Bet Sunday NASCAR: The Eckel 4 pick Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson in the Food City Dirt Race from Bristol
Food City Dirt Race, Bristol, Tenn. 3:30 p.m. TV: Fox
For the first time since 1970, NASCAR will have a Cup Series race on dirt.
Sunday in Bristol is the Food City Dirt Race, a 250-lap trek which promises to be different.
And what else would it be in this NASCAR season that has seen six different winners through the first six races and big-name drivers such as Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and last year’s Cup Champion Chase Elliott yet to drive down Victory Lane?
Two early-season winners — Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson — are the two favorites this week because of their experience on dirt. Will one of them become the first repeat winner of 2021? Let’s see what The Eckel 4, which as always includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker, Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney and Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis, think.
Here are our Sunday selections for the winner and your fantasy teams.
Christopher Bell (11-2): The winner of the Daytona Road Course in week two is a three-time winner of the Chili Bowl, one of the biggest dirt racing events. Bell and his No. 20 Toyota was also second fastest in Friday’s practice. That was enough for two of “The 4’’ to put him on top.
Ryan Blaney (16-1): Last week’s winner in Atlanta (and the Eckel 4’s longshot play last week, you’re welcome) has good odds again. Although after posting the fastest time Friday he will probably see some late money. If this was a horse race you could say Blaney was bred for dirt since his father and uncle were both very good dirt drivers. “The Dr.’’ who grew up watching dirt races in Virginia, likes Blaney’s chances.
Kyle Larson (5-2): The Las Vegas winner, who could have easily won the past two weeks in Phoenix and Atlanta, is the big favorite because of his past success in dirt races (back-to-back Chili Bowl wins, a string of wins last season). He will, however, start from the rear after a change of engines Friday. That scared off “Left Turn’’, but not “Tobacco Road’’ who still put Larson on top.
Others to Watch: Austin Dillon (10-1); Alex Bowman (20-1); Kyle Busch (18-1).