DraftKings NASCAR: Food City 500

DraftKings NASCAR: Food City 500

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Food City 500

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

Race Preview

Kyle Busch earned his maiden 2018 victory last week at Texas Motor Speedway. The win was somewhat overdue considering Busch finished second or third in the four races preceding the spring week off. This week he heads to Bristol Motor Speedway, where he won last time out in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race to complete the weekend sweep of all three top-division races. Busch held off Erik Jones to claim that victory. Jones also has momentum after finishing fourth last week in Texas. Jimmie Johnson won the spring race at the track in 2017, leading 81 of the 500 laps. His current-season woes continued in Texas when he crashed out to record his sixth finish outside of the top 10 from seven races so far this season. He is being outperformed by his more inexperienced teammates, which can't be sitting too well with the seven-time champion. Kevin Harvick, who has dominated the season thus far, stumbled in Texas with multiple pit issues, only to recover for a runner-up finish. That strength demonstrates that this team only has itself to compete with. This week's short-track race, where anything can happen, could open the door for another contender to barge through.

Key Stats at Bristol Motor Speedway

Number of previous races: 114
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 Motor Speedway Winners

2017 fall - Kyle Busch
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

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series trades the high speeds of Texas for the tight confines of Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend for the Food City 500. Bristol is known for its high banks and close racing. The concrete surface tends to rubber in quickly, which opens multiple grooves to drivers as they work their way through the notorious traffic. The faster machines will generally take to the higher groove, but the lower lane has opened to greater favorability in recent seasons. The combination of high cornering speeds and steep banking means that Goodyear brings a tire more suited for speedways than short tracks. Brakes are also highly taxed through a Bristol race distance, as constant heavy braking doesn't afford the chance for much cooling down in the short and fast straightaways. It's imperative that drivers conserve their equipment through the race, and fantasy players likely will see different drivers faster later in a fuel run. The timing of caution periods could end up playing an important role in determining the outcome as a result. Racing at the track can be an exercise in patience, and the close battles have a tendency to fray tempers. The short track often produces some of the most exciting racing each season, and a cooler track on Sunday with the chance of some rain washing away the grip could spice up the action even more than usual.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $11,500
Kyle Busch - $11,300
Brad Keselowski - $10,600

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Denny Hamlin - $9,500
Joey Logano - $9,300
Ryan Blaney - $8,600
Erik Jones - $8,300

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $7,600
Alex Bowman - $7,400
Daniel Suarez - $7,200
Jamie McMurray - $7,000

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Paul Menard - $6,800
William Byron - $6,700
A.J. Allmendinger - $6,400
Darrell Wallace Jr. - $6,300

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $11,300
Kyle Larson - $9,700
Kurt Busch - $8,500
Erik Jones - $8,300
A.J. Allmendinger - $6,400
Matt DiBenedetto - $5,600

Kyle Busch leads the field into Bristol fresh off of his first win of 2018. He's a six-time Bristol winner, including last fall when he led 156 laps on his way to Victory Lane after starting 18th. Larson also has been a fantastic racer at this track. He has four top-10 finishes from eight career starts and led more than 270 combined laps here in 2017. This week should see an improvement over his two latest race finishes at Texas and Martinsville. Blaney would be the alternate selection at this position for anyone remaining unconvinced by Larson. Like his brother, Kurt Busch is a multiple-time Bristol winner. He won four of his five career victories at the track in a five-race stretch starting in 2002. He finished fifth in his last trip to the speedway. This weekend could be a huge boost for Jones. Jones currently has the highest driver rating at this circuit with two starts under his belt. He qualified on pole last fall and led 260 laps, too. Allmendinger probably is another driver looking forward to his prospects this weekend. His only top-10 this season came on a short track, and he punched above his weight at the track in 2016. Last year wasn't as memorable for him, so watch his practice times before making up your mind on him for Sunday's lineup. Lastly, DiBenedetto is an excellent play this week. He has improved his finishing position from the start in all of his six career Bristol starts, and scored an unlikely sixth-place finish here in 2016's spring race.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Brad Keselowski - $10,600
Denny Hamlin - $9,500
Joey Logano - $9,300
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $7,600
Paul Menard - $6,800
Trevor Bayne - $6,000

By choosing Keselowski to lead the higher-risk lineup, fantasy players get a driver with legitimate potential to win without the cost associated with the favorites. Keselowski is coming off of a rough week in Texas but is a two-time Bristol winner with four top-fives and five top-10s from 16 career starts. Fantasy players not sold on Keselowski have funds to swap Truex instead. Hamlin, another proven Bristol racer, has one win at the track and top-10 finishes in each of the last three races here. Add to that strength Logano, and you have a formidable lineup. Fantasy players will get five wins at the track among the first three roster selections with this option. They shouldn't forget about Stenhouse either, though. The driver most known for his superspeedway wins is also a strong contender at Bristol. He has five top-10s from 10 starts here including ninth last spring. Menard may have been falling down the standings recently, but he still offers fantasy players a good option at Bristol. This is the car that Blaney drove to a 10th-place finish at the track last fall, and Menard tallied a pair of 16th-place finishes in the two races at the track in 2017. Bayne got his best finish of the season last week in Texas, which is a good indicator that he could have another this week. He hasn't finished lower than 15th at Bristol since 2015.

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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