DraftKings NASCAR: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

DraftKings NASCAR: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

Location: Bristol, Tenn.
Course: Bristol Motor Speedway
Format: 0.53-mile oval
Laps: 500

Race Preview

Kyle Larson proved that Michigan is his playground last week by picking up his third-consecutive victory at the track. He wasn't bad at Bristol last spring either. He started that race from pole after rain washed out qualifying and went on to lead 202 of the 500 laps, but finished sixth behind eventual winner Jimmie Johnson. The race was also delayed by a day by the weather, and it was Larson who had the car to beat once things got underway. Unfortunately for him, a speeding penalty on pit road put an end to his chances for victory, which allowed Johnson to hold off Clint Bowyer for his second win of the season. Fantasy owners should also remember that Kyle Busch had a fast car in that race, too. He didn't figure into the finish because he had two tire issues, and the second put him into the wall and out of the race, though. Martin Truex Jr. also spent more than 100 laps out front that Monday afternoon, which is all to say that the usual faces fantasy owners have grown accustomed to seeing at the top of the running order doesn't look likely to change this week. Winless drivers like Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano will be hoping they can change that trend as the opportunities to book a spot in the playoffs dwindle.

Key Stats at Bristol Motor Speedway

Number of previous races: 113
Winners from pole: 24
Winners from top-5 starters: 65
Winners from top-10 starters: 89
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 6
Fastest race: 104.589 mph

Last 10 Bristol Winners

2017 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2016 fall - Kevin Harvick
2016 spring - Carl Edwards
2015 fall - Joey Logano
2015 spring - Matt Kenseth
2014 fall - Joey Logano
2014 spring - Carl Edwards
2013 fall - Matt Kenseth
2013 spring - Kasey Kahne
2012 fall - Denny Hamlin

Bristol Motor Speedway isn't what it used to be in the old days. Drivers at the short circuit no longer hug the bottom of the turns to force close-quarter racing. Instead, the drivers effectively run qualifying laps throughout the race distance. The preferred line has shifted to the top of the racetrack, and grip at the bottom now comes in later in the race. The rain that plagued the last visit to the track could have made that race processional in nature, except that a sticky compound was sprayed on the lower groove prior to provide drivers more grip on the low lines. That effort improved the show, but carrying momentum on the high side still gets the job done. Drivers will have to figure out how to run at the bottom of the track to make passes and maneuver through congestion, however. Bristol's short lap distance means traffic will be a constant concern, and track position will be priority. Any late restarts likely will see teams making gambles on pit road to restart closer to the front, or even gaming their exit off pit road to ensure they get their preferred line. Just three races remain for drivers to claim a playoff spot, and the pressure continues to grow for those on the outside looking in.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kyle Busch - $10,800
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,700
Kyle Larson - $10,500

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Denny Hamlin - $9,600
Matt Kenseth - $9,400
Chase Elliott - $9,200
Joey Logano - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Ryan Blaney - $8,900
Clint Bowyer - $8,800
Erik Jones - $8,700
Jamie McMurray - $8,500

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Ryan Newman - $7,200
Trevor Bayne - $6,900
Ty Dillon - $6,800
Chris Buescher - $6,000

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $10,800
Matt Kenseth - $9,400
Jimmie Johnson - $9,300
Kurt Busch - $8,400
Austin Dillon - $7,500
Corie LaJoie - $4,600

Kyle Busch had a fast car the last time he visited Bristol, and should give fantasy owners finish differential points based on qualified. He won the truck race Wednesday night, and will try to avoid the tire issues he had last time to get the job done in Cup, too. His five track wins make him a top choice despite four DNFs in the last five races here. Busch's teammate Kenseth has been a bit more consistent here. He has four Bristol wins, finished fourth here in the spring, and led nearly 200 laps in the last five races at the track. Next up is Johnson who won the spring race. His last top-10 came at New Hampshire, but he has five top-10 finishes in his last six attempts at Bristol. Kurt Busch is still auditioning for 2018, and with four top-15 runs in the last five races, he should be set up well for this weekend. His last Bristol win was all the way back in 2006, but he often leads laps at the track and has an average finish of 15.2 from 33 total starts. Austin Dillon and Corie LaJoie complete this week's lower-risk option. Dillon is a consistent driver at Bristol who can deliver top-10s, while LaJoie offers good value after his lone start at the track gave fantasy owners points from his finish differential in the spring in one of his best results of the season.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,700
Joey Logano - $9,000
Clint Bowyer - $8,800
Jamie McMurray - $8,500
Trevor Bayne - $6,900
Chris Buescher - $6,000

At this point in the season fantasy owners know that Kyle Busch or Truex need to be in their lineups, and this week's higher-risk lineup chooses Truex. Truex hasn't matched Busch's stats at this track, but his 116 laps led in the spring race when he finished eighth gives him plenty of upside potential this week. Logano may also be worth one last chance. The Penske Racing driver led 72 laps at the track in the spring and finished fifth. He continues to carry a must-win approach into each race weekend, too. Another driver who would feel a lot more comfortable with a victory is Bowyer. He was the runner-up to Johnson in the spring race and is a regular feature in the top-10 runners at this track. McMurray is still showing good form late in the season, and is another consistent face taking up residence in the top 15 at this track. He finished 12th in the spring race. Last week's race at Michigan gave Bayne his first top-five of the season, and he has only missed finishing in the top 15 at Bristol once since joining Roush Fenway Racing in 2015. Fantasy owners should remember Buescher's fifth-place finish at Bristol last fall before focusing his DNF in the spring. That crash wasn't his fault as he tried to avoid carnage ahead of him, and he should be able to deliver another top-15 finish Saturday night.

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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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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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