On Sunday, May 31st, NASCAR will be live from the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee, for the Food City 500. This race was officially renamed to the “Food City presents Supermarket Heroes 500” this week. However, most outlets and fans still refer to it as just the Food City 500.
This race was originally scheduled to take place on April 5th, but was rescheduled due to the health crisis at the time. After four straight races in the Carolinas, NASCAR drivers, teams and fans are looking forward to some normalcy with racing at other tracks.
NASCAR betting sites have Kyle Busch listed as the odds on favorite as he’s won the last two Food City 500 races. Busch is followed closely by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. as betting favorites to win at Bristol.
Bristol Motor Speedway, also known as “Thunder Valley,” is one of NASCAR’s oldest venues. It’s also the perfect example of short track racing as BMS is just 0.533 miles per lap.
The Food City 500 is set to begin at 3:30 PM ET and will air live on FS1.
With all of the racing action excitement heading into Sunday’s event, the following storylines are worth keeping an eye on at Bristol:
The first incarnation of this spring Bristol race was run in 1961 and won by Joe Weatherly. Rusty Wallace holds the all-time record for most Food City 500 wins with six. However Kyle Busch is close behind with five while his brother has four.
The following is a list of the most recent winners of the Food City 500:
There are only seven active drivers who have won the Food City 500 race.
The following NASCAR betting odds for the Food City 500 are courtesy of DraftKings:
According to most NASCAR betting sites, the following drivers are considered the odds on favorites to win the Food City 500 from Bristol on Sunday:
|Driver||Wins||Top 5||Top 10||Avg Start||Avg Finish||DNF|
|Martin Truex Jr.||0||2||3||16.0||20.6||4|
Since returning to racing, Kyle Busch has had two Top 5s and two finishes outside of the Top 25. On Thursday, Busch finished 29th in the second Charlotte race after finishing 4th on Sunday. He’s dropped from 8th to 12th overall in the standings as a result of his poor showing in the Alsco Uniforms 500.
Now, Busch comes to a racetrack where he’s been fantastic at. He leads all drivers with eight wins at Bristol Motor Speedway and has the 4th best average finish among active drivers with at least three starts at 13.4. He also has 12 Top 5s and 17 Top 10s.
Busch has won the last two Food City 500 races and three of the last five overall BMS races. He’s scored four Top 5s in the last five NASCAR Cup events at this track.
With these numbers it’s easy to see why he’s the favorite. Added to this is the fact that Busch has yet to win this season after eight races and the frustrations are sinking in. Of the betting favorites, Busch will the man to beat with at least a Top 3 finish (+115) on the menu for Sunday’s race.
Logano still sits second overall in the standings, but has trimmed Kevin Harvick’s lead down to 14 points. The #22 car finished 6th at Charlotte on Thursday and led 42 laps in the race. He’s been in the Top 3 in the standings since winning at Las Vegas in the second race of the season.
In 22 starts at Bristol, Logano has two wins, six Top 5s, 10 Top 10s, an average finish of 15.0, and just one DNF. It’s important to note that one DNF as this track is notorious for drivers crashing out due to the short track style of racing.
Logano has never won the Food City 500 as both wins have come in the second Bristol race of the season. He finished 3rd in this race last year and has four straight Top 10s in the Food City 500.
I like his chances of a Top 10 finish and possibly a Top 5, but I’m not sure he will get a Top 3 (+180) or be able to beat Joe Gibbs Racing on Sunday.
Despite finishing 2nd at Charlotte on Thursday, Hamlin still sits 8th in the standings. However, his two victories is tied with Logano for the most this season. Additionally, he’s posted three Top 5s in the four races since NASCAR returned to action.
At Bristol, Denny Hamlin has been solid. He won the fall Bristol race last year and posted a 5th place finish in the 2019 edition of the Food City 500. He has 14 Top 10s in 28 starts and a 14.4 average finish which is 9th best among active drivers.
Hamlin has one win, four Top 5s, and five Top 10s in the last seven races at BMS. His worse finishes were 14th. Denny has been a perennial Top 15 car for the last four years and I definitely expect him to beat that mark on Sunday.
With Hamlin’s strong showings in three of the last four races, and his recent success at Bristol, I believe he’s a Top 3 car (+225) this weekend. He could pick up the slack for Joe Gibbs Racing if Kyle Busch falters at Bristol on Sunday.
As mentioned above, Kevin Harvick still sits atop the standings. Albeit, his lead has shrunk over the last two races by over 20 points. However, Harvick is the only driver to finish in the Top 10 for all eight races this season so far. He did lead 63 laps in the Alsco Uniforms 500, but ended up 10th overall.
Harvick last won this race in 2005. However, he did win the fall Bristol race in 2016. Furthermore, he has seven Top 10s in the last nine BMS races with three Top 5s over that span as well. His 13.8 average finish at BMS is 6th best among active drivers.
Could this be the week that Harvick fails to finish with a Top 10 result? It’s certainly possible. The #4 car did finish 39th and 13th in the Bristol races last year.
I think with Harvick’s success in 2020, he will be able to survive at Bristol and crack the Top 10. With that said, I don’t expect him to compete for a checkered flag or even a Top 3 spot (+225).
Despite finishing 9th at Charlotte on Thursday, Truex fell two spots to 7th in the standings. He has yet to win this season, but does have four straight Top 10 finishes since NASCAR returned to racing. Unfortunately, Truex is heading to a track where he hasn’t had much success at.
At tracks where the lap distance is at least 1.5 miles, Truex is a beast. He’s also great on road courses as well. However, when you put him on a short track, he doesn’t have a lot of luck.
In 28 starts, Truex has just two Top 5s and three Top 10s. He has more DNFs (4) than Top 10 finishes. He’s scored two DNFs in two of the last four BMS races.
Last year, Truex finished 17th in this race and 13th in the fall Bristol race. He hasn’t scored a Top 5 finish in this race since 2011 and there’s no way he will on Sunday. Truex will be lucky to even crack the Top 10 this weekend. Of all the betting favorites, I would avoid Truex this weekend.
The following NASCAR drivers offer betting value for the Food City 500 due to their current betting odds, their past success at Bristol Motor Speedway, and their 20120 season so far:
|Driver||Wins||Top 5||Top 10||Avg Start||Avg Finish||DNF|
|Rickey Stenhouse Jr.||0||4||6||19.3||14.4||1|
For the third time in the last four races, Kurt Busch scored a Top 7 finish when he ended up 5th in the Alsco Uniforms 500. It helped him climb up to 10th overall in the driver standings and it also built more momentum for the #1 car as he heads into one of his favorite tracks.
Like his brother Kyle, Kurt Busch has raced really well at Bristol. He has six wins, 12 Top 5s, 20 Top 10s, and a 14.2 average finish in 38 starts. That’s the third most Top 10s and the 8th best average finish among active drivers.
Busch has three straight Top 9 finishes at BMS including a 2nd place result in last year’s Food City 500. He finished behind his brother and would love to beat him this Sunday. Kurt Busch last won at Bristol in the fall of 2018 and offers solid value this weekend.
I like Kurt Busch more than Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr. In fact, I believe Kurt Busch could end up with a Top 3 finish (+350) and contend with his brother for the checkered flag.
Ryan Blaney is flying under the radar and that’s just fine with the #12 team. Blaney and his crew have no pressure on them, but they continue to perform beyond expectations. Blaney scored two third place finishes in the Charlotte races, which has boosted him from 11th to 6th in the standings.
At Bristol, Blaney has three straight Top 10 finishes and four in the last five BMS races. He finished 4th in the Food City 500 last year, which included leading 158 laps.
I like Blaney’s value with his strong showings in Charlotte and his recent success at this track. I believe that Blaney could sneak into the Top 5 on Sunday. With a little luck, he could contend with the Busch brothers or Joe Gibbs Racing late in the race.
Stenhouse enters this race sitting 20th in the standings. He jumped up four spots after finishing 4th in Charlotte on Thursday. That’s his second Top 4 result of the season and he now heads to Bristol where he’s had some success at in the past.
Stenhouse has a 14.4 average finish, which ties him with Denny Hamlin, but it’s better than Logano, Blaney, Truex, and Keselowski who are all drivers with higher odds to win than the #17 car.
Last year, Stenhouse finished 33rd with a bad car. But, that shouldn’t cause us to ignore his success in the Food City 500 in previous years. In 2014, he finished 2nd in this race. In 2015, he ended up 4th. In 2017, he was 9th and in 2018, he was 4th overall. That’s 4.75 average finish over that span.
I believe Stenhouse has value this weekend and could be a sneaky play. His best chances are to stay out of trouble and wait until the end of the race to really make a move for the lead. I would say he’s a Top 10 car that needs a little luck to compete for the checkered flag.
Daniel Suarez at +20000 odds is my pick for the longshot of the week. This is solely based on his history at Bristol. For the 2020 season, Suarez has been a disappointment with his highest finish being 21st overall.
Yet, at Bristol, Suarez has the 2nd best average finish among active drivers at 13.0. He’s never finished worse than 18th at this track. Last year, he was 8th in both Bristol races. The key to his success will be where he starts on Sunday.
If he starts back in the pack, it could be a long day for the #41 car. However, if he can start in the Top 15 then Suarez could be a Top 10 car on Sunday and surprise many fans with a high finish.
My top five drivers for Bristol on Sunday are the Busch brothers, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano. I’m very tempted to replace Blaney or Logano with Chase Elliott, but since he won on Thursday, I’m going to leave the #9 car out of the Top 5 this weekend.
That’s probably another mistake on my part since I almost picked Elliott to win the Alsco Uniforms 500, but went with Truex instead.
I believe Logano and Blaney can crack the Top 5, but I don’t see either winning this race. Ultimately, I believe we’re going to have a battle between brothers or teammates as this race could end up coming down to Hamlin and the Busch Brothers. With that said, I’m going with Kyle Busch to win on Sunday.
He’s just too good at this track not to be a contender for the checkered flag and he’s desperate to get his first win of the season. Busch has stated he’s looking forward to racing at Bristol and I see the #18 car taking his first checkered flag of 2020.
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