Event: NASCAR Monster Energy | 2018 Food City 500
Date: Sunday Aprik 15th, 2018 2:00 PM ET
Location: Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol Tennessee
To Thunder Valley we go for the world’s fastest half-mile at Bristol Motor Speedway as the drivers of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series descend on Tennessee for the Food City 500. Technically, the oval is just over a half mile at Bristol, so the 500 laps will result in 266.5 miles of racing action on Sunday afternoon , April 15, with a 2 p.m. ET start time . The race will be broadcast on Fox. This is the eighth race of the NASCAR season for the Cup Series drivers . The more seasoned drivers may have a lighter load this weekend, as Xfinity Series is running the first of four Dash 4 Cash events, and Cup Series guys with more than five years of experience that have been running for points are not eligible to run in Saturday’s Xfinity event.
Odds To Win 2018 Food City 500 :
Kyle Busch +400
Kevin Harvick +500
Martin Truex Jr +650
Kyle Larson +725
Erik Jones +1350
Denny Hamlin +1350
Joey Logano +1350
Brad Keselowski +1350
Chase Elliott +1350
Jimmie Johnson +1650
Ryan Blaney +1650
Kurt Busch +2250
Clint Bowyer +2250
Aric Almirola +4400
Ricky Stenhouse Jr +8800
Ryan Newman +8800
Daniel Suarez +8800
Jamie McMurray +8800
Trevor Bayne +11500
Paul Menard +11500
Alex Bowman +11500
Austin Dillon +11500
William Byron +22500
Kasey Kahne +55000
Darrell Wallace Jr +55000
AJ Allmendinger +55000
Nascar Monster Energy Cup Series Points Leaders
Kyle Busch, who scored his first win of the season last week at Texas Motor Speedway, leads the field in points with a commanding edge over Joey Logano and the rest of the challengers. Busch now has 316 points and also leads the way in stage points with 89. Joey Logano is second with 278 points. Ryan Blaney is a surprising third with 265 points, and Kevin Harvick, who leads all drivers with three wins, is only fourth in points because he was penalized 20 points at Las Vegas and also lost some playoff points. Martin Truex Jr. rounds out the top five.
Clint Bowyer, the surprising winner at Martinsville two races ago, is sixth. The only other driver with a win this year is Austin Dillon, who is 13th in points. That could loom large when we get down to selecting the 16 playoff participants. Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Larson round out the top 10.
Bristol Motor Speedway is about as straightforward as it gets for a race track with four turns, short straightaways, and lots of excited spectators. The night race in the summer is one of the hardest tickets to get in racing. It is built in cylindrical fashion like a coliseum, which is why it is the loudest venue in racing. This is the race for those who love the roar of those high-powered engines. Last year’s race was moved to Monday because of rain. Hopefully that doesn’t happen this week, as the drivers will head for Richmond for a Saturday race next weekend.
Favorites to Win
The race favorite this week is Kyle Busch at +400. Busch is a three-time winner of this race, but his most recent win came all the way back in 2011. He is also a three-time winner of the summer night race. You would think six wins at Bristol would rate high all-time, but Darrell Waltrip won 12 times at this track. Busch is a favorite for a reason, after winning the summer race and with five straight top-three finishes. He has finished 38th and 35th at Bristol in the spring race the last two years and 29th back in 2014, so he has NOT had much fortune lately.
Kevin Harvick is +500. Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing Ford vehicle has regularly been one of the best. Last week, he ran into some issues and fell behind the cars on the lead lap, but still managed to work all the way back up to second place. That gives you an idea of what kind of car he had. He won the first stage before falling off the pace. He has three wins this season, but short tracks like this aren’t necessarily his strong point. He won this race back in 2005 and the summer race in 2016. Those are his only wins at the Cup Series level at Bristol. As good as he has been, this track really bunches everybody up, so his elite car may not be as much of a deciding factor.
Martin Truex Jr. is +650, but he also hasn’t had a ton of luck at short tracks. He’s more of a 1.5-mile track guy . In fact, Truex hasn’t had a top-five at Bristol since 2012. He is not a good bet at this price point this week. Kyle Larson at +725 is a better bet in this price range, though he still isn’t ideal. Larson did lead the most laps at Bristol last year in the spring and finished ninth in the summer. He did win on the three-quarter-mile track at Richmond, but three of his four wins last year came on two-mile raceways and his lone win in 2016 did as well.
With the cars all bunched up, a lot of craziness can happen. This is the type of race where you want to look down the board a bit. Denny Hamlin at +1350 is a decent value play. Hamlin runs very well in restrictor plate races and on short tracks. He likes racing in traffic a lot more than other drivers. He doesn’t have a win here since 2012, but he was third in the summer race in each of the last three years. The spring race hasn’t been as kind to him, but this is a race that suits him fairly well because of the short track.
Joey Logano at +1350 is also another decent option. Logano was fifth last year in this race and had back-to-back wins in the summer in 2014 and 2015. He hasn’t been able to take down this race, but last year’s fifth-place outcome was his best career finish in the spring at Bristol. He is a two-time winner on the small track at Richmond, so these types of races also suit him well.
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