This week’s race is probably the most anticipated of the year, excluding Daytona. For the first time since 1970 the Nascar cup series will be racing on dirt. Having transformed Bristol into a dirt track, we now have a wide open race with virtually no statistics for us to use to make our bets. Being a rather large dirt track racing fan, racecar builder, and driver I think I’ve got some takes that will give us an edge for the pretty wide open race.
Dirt racing is extremely different
Racing on dirt is like nothing else in racing. As an oval dirt track gets raced on the dirt actually slicks off. What began as a rather grippy track that you could use full throttle, turns into a ice rink where heavy traffic has been racing. If you decide to watch this race I’ll give you a tip. When the dirt is brown, it has moisture which means it has grip. When it’s black it means it’s hardened up and slicked off. This means it’s as slippery as driving your car on ice.
As the race goes on and the lanes slick off, drivers will be tasked with hanging out the ass end, or sliding the ass end around the turns to help them turn the car. The back of the car will be used to turn more so than the front. Throttle control and rotational control is going to be key in this race. This isn’t a normal asphalt race. Expect chaos to happen with these inexperienced dirt drivers trying to navigate the tricky surface that will legitimately change every lap.
With this kind of surface, and conditions being so new to a lot of these drivers we are going to want to put our money on someone who is experienced on dirt. Someone who can look at the track during the race and know exactly what to expect. Maybe even someone who is one of the most talented drivers in Nascar. Oh wait, there is one guy who fits all of those categories.
Kyle Larson +325
Normally I hate betting odds on favorites, but this is a clear exception. Kyle Larson has been one of the most talented race car drivers in the world for awhile now. He has Nascar cup series wins, and has been one of the most dominant dirt car drivers on the planet. Larson has won countless big money dirt racing races against the best in the business in multiple kinds of cars. He has won in Sprint cars on dirt, he has won in late models on dirt, he’s won in open wheel modifieds on dirt. I hate taking the favorite, but he is far and away the best pick for this race in Bristol. He is the most successful and experienced on dirt out of all other drivers.
Long shots I’ll have bets on
Chris Windom +10,000
Chris Windom is a new face in Nascar, just getting this chance to race because of the dirt. Windom is one of the greatest dirt track drivers around right now, being only the 7th driver ever to win the United States Auto Club triple crown. If this race was on asphalt, I wouldn’t even think about taking him (he wouldn’t be driving if it was on asphalt), but his elite dirt experience makes him worthy of a bet here. He is also from like 5 minutes away from my house, so I’m pulling for him in Bristol because of that also.
Gambling aside, this dude was born in Canton IL, down the road from me. This is a tiny area where almost everyone ends up staying here and working in a Union. He has become renowned in the racing community because of his hard work and dedication, and that’s a hell of an underdog story.
Mike Marlar +10,000
Once again this is a long shot, but the trend I’m going for is dirt experience. Mike Marlar is a very experienced, and skilled dirt car driver. Marlar has won the World of Outlaw Late Model Dirt Series, which is a giant deal in dirt racing. He is experienced, skilled, and fast. I like him being able to navigate this track as the conditions change, and maybe be able to pull the upset.
Bristol will be completely unpredictable. There is no past, no data points, and no trends to use here. So if you couldn’t already tell, my process here is simple. Take the favorite who is proven on dirt, and in the cup series, and take long shot dirt experienced drivers. The randomness of this race makes it impossible to predict how other drivers will preform, so I’m not even going to take a guess on them.
This race is one I’ve been waiting for, and I’m extremely excited. If you don’t have anything going on, turn this Bristol race on. You’ll thank me later. Also would like to advise anyone who has never been to a true dirt track, or watch late models, or other cars race, go do it. This Nascar race will be fun, but the original dirt track racing will always be the best. You won’t be disappointed.