NASCAR has turned Bristol Motor Speedway into a dirt track. No one really knows what to expect in this race. Most people and the odds-makers predict that the drivers with an extensive dirt track racing background will dominate this race. The drivers in the garage without a lot of experience on dirt think there will be a driver with limited dirt track experience in Victory Lane Sunday?
So who will be the best bets? I wanted to get some bets in before the practices Friday and the Heat Races Sunday. The odds will change a lot after the on-track activities Friday and Saturday so I want to get in on some drivers before the odds change.
One more note… Kyle Larson is on a hot-streak right now and he is by far the favorite to win this race. “Young Money” is arguably the best driver on dirt tracks in the world right now. His odds suck though. You will have to bet a lot of money in order to win any money on Larson Sunday. I am go to wait with the No. 5 car. If he crashes in practice or in the Heat Race, his odds should come down (a little). If they do, I will put some money on Larson to win, but I am not betting his at 2-1 odds.
DraftKings Odds for Food City Dirt 500
* The odds could change between the time of this article and the time you place your bet
** The first number is the amount of money based on the second number (the amount of the wager). So if you bet $1 on Kyle Busch., you will win $18.
Here are my “Best Bets” for the race at Bristol…
Kyle Busch (18-1): The more things change, the more they stay the same… NASCAR turned Bristol into a dirt track so that should change everything Sunday, right? Maybe not. Kyle Busch has dominated the races in Thunder Valley for years and I will bet some money that Rowdy is back in Victory Lane Sunday. He is a wheel-man, who is very good at figuring out new cars. He won the first race in the “Car of Tomorrow” at Bristol and he could win the inaugural Bristol Dirt Race.
Tyler Reddick (20-1): I feel like Tyler Reddick is getting overlooked this week. There are a lot of drivers with less dirt track experience as Reddick receiving a lot of hype. The crew chiefs I talked to said this track should race like Homestead. We all saw Reddick nearly ride the wall to Victory Lane at Homestead. I will get in on Reddick at 20-1 odds and hope he can ride the cushion to Victory Lane Sunday.
Denny Hamlin (30-1): We will not see 30-1 odds on Denny Hamlin to win all season. He is not a dirt track ace, but I do like what he said in his interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio last week. Hamlin has one of the best race simulators in his house. He said he has been running the Bristol Dirt Track in his house for a couple of weeks and he has over 50 races completed. I am not sure how that experience is going to translate into success Sunday, but the word in the Garage is the race will be similar to Homestead. Few drivers are as good in Miami as Hamlin. I will get my bets in at 30-1 before Hamlin shows some speed in practice and the Heat Races.
Alex Bowman (35-1): My pick with Alex Bowman is more of a gut feeling than anything else. Bowman is not known as a great driver on dirt, but he does own a dirt track team. I am sure some of his drivers have given Bowman some pointers for the race Sunday. Bowman is also one of the best drivers at figuring out the race simulator and using that information for the real races. I heard Bowman spent a lot of time in the simulator this week, preparing for the dirt race. I think his odds will come down after practice and the Heat Races so I will bet him now at 35-1 odds.
Long-Shot Special: My Long-Shot Special this week is Matt DiBenedetto (40-1). He started racing on dirt in California as a kid. Kyle Larson once said, “DiBenedetto is a talented driver. When I was racing in California, the drivers were always comparing themselves to Matty-D. If you could keep up with him, you knew you were good. He was one of the best at driving a car out of control.” That is high-praise from the favorite to win this race. I interviewed DiBenedetto when I worked at Speedway Digest. This was right after he finished 6th at Bristol in 2016. I asked him what track he thinks he could win at. He said, “By far Bristol. It just fits my driving style.” Maybe this is the week it happens. Some drivers said they will have to “muscle the car” around the track Sunday. Who has more muscle than DiBenedetto? LOL
Good luck this week!
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