NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Food City Dirt Race
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!
numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes has you covered with his current form and odds breakdown as well as his track preview to spotlight this week's venue. For driver picks and a full preview of the event, Jim also discussed the Daytona 500 on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
Last weekend Kyle Larson dominated the entire race until Ryan Blaney caught and passed the Hendrick Motorsports' driver with 12 laps to go and drove on to become the sixth different winner in six races in 2021. NASCAR's top series now heads to an event that all of race fans have had circled since the schedule was announced, as 40 of the world's best drivers will compete on dirt for the first time since 1970 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday. Bristol has played host to two asphalt races inside "The Last Great Colosseum" for years, but the spring race is now being held on the brand new 0.5-mile dirt configuration this weekend.
The starting lineup for this event was set through points after Saturday's qualifying races were cancelled. This race was also one of the few in 2021 that had practice for the new configuration, and first practice and final practice were completed on Friday. Optional pit stops will be completed only during stage breaks of this race, and pit stops will not be competitive, as the cars will leave pit road in the order they entered. If a car has a tire failure, they will be permitted to change only that one tire under green.
With that in mind, let's preview the Food City Dirt Race in Bristol on FanDuel.
Kyle Larson ($14,000): It is strange -- to say the least -- to have an event in NASCAR's biggest series with virtually no bonafide data behind it. This is the first race on dirt in more than 40 years, but the general feeling and inclination in the garage area this weekend is the fastest drivers would have a background in dirt. That was absolutely proven to be the case on Friday, as Larson topped both 10-lap average practice charts as the consensus favorite this weekend after he spent 2020 racing on dirt while suspended from NASCAR, collecting 46 wins, not including this January's Chili Bowl Nationals. Larson will be scored as starting from the pole but will start from the rear due to an engine change. But he is so fast, he may still find the front by the end of the first stage.
Christopher Bell ($13,500): Only two drivers have won the Chili Bowl Nationals the past five years -- Larson has been victorious three times, and Bell captured the title in the other two events. Bell won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event on dirt at Eldora in 2015 at just 20 years old, which propelled him to the career he has now, which includes a 2021 win at the Daytona Road Course. Bell is a great dirt-track driver with great equipment, and he turned that into finishing second in final practice. Starting 15th, Bell is the favorite to lead a large chunk of the race while Larson climbs through the field.
Chase Briscoe ($9,500): Briscoe's DFS outlook benefitted from the washout of Saturday's qualifying races. He will start 25th and has the third-shortest odds to win this race (+1200) behind Larson and Bell. Briscoe may have some difficulty getting around those two to lead laps, but now starting further in the back, leading laps will not be mandatory to his value in a FanDuel lineup. Briscoe was predictably fast in practice, posting 10th and 5th in the two sessions. His rookie campaign has not been quite as successful as he would have initially hoped, but a dirt race is the perfect opportunity for the 2018 Eldora truck winner to find his momentum.
Stewart Friesen ($8,500): The balance of dirt experience versus equipment is firmly represented by Friesen, who is a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular making a stray appearance on the dirt on Sunday. Friesen is the most recent NASCAR winner on dirt after winning at Eldora in 2019, and he has more than 330 career wins in dirt-modified cars over his entire career. His balance of that experience along with regular stock-car experience has him pegged with +2500 odds to win. While I think that seems like poor betting value since he is driving for the underfunded Spire Motorsports team on Sunday, he still can be plenty valuable in DFS from a starting spot of 32nd.
Tyler Reddick ($7,800): Bubba Wallace included Reddick's name with Larson and Bell in terms of dirt expertise in an interview with FOX on Wednesday, but Reddick is not in the same galaxy of salary as Larson and Bell are. Reddick finished 11th, 3rd, and 5th in his three truck starts at Eldora on dirt, but none of those starts came in seasons where he was older than 20. Reddick's bad luck continued on Saturday in his qualifying races, so he will start 27th, and he did not crack the top-10 spots in either practice session. Both of those factors may keep Reddick more under the radar than he should be as a good dirt racer in quality equipment at a low salary.
William Byron ($4,500): Byron's entire background is on asphalt, but his presence on iRacing probably has helped him significantly in preparing for this weekend. Byron won the NASCAR iRacing Invitational event on Wednesday against many of the same competitors he will face Sunday, and before you scoff at the idea that it will help significantly, Byron carried that momentum into finishing ninth in both practice sessions on Friday. Because of the large amount of unknown in this race, salaries are going to be less efficient than what we get on a normal slate. Byron appears to have far too fast of a car and too much talent to be in the punt-tier salary he has been assigned this weekend. He starts eighth.
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.