NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Bass Pro Shops Night Race

NASCAR returns to Bristol on Saturday night. Which drivers should you roster in daily fantasy?

If you are looking for an action-packed way to get your sports fix, NASCAR may be a great avenue to explore. Far from just driving in circles, some of the world's best compete nearly every weekend from February to November on tracks across America. NASCAR drivers are scored ultimately based on how they finish in the race, how many spots they advance from their starting position, and how many laps they finish and lead. Avoiding drivers who crash out of the race is a must, of course!

Here at numberFire, we've always got you covered for everything NASCAR DFS. Our track preview breaks down this week's venue, and we also have The Heat Check Fantasy Podcast, where Jim Sannes breaks down his favorite plays for Sunday's slate. Jim also has a current form and odds breakdown to review how NASCAR's best drivers are performing recently analytically.

Brad Keselowski turned a solid track history at Richmond Raceway into a night to remember, as "Bad Brad" led 192 of 400 laps in a dominant win last Saturday night. That punched his ticket into the next round of NASCAR's playoffs, and Saturday night's race at Bristol remains before the next round. With huge point deficits to overcome, but solid track history at Bristol, Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney headline the list of 14 drivers still looking to advance to the next round.

This race's lineup was determined using NASCAR's weighted formula that combines owner points, last Saturday's finish at Richmond, and the fastest lap of each driver in that race, which puts Brad Keselowski on the pole for this event. All 16 playoff drivers will start in the first 16 spots, as will be the case for all playoff participants moving forward. Since pit stalls were selected solely by last week's finishing order, Keselowski also has the premier pit stall choice for this weekend.

500 laps are on the schedule for Saturday's race, which means cars that will lead laps are the focal point of building a high-upside FanDuel lineup. This track is so small and fast, yet tough to pass, so chasing pass differential near the rear of the field can be risky, as a driver may be unable to overcome going a lap down early in the event.

With that, let's preview the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol.

High-Salaried Drivers

Brad Keselowski ($12,300): There has been only one back-to-back winner in 2020, and that occurred on a weekend when there were two races at the same track (Kevin Harvick at Michigan back in August). So Keselowski would have to defy the trend of this strange season to win on Saturday night, but he is well worth considering here. Keselowski will start first -- with the best stall selection -- at a place where track position is of the utmost importance, and he has made that work before for him at Bristol. Keselowski was May's winner here and led 115 laps in the race after starting on pole in that event, as well. Someone from the front row has led at least 75 laps in each of the last four fall races at Bristol, so significant FanDuel points are there for the taking for Keselowski or Joey Logano ($12,200).

Kyle Busch ($12,000): Kyle Busch's record at Bristol is so outstanding that prior to researching the event, I felt like Busch had an off appearance in May at the track, but he still led 100 laps and finished fourth, which would be a must-have in tournaments under any circumstances. A less-than-spectacular 2020 has led to significant salary decrease for Busch, who was $16,500 that weekend but is just $12,000 for this race. Busch has led at least 100 laps at Bristol nine times in the top series and has an illustrious eight Cup Series wins at the track. His 22 total wins at Bristol across all of NASCAR's top series is an individual track record, as well. Busch, starting 7th, can be a lap leader on Saturday and likely does have a hand in the final outcome at his best track.

Mid-Salaried Drivers

Ryan Blaney ($11,300): Blaney and Matt DiBenedetto ($9,700) are in near must-win circumstances. They're more than 20 points out from the playoff cut line and have at least two cars to leap to make it, but both have threatened to win here at before. DiBenedetto has just three top-10 finishes this year on tracks shorter than one mile and had zero laps led in those events, so his salary is a little tougher to stomach than Blaney's. Blaney has had tough luck at Bristol, which may help him fly under the radar. Despite only the 26th-best average finish across the last five Bristol races (19.86), Blaney has the 8th-best driver rating in those events (94.9). Blaney has led at least 60 laps in four of the last five Bristol races and will likely need to at least lead one -- the last one -- to move on to the next round of the playoffs. He starts 14th.

Christopher Bell ($8,600): Bell started 35th in his first Cup Series race at Bristol and avoided getting lapped -- and all the mayhem -- to secure an outstanding 9th-place finish and a spot in the winning tournament lineup on FanDuel that weekend. Normally a car starting that deep in the field at Bristol would have been in trouble, but Bell was a special exception. He drives the Leavine Family Racing Toyota that finished second with DiBenedetto behind the wheel last fall. Bell also won the 2019 March Xfinity Series event at this track, so this driver-team combination has had excellent results at this half-mile track. While it does reduce his upside, Bell starting less deep in the field (18th) does significantly lower his risk of getting lapped or crashed at Bristol.

Low-Salaried Drivers

Ryan Newman ($8,000): No driver has more of a reputation for being harder to pass than Newman does, and given how difficult it has been to pass at Bristol in recent years, it should be no surprise that NASCAR's best brick wall has seven straight top-15 finishes at this venue. Newman starts 25th, which would normally be a concern, but during that seven-race streak, Newman started outside the top 20 twice, and it did not seem to impact the South Bend native. His form is somewhat questionable given that Newman has only three top-15 finishes since July 1st, but being at a track that is so reliant on driver skill -- versus overall team speed -- may help him return to a top-15 spot.

Bubba Wallace ($6,600): Bubba is forced to start further in the back than most competent cars given his standing in owner points, and on short tracks, that provides some risk to his ability to score a high finish in the race because of potentially being lapped. That happened to him last week, when he was lapped early from starting 30th and never could make up the ground. Bristol is a much better track for Wallace than Richmond is, however, as Wallace has a top-20 finish in every race he has finished here, and the most positive news is that he has never started inside the top 20 here. Wallace is accustomed to making up ground to claw to a top-20 finish, and that is exactly what he will be tasked with on Saturday from his starting spot of 27th. He likely has the best chance to reach the top-10 of any driver with a salary of $7,000 or less, and his salary frees up a lot of your budget.

Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.