Happy Dirt Week racing fans! For the first time since 1970, the NASCAR Cup Series will run on a dirt surface this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Food City Dirt Race is the new name for the race formerly known as the Food City 500. As one might expect, the change in surface brings about a whole bunch of unknowns ahead of the seventh NASCAR Cup Series race of the season. History, stats and even running form for the drivers and their teams can largely be thrown out the window this weekend. Those making NASCAR betting picks should be prepared to adjust their handicapping strategy for what figures to be one wild race.
This article offers a full comprehensive NASCAR betting guide for the Food City Dirt Race, including the NASCAR odds, driver statistics, an overview of the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt surface, and best NASCAR picks.
Food City Dirt Race Info
60th Food City 500 (first race on dirt)
Location: Bristol Motor Speedway — Bristol, TN
Date: Sunday, March 28, 2021
Start Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
Length: 133.25 miles
Stages: Three (Laps 1-75; Laps 76-150; Laps 151-250)
Pole Sitter: Kyle Larson
Defending Champion: Brad Keselowski
Check out the complete Food City Dirt Race startling lineup and race stats!
Food City Dirt Race NASCAR Betting Odds
Odds Courtesy of MyBookie Sportsbook
While the number of unknowns and level of unpredictability is both as high as any this week, the NASCAR betting market has crowned Kyle Larson (+200) as the odds-on favorite to win the Food City Dirt Race. This likely stems from a few different factors. First and foremost, Larson found his way in auto racing running on dirt. This experience will prove invaluable for him and several other dirt track drivers on Sunday. Second, Larson has had the best form of any NASCAR Cup Series driver over the course of the first six weeks. He won at Homestead and dominated Atlanta last week, leading seemingly every lap but the final few. While none of those races came on dirt, the fact that the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team has been clicking is likely appealing to bettors.
Dirt Racing Experience Key to Handicap
After Larson, much of the upper half of the NASCAR betting odds board for the Food City Dirt Race looks very different than it would most other weeks. While equipment quality will certainly play a factor on Sunday, past experience of racing on dirt is likely the greatest factor to note when it comes to picking race winners. Christopher Bell (+700) has the second-shortest odds to win the race. Like Larson, he also has a win under his belt this season and a background in dirt racing.
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Cup Series rookie Chase Briscoe (+1000) follows. Although it has been a struggle out of the gates this season for Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas team, his dirt racing background has made him a trendy pick this week. We also see Austin Dillon (+1600) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+2000) at the top of the odds list thanks to their dirt track experience.
Dirt Track Specialists Among the Field
Another unique aspect for those making NASCAR picks to consider this week is the presence of dirt track specialists in the lineup. The name that NASCAR fans are most likely to recognize is Stewart Friesen (+1400). A full-time member of the NASCAR Truck Series, Friesen will be running his first Cup Series race ever this weekend. Other dirt track racers who are entrants for the Food City Dirt Race include 2018 World of Outlaws champion Mike Marlar (+5000), World of Outlaws driver Shane Golobic (+10000) and Chris Windom (+8000). Driver of the No. 15 car for Rick Ware Racing this weekend, Windom is one of only seven drivers to complete the United States Auto Club Triple Crown by winning championships in sprint cars, midget cars and Silver Crown.
Longshots Worth a Look on the Dirt?
If you are looking for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to include some studs among your NASCAR betting picks at longshot odds, the Food City Dirt Race is for you. Due to their inexperience running on dirt, several drivers who are considered to be championship contenders on an annual basis find themselves with hefty odds to win this week. Two names that stand out are Kevin Harvick (+4000) and Brad Keselowski (+5000). There won’t be another race all season where bettors can find odds of that magnitude on either driver to win.
Bristol Motor Speedway Overview
The Bristol Motor Speedway that NASCAR betting analysts must handicap for this weekend is much different than the typical track we are used to. Of course, the most obvious change this weekend from the standard NASCAR races run at “The Bullring” is the surface. The concrete has been swapped with dirt made up of several different layers and substances. The banking has also been drastically altered from the standard 30 degrees to just 19 degrees for Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race. In terms of width, the dirt racing surface measures 50 feet.
Our Bristol Motor Speedway overview article provides additional in-depth analysis on the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile”.
Food City Dirt Race NASCAR Odds and Best NASCAR Picks
Food City Dirt Race Winner: Bubba Wallace Jr. (+4000 at MyBookie Sportsbook)
Hey, I know as much as anyone this week. While several drivers with shorter odds certainly have my attention (see Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. specifically), I’m going for it all. It is the first NASCAR Dirt Week to take place in my lifetime after all! With that, give me a 40-1 longshot NASCAR betting ticket on Bubba Wallace.
It hasn’t been a picture-perfect start to the season for the brand new 23XI Racing team. With that said, they have been showing signs of progress recently. For further reasoning to support the prediction that Michael Jordan’s first win as a NASCAR owner could come this week, we turn to the dirt racing track record of Wallace, his driver. Bubba has shown an ability to run on dirt in NASCAR before, earning a win in the Truck Series Mudsummer Classic at Eldora in 2014. Perhaps it would only be fitting if Wallace and Jordan scored the first win for 23XI Racing this weekend in arguably the most anticipated race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. Grab a slice of the pie at 40-1 and thank me later if it hits!
Other Food City Dirt Race NASCAR Betting Picks
The following odds are taken from DraftKings Sportsbook
Top 3 Finish: Austin Dillon (+550)
Top 10 Finish: Bubba Wallace (+200)
Best Finishing Position Matchup: Christopher Bell (+145 vs. Kyle Larson)
Top 10 Finish: Ryan Newman (+225)
Best Finish in Group B: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+350)