also drives for a Hendrick Motorsports team that has won four of the season’s first eight races.
Other Food City Dirt Race NASCAR Betting Picks and Props
Top 5 Finish: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+250)
The weird circumstances and track conditions of last year’s Food City Dirt Race led to several surprising names scoring strong finishes. Of the handful of NASCAR Cup Series drivers with a lengthy dirt track resume, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the class of the field. He finished runner-up to Logano in the event.
Despite both his experience on dirt and last year’s finish, Stenhouse still comes into the weekend with profitable NASCAR betting odds. In Friday’s first practice session, he turned the sixth-fastest lap time of all Cup Series drivers.
Known as one of the more aggressive drivers in the sport today, bettors don’t need to worry about motivation when it comes to Stenhouse. Unfortunately, the early portion of the 2022 season has been a struggle for him and the newly-downsized JTG Daugherty Racing team. Perhaps a return to his dirt track roots and a race where he scored his best finish a year ago will be just what Stenhouse needs to get his season turned around.
Top 10 Finish: Austin Dillon (+120)
When it comes to drivers with any sort of significant experience running on dirt, Austin Dillon has the longest odds of those with a realistic chance to win Sunday’s race. Last year, the No. 3 team only managed to finish 21st. However, one could argue that this weekend’s Food City Dirt Race will play more to the hands of experienced dirt track drivers than last year’s event.
The rationale behind the claim made above is actually rooted in the weather forecast. Thanks to rain and even flooding in the Bristol, Tennessee, area a year ago, both the Truck and Cup Series races were run on the same day. As a result, NASCAR was not able to truly “farm” the dirt track as they would have preferred. By the end of the Cup Series event, the track had been reduced to a single groove and was running much more like a standard NASCAR asphalt track than anticipated.
The scenario from a year ago will not occur this weekend as sunny skies are in the forecast. Thus, the dirt track will receive extensive grooming following Saturday night’s truck race. The fact that Dillon used to co-own and race regularly on dirt bodes well for how he will acclimate this weekend.
Top Ford Finisher: Chase Briscoe (+300)
When it comes to current NASCAR Cup Series Ford drivers, Chase Briscoe easily has the most experience on dirt surfaces. 2022 has already been a special year for Briscoe as he picked up his first-ever Cup Series win at Phoenix last month. Given his dirt racing pedigree, the No. 14 team is expected to be a player in the Food City Dirt Race.
Current NASCAR betting odds have Briscoe priced as the co-favorite to be the first Ford across the finish line on Sunday night. Joining him at the front of the pack is defending Food City Dirt Race Champion, Joey Logano. For reasons already discussed above, one has every reason to believe that Logano is overpriced by oddsmakers ahead of this year’s race.
Aside from Briscoe, it’s really difficult to envision another Ford driver achieving tremendous success on the dirt surface. Cole Custer managed to claim the pole position, but he is far from a sure bet to make it stick. While Ryan Blaney may draw the attention of some bettors, he lacks the dirt track experience of others in his racing family. Briscoe already showed his speed on the dirt by qualifying fourth and also carries momentum from a top-10 run last week at Martinsville into the weekend.
Race Matchup: Martin Truex Jr. (+130) vs Joey Logano
Joey Logano surprised the NASCAR betting world when he managed to win last year’s Food City Dirt Race. He did so despite having virtually no previous experience racing on dirt. Once again, the unfortunate weather that transpired on the weekend of last year’s race has to be considered.
Because the dirt track was packed firm and had only one reliable groove down the stretch, drivers like Logano with limited dirt track experience benefitted greatly. After winning last year’s event, oddsmakers have priced Logano as though he has dirt racing experience on his resume. If Sunday night’s race unfolds more like a pure dirt track experience, it’s hard to argue that Logano will be much of a factor.
As for the driver we are betting ON in this head-to-head, Martin Truex Jr. doesn’t have swaths of dirt track racing in his background either. However, he also obtained success in Bristol last year by winning the Truck Series event. If anything, one could argue that the surface Truex dominated on was better maintained than when Logano eventually emerged victorious later in the day. The gap in skillset between Truex and Logano is nowhere near as large as these NASCAR matchup odds are implying it to be.