Daily Fantasy NASCAR Track Preview: Bass Pro Shops Night Race

The Bristol night race is 500 laps, tying the longest race of the NASCAR Cup Series season. How does that impact our DFS strategies for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race?

If you thought our emphasis on laps led was restrictive last week, I've got bad news, buckaroo. They're even more critical on Saturday night.

The NASCAR Cup Series' Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol is 500 laps, tied for the most laps in a race the entire year. That's 50.0 FanDuel points. And a whole lotta them are going to be in winning tournament lineups.

We've been emphasizing laps led each of the past two weeks, and doing so has been profitable. But we need to increase that emphasis even a bit more for Saturday.

What does that mean for our NASCAR DFS lineups? Let's dig in and check it out.

Building Around Playoff Drivers

In last year's playoff race at Bristol, the perfect FanDuel lineup had just two playoff drivers in it. That deviates both from expectation and the strategy we've touched on for each of the previous two races in this year's playoffs.

It's just a bit different when those two drivers combine to lead 77.0% of the laps.

Perfect LineupSalaryStartLaps Led
Kevin Harvick$13,4004th226
Kyle Busch$12,0009th159
Erik Jones$9,20020th0
Tyler Reddick$7,50017th0
Chris Buescher$6,00023rd0

If we get another situation like that where two drivers dominate the race, there's a good chance we'll have just two playoff drivers in the perfect lineup. That's why I'd phrase it as having at least two playoff drivers is key. There are some important caveats, though.

The first is that the driver who led the third-most laps -- Brad Keselowski -- had an issue and finished 34th. He led 82 laps, effectively reducing the number of laps available for drivers who finished well. This is another factor that can limit the number of drivers who start near the front and wind up in the perfect lineup.

The second is that a lot of playoff drivers had issues there. Five of them finished in the back half of the field, and just five playoff drivers finished inside the top 10. That can happen given the high-chaos nature of Bristol, but we don't want to go into the race assuming this will happen again just because it's how things played out last year.

My model's projected average running position for the race has playoff drivers in 14 of the top 15 spots (the lone exception, once again, being Ross Chastain). If you want to get lap-leaders, you have to roster playoff drivers.

As discussed last week, using three playoff drivers as opposed to two gives you three swipes at identifying which guys wind up dominating the race. This naturally increases your exposure to the entire group, which is also a plus. You can still get plenty of guys like Chastain in your other two slots as long as you're willing to save a lot of salary with your final slot, and that's very much an option this week.

That's why -- for me -- the default build will again revolve around three playoff drivers. The word "default" there is key as there will certainly be times where I limit it to two in case something like last year happens again. But I'll also have some four-playoff-driver lineups in case the laps led are spread out a bit more evenly. All three options are in play, skewing toward the three-driver build.

For the values, unlike last week, we can get some drivers with life starting deeper in the pack. Bristol and Richmond are very different tracks, so struggling last week is not necessarily an indication someone will struggle again on Saturday.

The drivers ranked 16th through 21st in projected average running position will start somewhere between 18th and 28th. That means they all carry some place-differential juice. We should be inclined to take advantage of that.

This is going to lead to a pretty heavy two-pronged approach. We want to prioritize lap-leaders for our studs while prioritizing place-differential for the values. And, yes, Chastain does fit in the place-differential bucket despite not starting super far back. He's still ranked six spots higher in projected average running position than his starting spot, making him a top-notch play for the third straight week.

The easy way to think about this is to just remember that we need a bunch of points to compete at Bristol. Scores will be high on Saturday night. That means we need rosters with massive point potential from top to bottom. There are multiple routes to getting there, so we do have a couple of builds that are viable. But if you're considering a driver who checks neither the "potential lap-leader" nor "place-differential" box, you'd be wise to consider pivoting elsewhere.