Food City Dirt Race Preview and Best Bet

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Food City Dirt Race Preview and Best Bet
General view of racing during the NASCAR Cup Series Food City at Bristol Motor Speedway last year. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

NASCAR’s Cup Series resumes on Sunday in Bristol. But the event in Bristol will be special, unique, and a lot of fun because Bristol’s racing track has been converted from concrete into dirt. So you won’t want to miss this. But how will you want to bet on it?

The top sportsbooks have released their odds for this event. Although, it was always obvious who the favorite was going to be. Read ahead for a breakdown of all you need to know for this event, plus betting advice.

NASCAR Cup Series: Food City Dirt Race

Sunday, March 28, 2021 – 3:30 P.M. ET at Bristol Motor Speedway

Race Info 

NASCAR Cup Series’ upcoming Food City Dirt Race will take place at Bristol, where its concrete surface has turned into a dirt one for this event. This competition will be contested over 250 laps, after which drivers whose cars are still running will have accumulated 133.25 miles.

There are three Stages for this event. Stage 1 and Stage 2 both require 75 laps. The final Stage will take 100 laps to complete. Like in previous weeks, an entry list for this event has been posted. 39 cars will participate.

Pit stops, however, are going to be different. Unless there is an incident, drivers will only be permitted to perform maintenance actions like refueling and tire-changing during a break between stages.

Starting Lineup 

Because this event is unique — it’s been over 50 years since a NASCAR Cup Series event was run on dirt — the preparation for it will also be unique. Due to COVID, practice and qualifying sessions have generally been scrapped, depriving us of opportunities to see the drivers and their cars navigate the course before the event. But for this upcoming event, there will be both practicing and qualifying. There will be two practice sessions, each of which is allotted 50 minutes.

For qualifying, which will determine the starting lineup, there will be three heats. Three of the heats will consist of 10 drivers and one in nine drivers. Team owner points will be used to determine the starting position for these heats. Each qualifying heat will be 15 laps. Drivers will gain a point for every position that they advance. If there are any tiebreakers, team owner points will be used.

NASCAR Cup Series
Kyle Larson, of the #5 Chevrolet, Ryan Blaney, of the #12 BodyArmor Ford, Kyle Busch, of the #18 M&M’s Messages Toyota, and Alex Bowman, of the #48 Ally Chevrolet. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

Track Info 

It’s important to note for your online sports betting that this track that drivers will compete on this Sunday is different from what they have experienced previously in the NASCAR Cup Series. Different drivers have widely different levels of experience on dirt tracks. So driver history will be a key factor to consider when placing your best bets.

Competitors are speculating how the race will unfold, with one expectation being that the race will run more slowly than it normally would on Bristol’s concrete track. On a dirt surface, car handling feels different and functions differently than on other surfaces. Drivers will need to have a feel for the surface. One common feature of a dirt surface is the slickness that drivers will have to contend with.

Before the event, drivers will obviously make adjustments to their cars. They will want to keep dirt from intruding into their vehicle and possibly interrupt its optimal functionality. But given the lack of experience in preparing for and racing on this type of surface, problems are going to be inevitable. Preparation is also complicated because of the fact that a dirt racing surface will transform rather radically throughout the race.

My Guy 

Because NASCAR’s Cup Series had not offered a dirt racing event since today’s competitors were alive, we have to look outside of the Cup Series for predictive guidance. Kyle Larson is easily the most accomplished driver on this type of surface, as evidenced by his 2020 win percentage and win total on the dirt racing surface. So his success on dirt is both great and recent. 

In his overall recent history, his driving has been fast and superb. So even if he weren’t the proven and excellent dirt track racer that he is, you’d expect him to at least be in the running to win. He has finished top-two in two of NASCAR’s last three events. With all of the extra variables for this race, Larson is a known element that you can depend on for your NASCAR betting picks.

Best Bet: Kyle Larson Winner at +250 with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

Kyle Larson to Win(+250)
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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.