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Fantasy Picks and Predicitions: Food City 500

By admin | March 18, 2009

By Richard Allen


Track and Location: Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee

Track Layout: .533 mile oval with progressive banking going up to 36 degrees in the turns.

Race Distance: 500 laps

Date of Race: Sunday(March 22, 2009)

Radio Coverage: PRN(1:00pm Eastern)

Television Coverage: Fox(1:30pm Eastern)

Start Time: 2:10pm Eastern

Last Year’s Winner: Jeff Burton

This is usually one of the most anticipated races of the early season. After Daytona, the Sprint Cup Series runs three races in a row on 1.5- 2 mile ‘cookie cutter’ type tracks. This race marks the first run of the season on a short track which means there will be plenty of beating and banging and very little mention of aerodynamics.

43 cars on such a small track at such high speeds makes for a tight squeeze.

One thing fantasy players have to take into consideration is that, like restrictor plate races, drivers can find themselves involved in an incident they had nothing to do with at its beginning.

Much of the fantasy information shown below applies to the ESPN Fantasy Stock Car Challenge. However, the thoughts below can be applied to most NASCAR fantasy games.

Here are some thoughts for the Food City 500:

Drivers who should do well: Drivers who have a record of doing well here in the past often continue to do well. There is a knack for getting around this track and staying out of trouble.

Clint Bowyer- He is very good on the short tracks. He had two Top 10s here last year. RCR cars always perform well on this track. He would be a good pick in that he could stay on your team for a couple of weeks.

Kevin Harvick- Another RCR car. He has won here in the past and he had two Top 5s here last year. Would have likely won this race in 2008 if not for a late race tangle with Tony Stewart.

Jeff Burton- Might as well include another RCR car, especially since he won this race in the spring last season.

Kurt Busch- His team looks like it is really coming together as was shown in Atlanta. He has multiple wins here.

Jeff Gordon- He used to dominate the spring race here. He may well be poised to do that again.

David Gilliland- This could be a real value pick. He had a Top 10 here last year and his team has been a pleasant surprise this season.

Aric Almirola- He had a Top 10 in this race last year. He could also be a nice value pick.

Drivers to avoid: This is one of the most unique tracks on the circuit. As said before, there is a knack for staying out of trouble here. Those who have the knack just have and those who don’t just don’t.

Casey Mears- This is an RCR car to avoid. He had a 41st and a 42nd here last year while driving for Hendrick.

Jimmie Johnson- He had a pole here last year but his best finish was 18th. He has only two Top 5s in 14 career starts here.

Bobby Labonte- Only three Top 5s in 32 career starts here. He just has never really been that good on this track.

Brian Vickers- In 9 career starts he has never had a Top 10 at BMS.

Michael Waltrip- Only one Top 5 in 45 starts here.

Winner of the Food City 500: Jeff Gordon

These are only suggestions. Do your own research and enjoy the Food City 500.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

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