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Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Christopher Bell to win the race at +650
Jonathan Davenport to finish in the top three (+1500) and top five (+800)
Tyler Reddick to beat Kyle Larson head-to-head at +100
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Face it. Kyle Busch’s victory in last year’s Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway was a gift.
Busch was running third when the second-place Ford of Chase Briscoe charged into the final corner and spun the Chevrolet of leader Tyler Reddick within 200 yards of the finish line.
Busch crossed the stripe before Reddick could right his car, but don’t expect lightning to strike again this year.
And don’t be tempted to back the defending winner at the relatively long odds of +1200 via DraftKings Sportsbook. There are too many excellent dirt racers in the field.
Sunday night’s Food City Dirt Race features the NASCAR Cup Series debut of dirt late model superstar Jonathan Davenport.
Davenport has earned the nickname “Superman” many times over. He’s the unquestioned master of his craft and currently is the reigning winner of two of the most lucrative and prestigious dirt late model races—the Eldora Million and the Lucas Oil Late Model Nationals.
Davenport has never driven a Cup car on dirt or on pavement, but he’s a quick study. He can also benefit from the expertise of Kaulig Racing teammate Justin Haley, who won three dirt modified races in as many days at Volusia (Fla.) Speedway earlier this year.
Though we don’t think Davenport will win on Sunday in his maiden Cup race, he’s talented enough and has enough dirt experience to threaten the top three (+1500 via DraftKings) and top five (+800 via DraftKings).
At those prices, we’re willing to take a flyer on Superman.
The first two Food City Dirt Races at Bristol Motor Speedway produced unexpected winners—Joey Logano in the inaugural event and Kyle Busch last year.
Neither Logano nor Busch is an experienced dirt racer, and Christopher Bell thinks it’s high time for a winner who’s comfortable with the red clay surface to emerge.
The two leading candidates are Bell, who won three straight Chili Bowl Nationals 2017-2019, and Kyle Larson, who has won on dirt in a wide variety of race cars—from midgets to sprint cars to Silver Crown cars to late models.
“Last year, I had moments in the race where I was really fast, and it was a lot of fun,” recalled Bell, who finished seventh on Bristol Dirt in 2022. “Then I had moments in the race where I was struggling, and it wasn’t very enjoyable.
“Hopefully, a dirt guy can finally win. It’s been funny, we’ve gone twice now, and a dirt guy has not won. Hopefully, I can change that.”
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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