RaceDayScore NASCAR: Food City 500

RaceDayScore NASCAR: Food City 500

This article is part of our RaceDayScore NASCAR series.


Food City 500

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

Race Preview

The big question heading into the Food City 500 is: Can Kyle Busch continue winning? He has won four NASCAR national series races in a row, sweeping the weekends at Martinsville Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. He is a five-time Bristol winner, and is showing no sign of weakness. The high-banked concrete oval is the second short-track race of the season, just two weeks after Martinsville. Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth took the wins in 2015, but the Busch brothers top the active drivers in wins at the track with five each. Kenseth snagged the win from pole last season after Kevin Harvick dominated. Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards each spent significant time out front, but no one could overcome Kenseth on the final restart in a race that was affected multiple times by rain. The race lasted 11 laps longer than the advertised distance, saw multiple wrecks and plenty of mistakes. If anything was learned last week at Texas, it's that teams and drivers need to remain mistake-free if they want to have a chance to fight for the win this Sunday.

Key Stats at Bristol Motor Speedway

Number of previous races: 110
Winners from pole: 23
Winners from top-5 starters: 64
Winners from top-10 starters: 88
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 5
Fastest race: 104.589 mph

Last 10 Bristol Winners

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
2012 spring - Brad Keselowski
2011 fall - Brad Keselowski
2011 spring - Kyle Busch

Drivers and teams need to adjust from the high speeds of Texas to the high banks of Bristol. The Bristol track is unique in that it's just over a half-mile in length, paved with concrete and features progressive banking of up to 30 degrees in the turns. The track acts like a conveyor belt of traffic that drivers will battle throughout the race distance. Getting caught a lap down is easy at a track this short, and that makes pit stops even more important than normal. Fresh tires can sometimes trump track position at the short speedway but working back through traffic will be the tradeoff. The leaders will want to run the low line through the corners to pass but can often try the higher line if their cars allow. As with any short track, tempers can flare and contact will be the norm. The good news about Bristol is that minor bumping and fender damage won't automatically end someone's day.

RACE DAY SCORE VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $60K Salary Cap)

Tier 1 Values

Kyle Busch - $12,500
Matt Kenseth - $12,100
Carl Edwards - $12,000

Tier 2 Values

Kurt Busch - $11,700
Ryan Newman - $11,700
Denny Hamlin - $11,600
Jamie McMurray - $11,500
Martin Truex Jr. - $11,400

Tier 3 Values

Paul Menard - $10,800
Kyle Larson - $10,800
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $10,500
Austin Dillon - $10,400

Long-Shot Values

Danica Patrick - $9,000
Trevor Bayne - $8,500
Chris Buescher - $7,800
Reed Sorenson - $7,600

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Cash Game Lineup ($60K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $12,500
Matt Kenseth - $12,100
Carl Edwards - $12,000
Trevor Bayne - $8,500
Chris Buescher - $7,800
Michael Annett - $7,000

There is currently no driver with more momentum on his side than Busch. In addition to sweeping the last two race weekends, he's tied with his brother for the most Bristol wins among active drivers. His teammate Kenseth suffered another bad-luck moment last week that took him out of contention for the race win, but he has continued to show good form and just needs to move past the small issues to come up big. Edwards also had a strong weekend going into Texas, and bagged his fourth straight top-10 as a result. He also has three Bristol wins. Trevor Bayne's fuel gamble didn't pay off last week, but it did enable him to lead 12 laps and score a top-15. That strategy could work again this week to help fantasy rosters tally more points. Chris Buescher drove in this race last season and finished a respectable 25th, while Michael Annett has run four times at the track to improve his starting position an average of 10.5 places when he avoids a DNF.

Higher-Risk Tournament Lineup
($60K Salary Cap)

Joey Logano - $12,500
Jamie McMurray - $11,500
Kyle Larson - $10,800
Danica Patrick - $9,000
Clint Bowyer - $8,600
Reed Sorenson - $7,600

The higher-risk lineup for Bristol has one no-brainer pick in Logano. The Penske driver has been extremely competitive in 2016, finished third last week, and has two wins from his last three Bristol Sprint Cup starts. Backing him up is Jamie McMurray, who continues to ride the cusp of top-fives and top-10s. He has never won at Bristol but finishes in the top 10 there more than a third of the time. Kyle Larson has been impressive at the short oval as well, racking up just one finish worse than 12th in his four starts. He crashed out of the fall race last season but led 90 circuits in the spring. Things have been improving for Danica Patrick. Her slow start to the season has started showing signs of a turnaround, and she finished ninth in this race last season. Texas was a miserable weekend for Clint Bowyer. He needs to have a quiet, mistake-free race this weekend, and his resume at the track suggests he can do it. He finished fifth here last fall and could use the boost of a top-15 or top-20 afternoon on Sunday. Lastly, Reed Sorenson makes the list as a value option who typically finishes better than he qualifies at Bristol. He only has two Bristol DNFs from 12 career starts.

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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