This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.
Bass Pro Shops Night Race
Location: Bristol, Tenn.
Course: Bristol Motor Speedway
Format: 0.53-mile oval
NASCAR Bass Pro Shops Night Race Preview
The first eliminations of the playoff field will occur this week in the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The tight track typically produces tense and exciting races, but the extra pressure of keeping a championship drive alive adds to the intrigue this week. Bubba Wallace won last week at Kansas, meaning that no playoff driver has won a playoff race yet this season! The only driver locked into the next round is Christopher Bell, which means 11 of 12 playoff spots remain up for grabs this week. Kevin Harvick arguably faces the steepest climb to advance, though. The former champion has suffered two consecutive DNFs in the playoff races and faces a must-win scenario at Bristol. The battle around the cutline is a tight one, with fewer than 10 points separating 10th from 14th in the standings. Anything can happen this week, and everything is still left to play for.
Key Stats at Bristol Motor Speedway
- Number of races: 121
- Winners from pole: 27
- Winners from top-5 starters: 70
- Winners from top-10 starters: 95
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 6
- Fastest race: 104.589 mph
Previous 10 Bristol Winners
2021 - Kyle Larson
2020 fall - Kevin Harvick
2020 spring - Brad Keselowski
2019 fall - Denny Hamlin
2019 spring - Kyle Busch
2018 fall - Kurt Busch
2018 spring - Kyle Busch
2017 fall - Kyle Busch
2017 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2016 fall - Kevin Harvick
This week's visit to Bristol will test drivers on its paved surface. The short lap means track position and traffic are likely to be major factors. Drivers need to get their car handling well in the track's high-banked turns, and they'll also need to be able to change lines in order to navigate traffic quickly. Those wide turns enable drivers to choose a few different lines to help them with the traffic and adjust as their tires wear down throughout fuel runs. Like a typical short track, pit strategy may not be a large factor. Stops will typically happen under caution, and the risk of going off strategy by pitting under green could mean getting trapped multiple laps behind the lead. The timing of cautions will ultimately dictate when teams pit, including stage breaks. The night will be all about the playoff contenders as they scramble to score as many points possible in the stages, and potentially take big swings at the end of the race for the win, to ensure they keep their championship hopes alive by finishing the night among the top 12 championship contenders.
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DraftKings Value Picks for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
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DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
NASCAR DFS Picks for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
The only playoff driver with a spot secure in the next round is Christopher Bell (DK $10,200, FD $11,500). His consistency in the first two races have seen him through, and he has four top-10 finishes from the last five races. His eyes are on the big prize and that means no acts of desperation are needed this week, which should enable him to continue building momentum for the round of 12. Joey Logano (DK $9,500, FD $8,500) may not have his spot in the next round of eliminations locked up, but he'll be feeling confident given his points tally. Logano is also a multiple-time Bristol winner on both paved and dirt surfaces. Ryan Blaney (DK $8,900, FD $11,00) will also be looking for a mistake-free race. Blaney is fifth in the playoff standings, with a comfortable gap to the elimination zone. He has yet to win this season but has been a consistent top-10 finisher. He finished fourth and led 45 laps in this race last season. Austin Dillon (DK $7,700, FD $7,200) has a bit more work to do to keep his championship hopes alive, but he remains right in the thick of the fight. He has won big races under pressure before, and making it through to the next round would not be a shock. He has three Bristol top-10s and finished 15th in this race last season. Another race like that this week could be enough to see him through to the next round. Veteran Aric Almirola's (DK $7,000, FD $6,200) mission this week is simple: win. He isn't part of the playoffs and has nothing to lose. He finished fifth in this race in 2020 and has three other top-10 finishes at the track. He should be a confident top-15 selection for fantasy players this week. Similarly, Chris Buescher (DK $6,600, FD $5,500) is trophy hunting. He has been close to victory multiple times this year and could be in the mix again this week. He was eighth in this race in 2020 and has a Bristol expert as a teammate in Brad Keselowski to lean on for extra advice this time.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
With the weight of his future in the sport off of his shoulders, Kyle Busch (DK $10,500, FD $12,500) could be set for a return to form. Bad luck has put him 13th in the playoff standings. Fantasy players should remember that he led 155 laps at Darlington only to finish 30th. He is a master at Bristol with eight prior wins at the track and four top-fives from his last five tries. Another driver that could yet visit Victory Lane is Martin Truex Jr. (DK $9,700, FD $9,000). Truex has never won at Bristol, and it isn't one of his better tracks, but he's been better recently. He started on pole in last year's race and went on to finish seventh. Kevin Harvick (DK $8,500, FD $12,000) will be swinging for the fence this week. He is in a must-win situation to remain in the championship hunt, and he could still get the job done. He's been running very consistently among the top 10 all season and has faced unpredictable issues during the first two playoff races. Harvick is a three-time Bristol winner with 21 top-10s, including a runner-up finish last year. Erik Jones (DK $7,900, FD $7,500) doesn't boast that kind of Bristol record, but he brings three straight top-10s at the track to this week's lineup. Having cracked the victory column just a few weeks ago, Jones remains a valuable fantasy option. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (DK $6,800, FD $5,800) could also provide value. He is pretty decent on short tracks, and he brings six Bristol top-10s from his 17 starts into this week's race. His best finish at the track was second in 2014. Fantasy players may also find significant value in Brad Keselowski (DK $6,400, FD $6,800) this week. H's a three-time winner at the track and sat on pole in two of his last three tries there.