NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Bass Pro Shops Night 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, he also discussed this weekend's race on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
Martin Truex Jr.'s dream season in the 750-horsepower package continued at Richmond last Saturday night, as he led the final 80 laps to capture his 4th checkered flag of the season and advance to the next round of the playoffs.
That means -- with Kyle Larson also in on points -- only nine spots remain in NASCAR's next playoff round entering the first-round finale at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. While covered in dirt earlier this Spring, this 0.5-mile surface returns to concrete and its title of "Fastest Short Track in the World" on Saturday night.
With 500 laps on the docket, finding lap leaders will be a crucial part of daily fantasy strategy for the third consecutive week. Place-differential points are a difficult balance this week with such a fast, short track, as drivers starting deep in the field are in danger of getting lapped very quickly.
Because this track saw two races on concrete in 2020, NASCAR has not scheduled practice or qualifying for this weekend, and the starting lineup was set through their general qualifying formula. That formula placed Truex Jr. on the pole, and his teammate Denny Hamlin on the outside of Row 1.
With all of this in mind, let's preview the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol on FanDuel.
Kyle Larson ($14,000): For someone who has been labeled as struggling on the 750-horsepower tracks, Kyle Larson has had a heck of a first round of NASCAR's playoffs on them. Larson led 156 laps at Darlington and posted a top-10 average running position in Richmond last week despite starting at the back. Larson now starts 5th on Saturday at one of his best race tracks historically.
In lesser equipment, he has finished inside the top-10 spots in five of the last six races, and Larson also led over 200 laps in two races during that stretch. He has been no stranger to leading laps on any track format this year, but especially concrete tracks. On the two concrete surfaces this year, Larson has led 527 of the 700 total laps available. He has had undeniable speed in 2021, and that should translate to one of his best venues.
Chase Elliott ($12,500): Elliott is far closer to Larson, Kyle Busch ($13,500), and Denny Hamlin ($13,000) than advertised entering this weekend. Elliott has bizarrely won three out of the last four stages at Bristol, and he has led at least 20 laps in each of the last five races on the concrete surface at this track. His results are not mirroring his median speed, as despite having the single fastest median speed last weekend in Richmond, Elliott finished 4th and only led 58 laps because of a pit road issue.
He also has the highest surplus passing value in the sport, per Motorsports Analytics, and that will help him find the front from the fourth starting spot. He will definitely go under the radar given the track history and current form of the other three, but Elliott is definitively in this tier, and building plenty of lineups with him in tournaments is not only viable but strongly encouraged.
Others to Consider: Kyle Busch ($13,500), Denny Hamlin ($13,000)
Kurt Busch ($10,000): This is a different opinion from our resident NASCAR guru in that, in the third spot of a potential lineup build, I have a strong preference toward place-differential options this weekend versus another lap leader. That, of course, is because there is no sacrifice in using a couple of them this weekend, as Kurt Busch could definitely lead and win this race as well. Busch was the 2018 August winner at this track, which was the first of six straight top-15 finishes at this track for him.
Busch is a six-time winner at Bristol overall, but most of those wins came in an archaic rules package in the early 2000s. That is not reason for hope with him this week as much as his top-10 average running position at Darlington, and he led at Richmond last week before his tire failed. From 15th on the starting grid, he needs a win to advance and carries a lot of speed into an opportunity weekend for him.
Tyler Reddick ($8,500): As is the case with both Busch brothers and Kyle Larson, some drivers just perpetually run well at Bristol. Tyler Reddick might be one of them. Reddick's 2019 in the Xfinity Series at this track was a win and a runner-up, and he followed that up with a 4th-place finish last fall after crashing in the May 2020 event. Reddick also finished 7th in this Spring's dirt race at Bristol, meaning he has not finished a race lower than 14th at this track in his entire NASCAR career that he has finished.
That is a solid floor from starting 13th, and his ceiling is exactly what he showcased last fall. Reddick mirrors many of Kyle Larson's best tracks because the pair share a heavy dirt racing background, and Bristol has been no exception as a strong circuit for both.
Others to Consider: Joey Logano ($11,500), Kevin Harvick ($11,000), Ryan Blaney ($10,800), Christopher Bell ($9,700)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,200): At first glance, this recommendation seems crazy, as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has finished outside the top-30 spots in five straight Bristol races. All of those, however, were impacted by accidents, and that is a very real concern for "Wrecky Spinhouse". Still, the law of regression states Stenhouse is bound to finish a Bristol race soon, and his results should return to being excellent.
Between 2014 and 2018, Stenhouse posted six top-15 finishes in eight races at Bristol, and it was his best statistical non-drafting oval in that span. Stenhouse Jr. has flashed tournament-winning speed in spots this year, and one of them was the short, concrete oval in Nashville. He finished 6th in that race with a top-10 median lap time. From the 23rd starting spot, only Matt DiBenedetto ($7,500) matches his material, top-five upside in this salary area -- even with plenty of downside as well.
Ryan Preece ($5,000): In a non-charter car, Preece is the definitive "horse for the course" in the punting tier, this weekend. Preece has three top-20 finishes in his last four Bristol starts, and Preece also won his only Xfinity Series start at this track in 2019. It should be no surprise, as Bristol is not an equipment-intensive track, and Preece is a legendary short track racer. He finished 9th in this race one year ago, so he is likely going to carry some popularity from less scientific processes out there, but it is well deserved.
Preece finished 18th at Dover in one of his best non-drafting oval runs this season, so his comfort with concrete has translated to other formats as well. The reason he is featured in this spot is that he provides access to a lineup with Larson, Hamlin, and Busch all together if desired for cash games, and that is not at the expense of top-15 upside from Preece.
Others to Consider: Matt DiBenedetto ($7,500), Bubba Wallace ($7,000), Chase Briscoe ($6,700), Daniel Suarez ($6,300), Chris Buescher ($6,000), Erik Jones ($5,500)