Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol

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Bristol should be very entertaining. We will see wrecks. We will see passes inside the top 10. We will see the leaders struggle with lap traffic and get passed. Road courses are not the new short tracks. Short tracks are the short tracks.

Dig into the statistics and find the best plays for this weekend’s NASCAR event with the Daily Fantasy NASCAR Spreadsheet:

click here to open the spreadsheet in a new window

 

Top Tier Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks (plus $9,000)

The Daily Fantasy NASCAR circuit is at a short track for only the third time in the last 16 races. There will be 500 laps on Saturday night, so you will absolutely need the two to four drivers that hog the laps led and fast lap points. These hogs do not come cheap.

Kyle Larson exudes confidence. When asked about his second place qualifying run that missed the poll by mere thousandths of a second, he said he wanted to stick it to the other drivers. He wanted to win the poll running the high groove. He practiced running on the upper groove in qualifying trim just once, before letting it fly in round 3 of qualifying. That’s unheard of. This is Michael Jordan shooting free throws with his eyes closed.

Last Spring, Larson should have won the Bristol race, but was burned by a pit road timing line glitch (the last pit road speeding segment is stupid). Larson almost won at Dover (similar track type). He scored the most fantasy points in both of those races. This is an upper groove track, and the dirt track racer is best in NASCAR at running on the edge of out of control.

Kevin Harvick’s poor qualifying run can be explained. In practice, he was fast in race trim. The team was able to make one mock qualifying run. The car was loose, so they tightened it up. In qualifying, the car was plowing tight. That’s what happens when rain shortens practice. They had one shot, and guessed wrong. Harvick will be fine in the race. In the last four Bristol races, Harvick has finished 3rd, 1st, 7th, and 2nd. He has a top 10 average running position in 6 of the last 7 Bristol races. The one race that he didn’t have an average running position inside the top 10, he led 184 laps and ran 74 fast laps before a late race wreck.   

Martin Truex, Jr. wasn’t the fastest in practice.  He wasn’t last week either. He wasn’t the fastest at Bristol in the spring. He didn’t crack the top 10 in long run speed in the spring. His fastest run in race trim on Friday was 7th. His good but not great practice speeds do not worry me. This track is going to go through multiple changes throughout the race, and no team is better at adjusting than the #78 team. The proof is in the spring race. Truex should have won the spring Bristol race, but he got nailed by a late race pit road penalty. Truex scored the 2nd most fantasy points at Dover.

Kyle Busch is good a Bristol. Kyle Busch sucks at Bristol. I don’t care about his truck win. I don’t care about his Xfinity win. He should win every one of those low tier races. He’s starting 18th. He was blazing fast in practice. Normally, that would be enough to lock him in, but this is Bristol. There are two knocks on Busch. First, he makes mistakes every week. There is nothing I can say about that. It’s a fact. He’s been too aggressive, and when he doesn’t mess up, his pit crew does. That’s enough to fade him, but if he doesn’t mess up, he could score over 100 fantasy points.

The second issue is that Busch has struggled in the Cup series at Bristol since the progressive banking was removed. Let’s look closer. In the spring, he was a top 10 car and believed he was the fastest on the track until he blew a tire for the 2nd time (finished 35th). Last fall, Busch said he had a “really, really fast race car.” The 94.5 hog points back that up. The problem? A shock broke, he wrecked (finished 39th).

In the spring of 2016, Kyle Busch blew a tire, so did his JGR teammates Hamlin and Kenseth. Was it a Goodyear issue or a JGR setup issue. Either way, it was a DNF. Has he struggled at Bristol? Compared to his early career dominance, yes. Compared to other drivers, not really. He’s fast every race. It’s part bad luck and part being too aggressive. Driver’s do not earn hog points being passive. Kyle Larson is about as aggressive as it gets. Another unique circumstance to all three of those races is that they were all during the day. That’s typically harder on the car. Kyle Busch’s lower tier success at Bristol, most of those races were night races.

The last time Kyle Busch was in a Cup series night race at Bristol, he scored the second most fantasy points (2015). Maybe, most people saw the length of this write-up, and skipped it. Maybe, most people have been burned by Kyle Busch too many times at Bristol. Maybe, they were burned by Busch at Dover (another pit road mistake that cost him the race). I could be wrong about all of this. Maybe, no one does research and just plugs Kyle Busch into their lineup. I swore I would never do this again, but I like Kyle Busch at Bristol this weekend.

 

Middle Tier Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks ($7,000-$9,000)

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. loves Bristol. He loved his car in practice. He did not like the car in qualifying trim. It was so bad that he told his team to give up on it, and go back to race trim. He said he’s not worried about starting 14th because he normally starts in the 20s at Bristol and makes his way forward. “The car feels good on the bottom on a 30 lap run and it’s good on top.” What else do you need to hear? The Bristol stats back it up (best average finish at Bristol). GPP upside is all about the top groove. Larson and Stenhouse love running the high groove, so it should be no surprise that both drivers are excellent at Bristol.

 

Value Tier Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks ($6,000-$7,000)

We’re looking for place differential and finishing position.

Aric Almirola says he has a top 10 car. Easy there, tiger. The single lap runs say otherwise. Almirola must be referencing his practice #1 long run speed (10th). He’ll start 29th Saturday night. He attributed the poor start to his team’s weekly struggle with qualifying trim. A top 10 would be great, but anywhere between 10th and 15th will work in GPPs. Just not wrecking will be good enough for cash games. Almirola’s stats at Bristol are fine (4 top 20s and a 22nd place finish in his last 7 Bristol race). The biggest knock against Almirola is that in GPPs, punting seems to be the way to save at a chaotic Bristol race.

 

Punt Tier Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks (sub $6,000)

Matt DiBenedetto had to do one thing: suck in qualifying. He did it. Dibenedetto has 3 straight top 20s (he finished 6th in the 2016 spring race). A top 20 finish from a punt? It doesn’t happen much outside of the plate tracks. If it does happen, then it’s infrequent. DiBenedetto has three straight top 20s at the same track? This is a thing. He likes this track. He’ll be very popular.

Corey LaJoie did it in the spring, he should be able to do it again. What is it? Run laps. Don’t really race. Get out of the leader’s way when they lap you. At the end of the race, a handful of cars will have wrecked out. Earn a top 25 through attrition. In the spring, he started 35th, ran around 28th, and finished 24th. He was in the optimal lineup because his low price tag allowed DFS players to stuff four hogs into their lineups. If you’re modestly mass entering feel free to mix your lineups with Cole Whitt, Jeff Earnhardt, and Joey Gase (I worry about the small number of laps run by Reed Sorenson and Gray Gaulding, but that might lower their GPP ownership).

 

Track Cheat Sheet: Bristol

  • Bristol is a half-mile, high banked short track.
  • This track is affectionately know as “The Bullring.” It’s small and fast. There is nowhere to hide. Good cars will wreck, and bad cars will survive.

I am a promoter at FanVice and am also a user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on.  Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of FanVice and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.