Bristol Free Picks

This week Nascar returns to it's roots when it pays a visit to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500. It's time for some good ole’ short track racing with some banking thrown in to make things interesting.

Of all the tracks on the Nascar circuit, Bristol might be my favorite since it is usually non-stop action with lots of bumping and rubbing from start to finish. This is a track where some of the favorites tend to struggle (i.e. Jimmie Johnson), while others seem to thrive. So look for a few drivers up front to have a real shot of winning at decent odds.
Kevin Harvick 12/1
Kevin Harvick has always enjoyed great success here, but has really taken to the new surface that was put in a few years ago with three top 5 finishes in four starts. Ever since the new surface was put in, cars have been able to pass on any part of the track, which has really seemed to help Harvick and has made racing here even better. When you look at how Harvick has run here throughout his career - with one win and nine top five finishes and a average finish of 9.6 – I think 12/1 with Harvick offers great value on a proven driver who knows how to get around this difficult track. I make him my best bet.

Denny Hamlin 10/1
Denny Hamlin has always been a short track specialist and if it weren’t for some bad luck on various short tracks, he might be called the king of short tracks racing. He dominated the spring race last year until a late caution flag spoiled his day and he ended up with a disappointing sixth placed finish. In six starts here, he has only finished outside the top 14 just once, with a average finish of 14.3, which is an inflated number due to a 43rd place finish. (And without that one bad finish, his average dips down to 8.3.) I wouldn't be surprised one bit if Hamlin broke the jinx this week that seems to follow him wherever he visits a short track.

Kurt Busch 8/1
I was very disappointed seeing Busch win the last race since I was looking forward to making him my top play this week at a nice price. But his win really cut into his odds this week, unfortunately. This team probably struggled more than any other team adapting to the COT, but this year they have finally seemed to get a handle with it and have returned the Blue Deuce back to it's old self. Kurt Busch leads all active drivers with five wins at Bristol, but with his recent struggles here - coupled with the new ca -, give him shorter odds. Due to his recent win I just couldn't see making him my top play at this price.

I have been betting against rookie driver Joey Logano in matchups all year with mixed results. But that’s mostly due to his bad luck with the drivers he has been matched up against, rather than Logano having success so far. No track is tougher on rookies than Bristol and I think Joey will be in for a very, very long day behind the wheel, so look to bet against him with any driver who has shown he can handle Bristol.

Bet on the Food City 500

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Posted: 3/19/09 11:45AM ET

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