Race: Food City 500
Date: Sunday April 19, 2015
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
Jimmie Johnson kept his Texas streak running strong by taking the checkers last weekend during the Duck Commander 500. This is now his 4th win out of 7 races at the track. That doesn’t seem too shabby. Brad Keselowski rallied back after a pit road penalty hitting the commitment cone to grab a top 5 spot. He probably could’ve taken the win, though. That was definitely Keselowski’s mistake. This weekend, we are headed to another potential win for Keselowski at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Bristol Motor Speedway is the opposite of Texas. It’s the epitome of short tracks. This track is a little bit bigger than Martinsville but not quite as large as Richmond. This track has a massive amount of history behind it, including some of the best brawls seen in NASCAR. The on-track action is just as exciting as the off-track action. The key to this place is keeping tempers in check. That is a tall order on this 0.533-mile track with 26-30 degree banking in the turns and 6-10 degrees on the straights. The straights are a very short 650 feet.
With such demanding track conditions, drivers have to take good care of their cars. Tires and brakes are a commodity here. One of the most important factors other than maintaining equipment includes track position. As with any short track, it gets very crowded on this track. Drivers are constantly battling lap traffic from almost the beginning of the race. Getting around those guys can be a challenge because the lap cars are racing each other side by side. This tends to keep the few drivers that are in the top 5 to top 10 pretty close on the track. Competition is fierce, and it’s inevitable that fenders rub. If you come out of Bristol without marks on your car, you are probably not racing hard enough.
There are quite a few guys who are historically good here. This is a place, though, where quite a few struggle. We talk at length about the unpredictability of the super speedways. Bristol, in fact, emulates that unpredictability in a short-track fashion. The veterans have gained experience enough to know how to stay out of trouble for the most part. They understand where to run on the track and where to stay, and they are often in trouble due to the mistakes of the rookies on these types of tracks. When it comes to the strongest drivers this weekend, I would look again at the Penske garage. Joey Logano, in particular, is the defending winner here, and I believe that he should have a strong run again this weekend. Teammate Keselowski does very well here also and has multiple wins. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are old pros and are good choices. Let’s take a look at the full rundown for potential winners this week:
My Pick to Win: Joey Logano
Middle of the Road Pick: Kasey Kahne
Dark Horse Prediction: Danica Patrick
Bet your Food City 500 picks for FREE by taking advantage of a HUGE 100% bonus currently offered at 1Vice Sportsbook!
It’s dangerous to pick Danica still. She has yet to build consistency, but she did perform well at Martinsville. Again, I think that we have to keep our focus on this year’s finishes rather than historical wins when it comes to picking our top drivers. Historical wins do matter, but this year, those trends don’t seem to be as reliable. Clearly, that is the case when you look at how our points are falling.
Here are your current top 12 after last week’s race:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Joey Logano
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Kasey Kahne
6. Jimmie Johnson
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
8. Denny Hamlin
9. Aric Almirola
10. David Ragan
11. Jamie McMurray
12. Matt Kenseth
As you can see, the points are still up and down. It doesn’t seem like we’ve reached a plateau quite yet like we’ve seen in previous years. Harvick is still standing strong at the top of the points, but Logano is in range 26 points behind. Martin Truex Jr. is holding strong and really impressing most with how consistent he’s been this year. Overall, Bristol should give a pretty good idea of the veterans with experience versus the rookies who aren’t quite there yet. Look for Bristol to add some fuel to the fire as drivers push their way through the crowd to get to the front of the pack on Sunday! For the most wager offerings on this race (and the fastest payouts online!), bet Nascar races at 5Dimes.
Food City 500 Betting Odds
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Martin Truex Jr