NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Bass Pro Shops Night Race

Chase Elliott has won both races on concrete this year. Can he score a third Saturday at Bristol? Which other drivers should we consider for FanDuel lineups?

If you are looking for an action-packed way to consume sports on the weekend, 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, though!

numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes takes a look at the best bets of the weekend in his betting guide. For driver picks and a full preview of the event, he also discusses this weekend's race on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.

With all of this in mind, let's preview the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on FanDuel.

Weekend Primer

Event Time
Practice Friday, September 16th
4:35 p.m. EST
Qualifying Friday, September 16th
5:20 p.m. EST

This weekend's blend was -- and, for the foreseeable future, will be -- a hard one to comprise.

We now race just once on Bristol's concrete surface a year, and there's no quality parallel to the world's fastest short track. It's a concrete, 0.5-mile oval with high-banked corners, and cars fly around at about 16 seconds per lap.

Last week, we knew Toyota would be fast before the race. They finished first (Bubba Wallace) and second (Denny Hamlin). This week, I really don't have a defined expectation of who will fit that bill.

We'll look for drivers strong at the two concrete tracks this year, and we'll also sprinkle in some drivers who have a great history here.

More importantly than either, in my eyes, will be practice late Friday. We'll likely get 5, 10, 15, and 20-lap averages of which cars are currently fast at the track this weekend. I'll value that data heavily given this layout is so unique.

General Lineup Strategy

With 500 laps (and 50 FanDuel points for laps led), this is the most important race of the entire year to value those who can dominate and lead the race.

In any format, there should be no short of three drivers in your lineup with the potential to lead and win the race.

Laps aren't necessarily consolidated in one place with the multi-groove layout at Bristol. In last year's race, Kyle Larson (175), Chase Elliott (129), and Kevin Harvick (71) combined to lead exactly 75% of the race. Elliott had a tire issue late, or you'd have needed all three to win a tournament.

The year prior, Harvick (226), Kyle Busch (159), and Brad Keselowski (82) combined to lead 93.4% of the race. It's not incredibly likely one car will lead 300-plus laps themselves, so you'll need the right combination to get as many points as you can.

As for value options behind them, speed is king. The short layout of this track can put cars a lap down incredibly quickly, so be open to starting value drivers even starting inside the top-10 spots.

In 2021, just one driver finished inside the top 10 that started 20th or worse. In 2020, though, there was more carnage, and four drivers fit that description. There's an element of luck to which of those drivers prevail, so I prefer to just target faster cars above all else.

Driver Rankings

Below are my pre-qualifying rankings for each driver based on equipment, track history, recent form, and overall talent level -- in that order. Only drivers with a win probability above 0% in Jim Sannes' win simulations were included.

As a great indicator of overall speed, MLT Rank is the driver's weighted average median lap time ranking at the relevant sample of similar race tracks to this weekend. The prior races in the sample this week are:

2022 Dover (Spring) - 40%
2022 Nashville (Spring) - 40%
2022 Bristol Dirt (Spring) - 20%

For dominator viability, the driver is ranked 0-10 on a scale to potentially lead laps and win the race if they start upfront. A "10" is among the favorites to win the race, and a "0" has no realistic chance of leading the race at any point.

For flex play viability, the driver is ranked 0-10 on a scale to finish in terms of potential to finish inside the top 15 spots. These drivers will be better daily fantasy plays the further back in the field they start for optimal place-differential points.

Driver Sannes'

1 Kyle
11.32% 1 10 10
2 Chase
8.38% 2 10 10
3 Kyle
8.88% 7 9 10
4 Christopher
7.10% 3 9 10
5 Denny
6.90% 6 9 10
6 Kevin
5.56% 8 8 10
7 Ross
4.04% 5 8 10
8 Ryan
5.42% 9 7 10
9 Joey
9.44% 21 6 10
10 Tyler
3.30% 23 6 9
11 Martin
Truex, Jr.
6.04% 4 5 9
12 William
3.18% 16 5 9
13 Bubba
2.88% 14 4 8
14 Erik
3.46% 15 3 8
15 Daniel
1.92% 13 3 8
16 Austin
0.28% 12 2 7
17 Alex
1.84% 19 1 7
18 Brad
0.64% 20 0 6
19 Chris
0.98% 10 0 6
20 Ricky
Stenhouse, Jr.
0.18% 11 0 5
21 A.J.
0.66% 17 0 5
22 Ty
1.42% 32 0 5
23 Chase
1.68% 24 0 4
24 Austin
0.68% 25 0 3
25 Michael
0.84% 18 0 3
26 Aric
1.98% 26 0 2
27 Justin
0.44% 22 0 2
28 Cole
0.10% 27 0 1
29 Ty
0.22% 28 0 1
30 Harrison
0.12% 30 0 1
31 Corey
0.04% 29 0 0
32 Todd
0.08% 31 0 0

While there is some uncertainty in this unique layout, we can guess with good reasoning that Chase Elliott ($13,000) and Kyle Busch ($12,500) will be solid on Saturday.

Elliott has won both races on concrete thus far in 2022, leading a combined 115 laps. He's also fourth in laps led (311) over the last five Bristol races on pavement. It'd be surprising if he wasn't a contender.

As for Busch, he'll have to be. He's currently below the cutline in this playoff elimination race, but Bristol is as good of a track for him as any. He's an eight-time Cup Series winner here on pavement, and he leads all drivers in those same last five races in laps led (360). He also has the best median lap time blend in this week's sample, posting a top-five mark at all three tracks.

There are five others with at least 200 laps led in the past five stops on the pavement at BMS: Denny Hamlin ($14,000), Kyle Larson ($13,500), Kevin Harvick ($12,000), Ryan Blaney ($11,000), and Brad Keselowski ($6,800). Keselowski has since downgraded equipment, but he's still viable as a value play even though he's unlikely to lead on Saturday.

Any of the other four are good targets for lap leaders; the rest of the field has led just 277 laps combined. This is definitely a track where some guys get it, and some guys don't.

That being said, I believe Christopher Bell ($11,500) and Tyler Reddick ($10,500) can join that group. Reddick finished first and second in his final two Xfinity Series stops here, and Bell has a pair of top-two finishes from the Xfinity Series as well. They've both broken out in 2022 with a combined three wins, and this will be their first stop as real week-to-week contenders.

I'm not quite all-in on Martin Truex Jr. ($9,000) despite his solid work on concrete thus far in 2022. He's been historically successful at Dover and Nashville, but Bristol has been a different story. He's got just two top-10 finishes in the last nine races on pavement -- and zero top-fives.

There are definitely plenty of dark horses to watch if our blended median lap time sample is any indication. Erik Jones ($7,500), Austin Cindric ($7,000), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($5,800), and Chris Buescher ($5,500) all have top-15 median averages despite not usually flashing those type of results on larger, asphalt tracks.

A.J. Allmendinger ($5,200) should absolutely be strong as well. He won last fall's Xfinity Series race here, and he's got top-15 median lap times on both concrete ovals this year. His overall median is bogged down by a non-start in the dirt race here in April.

The final value play I'll watch is Ty Gibbs ($6,500). Gibbs will share notes with Busch, Hamlin, Bell, and the other strong Toyotas this weekend.