NASCAR DFS: Irwin Tools Night Race Picks

NASCAR DFS: Irwin Tools Night Race Picks

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.


Location: Bristol, Tenn.
Course: Bristol Motor Speedway
Format: 0.5-mile oval
Laps: 500

Race Preview

A return to short-track racing under the lights should be enough to get everyone excited this week. Bristol Motor Speedway hosts the stars of NASCAR Sprint Cup in this week's IRWIN Tools Night Race. The short track last hosted the series in April when last week's winner at Michigan, Matt Kenseth, streaked to victory. The key to winning at Bristol is driving as clean of a race as possible, avoiding the problems other drivers may cause, and remaining patient and methodical. The short track forces drivers to constantly race in traffic, and the inside groove is the place to be. Drivers that can't pull to the inside will have to ride out their slide backward, and then work their way forward again. Passing and traffic are center stage this week. Cars will get bumped, and keeping a cool head can pay dividends over the 500 laps. Pit strategy to gain track position for late restarts could also figure into the outcome of what is sure to be one of the most entertaining races of the year.

Key Stats at Bristol Motor Speedway

Races: 109
Winners from pole: 23
Winners from top-5 starters: 63
Winners from top-10 starters: 87
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 5
Fastest race: 104.589 mph

Last 10 Bristol Winners

2015 spring - Matt Kenseth
2014 fall - Joey Logano
2014 spring - Carl Edwards
2013 fall - Matt Kenseth
2013 spring - Kasey Kahne
2012 fall - Denny Hamlin
2012 spring - Brad Keselowski
2011 fall - Brad Keselowski
2011 spring - Kyle Busch
2010 fall - Kyle Busch

Bristol's short lap and high speeds make for an extremely crowded racetrack. The concrete oval requires drivers to hook their cars to the bottom of the turns and rocket off the turn as fast as possible in an effort to out-brake the competition into the next turn. Cars and drivers will be bumped around, and any impatience could ruin someone's day along with those of innocent bystanders. The short lap distance means teams will want to pit under yellow as often as possible to avoid going multiple laps down for a stop under green. Track position at the end of the race could be an important factor in determining the outcome.

(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $10,500
Matt Kenseth - $10,400
Kyle Busch - $10,300
Brad Keselowski - $10,100

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Carl Edwards - $9,500
Jimmie Johnson - $9,400
Denny Hamlin - $9,200
Martin Truex Jr. - $9,000
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $8,300

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Jamie McMurray - $7,900
Tony Stewart - $7,800
Ryan Newman - $7,600
Greg Biffle - $7,400

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

David Ragan - $7,200
Ryan Blaney - $7,200
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,500


Lower-Risk Cash Game Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Matt Kenseth - $10,400
Carl Edwards - $9,500
Kyle Larson - $8,600
Ryan Newman - $7,600
Greg Biffle - $7,400
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,500

Having won two of the last three races, and being the winner at Bristol from earlier this season, Kenseth is the one in command this weekend. Kenseth led 47 laps en route to his fourth Bristol win in April. Edwards had a poor finish that day, but led 87 of the race's laps. In three Bristol visits Larson has an average finish of 9.7 including two top-10s. Newman is back on form after returning to the top 10 in Michigan last week, and Biffle could use Bristol's unique configuration to mask some of the problems he has had with his Ford so far this season. He finished 30th here earlier in the year, but led 6 laps. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is usually a confident selection at this track, too. His average finish from five starts is 9.2 and he finished fourth here in April, which makes him a bargain at just $6,500.

Higher-Risk Tournament Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $10,500
Joey Logano - $10,000
Denny Hamlin - $9,200
Austin Dillon - $7,500
Ryan Blaney - $7,200
David Gilliland - $5,600

Harvick finished second last weekend in Michigan, and dominated the spring Bristol race until trouble forced him to finish 38th. He led 184 laps that afternoon, and will be out for redemption this weekend. In choosing Logano players get a taste of Penske Racing, which has shown improved pace in recent weeks. This team's tenacity has earned them four top-10 finishes in the last five races despite not having all the chips fall in their favor. Hamlin is a former Bristol winner, and Joe Gibbs Racing has been the best team in the garage recently. Last week's Michigan performance was one of Dillon's best ever. He also scored a Bristol top-10 in April. Blaney has won at Bristol in the Xfinity series, and Gilliland posted a top-20 here in April.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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