Happy Easter from Birdies and Burnouts to yours! May your day be filled with beautiful Spring weather, more candy than you can count, and a giant heaping of… dirt on Sunday night. With maybe a side of rain? This weekend marks the third running of the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, and it’s shaping up to be the wonderfully chaotic mess that we’ve all come to expect. A wild qualifying session last evening makes it tough to pick the who’s who of this week, but a look at the results from last year and a little consideration for personality should put us in the ballpark. 2023 has been wild out of the gate- don’t expect that to change now. Let the divebombing commence.
Driver to Fade:
Tough one, especially at a race where cautions come every other lap and it seems like chance plays a bigger role than with other tracks. Aric Almirola has had a rocky start to 2023. It’s hard to tell if he’s all in on this season, especially given the fact that we weren’t too sure he’d even be back this year. He’s been the cause of a caution quite a few times this season, and seems a little harder than usual on his equipment. Bristol doesn’t help with that. Starting 19th here today, his results here in the past are a tad shaky. Buying low this week.
The hardest pick of the week, for sure… given the results from qualifying last night. I’m gonna go with a guy who’s starting outside the Top 15, but who I believe we’ve not seen the last of in 2023. Our Daytona 500 winner, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. He came very close here two years ago to taking the inaugural trophy home with him. And I believe this is a race he keeps circled on his calendar year-round. He’s got an extensive résumé on dirt, having been the USAC Sprint Car Rookie of the Year in 2007. This year, he’s been a guy who, when he’s on, he’s on. When he’s not, it’s obvious. I don’t look for the #47 to struggle this evening and expect him up front at some point.
The winner of the Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt last evening, with Blaney in his ear, we’re taking the #22, defending champion Joey Logano, to have a strong showing this evening. He starts just outside the Top 10, though expect him to make his way to the front early on. He was the inaugural winner here in 2021 and is surely looking to continue what’s been a promising performance so far in 2023. Not sure we need to sell this one any further this week- his results speak for itself.
I just couldn’t find it within myself this week to pick against a guy who may very well be the greatest dirt driver of our time. Kyle Larson is starting on the pole tonight and is coming off a well overdue win at Richmond just a week ago. I’m not going to get into his results on dirt…if you even have to ask, I advise that you return to motor sport racing 101 for a “crash course,” (ha—see what I did there?), on noteworthy dirt performances. Look for the #5 to take the checkered today.