2021 Food City Dirt Race: NASCAR CUP Preview, Odds, Picks, Longshots
Photo by Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
2021 Food City Dirt Race
Sunday March 28, 2021 3:30pm
Where to Watch: FOX Stream live sports and exclusive originals on ESPN+. Sign up now!
NASCAR Cup Series heading to my neck of the woods at the Bristol Motor Speedway coming up on Sunday. The Food City Dirt Race marks the first time in 50 years that the NASCAR Cup Series has competed on a dirt surface, so there are many unknowns heading into the race. There are a few drivers that come from a dirt racing background, and the books have done a great job identifying those drivers. Starting positions will be determined via 4 heat races that will be completed on Saturday.
Here are a few drivers to consider for the Food City Dirt Race.
Kyle Larson +250- Larson coming in as the heavy favorite for Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race, and for good reason. Larson is one of the drivers competing on Sunday that comes from a dirt racing background, with most recent competition in the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars. Larson finished 2nd in the Bristol Dirt Nationals Super Late Model event held last Saturday evening at Bristol. Larson most likely has the most seat time heading into this event on the Bristol dirt surface, and I think he has the best shot of winning on Sunday afternoon.
Christopher Bell +700- Bell is another driver that comes from a dirt racing background and will be in top notch equipment here with Joe Gibbs Racing. Bell captured the win on the Daytona Road Course back in February, so he has proven his adaptability to each discipline already in the Cup Series. Bell off a disappointing finish last Sunday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway of 21st looking for a rebound at Bristol this week.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. +1300- Stenhouse hasn’t raced much on a dirt surface as of late but comes from the dirt racing background. On a normal Cup Series Sunday, the track will go through some changes based on track temperature and a couple of other factors that can significantly change the way the cars handle. On a dirt racing surface, the changes the track will go through can be every 5 laps on a surface like Bristol. Stenhouse has been great in sniffing out the preferred lines in any vehicle and I think he has a good shot to take home the checkers on Sunday.
Stewart Friesen +1600- Friesen will make his Cup Series debut on Sunday afternoon at Bristol in the Food City Dirt Race, coming up from the NASCAR Truck Series. Friesen has 4 Truck Series starts at Eldora Speedway in Ohio that is a dirt track. Friesen has 3 top 3 finishes in the 4 starts at Eldora, including winning the most previous race there in 2019. Friesen also won 3 qualifying races on the same race dates at Eldora. Friesen comes into Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race with a lot if not the most NASCAR dirt racing experience, and I won’t be shocked to see him in contention in the final stage.
Tyler Reddick +2000- Reddick should be very happy to be heading to Bristol for Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race. Reddick finished 2nd at Homestead in February, but after that has failed to achieve a top 20 finish. Reddick is another that comes from a dirt racing background and has experience on the dirt in the Truck Series at Eldora Speedway. In the 3 starts at Eldora, Reddick finished 11th, 3rd, and 5th respectively as well as winning 2 heat races at Eldora. Reddick has the talent to find the preferred line around the dirt tracks and should have a great shot of winning on Sunday afternoon.