DFS NASCAR: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

DFS NASCAR: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.

Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

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

Race Preview

The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway is the final race of the round of 16 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. Four championship contenders will be eliminated from title contention at the end of the night. Brad Keselowski dominated last week's race at Richmond to join Kevin Harvick with an automatic entry into the field of 12 drivers that will compete for the chance to continue their championship bids. Keselowski won at Bristol earlier this season in a race he led 115 laps from pole but was not the car most likely to win. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch combined to lead 231 laps that day with Chase Elliott leading another 88. 

With a mere 12 points separating 10th through 14th in the playoff standings, every point will matter Saturday night. Stage points could make the difference between a driver carrying on into the round of 12 or being eliminated. Ryan Blaney and Matt DiBenedetto are in the most precarious position roughly 20-points behind 14th-place Cole Custer. Those two will be aiming for the win, or hoping many other championship players have trouble. The bubble spot will be an interesting one for fantasy players to keep an eye on during this race, and that battle could draw some interesting strategies as teams work to maximize points.

Key Stats at Bristol Motor Speedway

  • Number of races: 119
  • Winners from pole: 27
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 68
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 93
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 6
  • Fastest race: 104.589 mph

Previous 10 Bristol Winners

2019 fall - Brad Keselowski
2019 spring - Denny Hamlin
2018 fall - Kyle Busch
2018 spring - Kurt Busch
2017 fall - Kyle Busch
2017 spring - Kyle Busch
2016 fall - Kevin Harvick
2016 spring - Carl Edwards
2015 fall - Joey Logano
2015 spring - Matt Kenseth

Bristol Motor Speedway is a high-banked concrete short track known for igniting tempers. The added pressure of it being a playoff elimination race will undoubtedly force emotions to boil over. Drivers will be anxious to get into a rhythm with the track, and navigating traffic will be a constant factor. Bristol's fastest line may be up against the wall, but it will likely take some time before the high line works in well enough for drivers to be comfortable running up there. Drivers and teams needing to be more aggressive will move there earlier, but that comes with risk if a lack of grip suddenly causes contact with the outside wall. The short lap means pit strategy will also be risky, as pitting early under green could trap a fast car laps down to the leaders. The long green-flag runs of Richmond didn't make that risk an issue, but Bristol traditionally generates many more cautions. 

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Denny Hamlin - $12,000
Brad Keselowski - $11,200
Chase Elliott - $10,700
Kyle Busch - $10,400

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Joey Logano - $9,700
Erik Jones - $9,400
Kurt Busch - $9,100
Ryan Blaney - $8,800

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Clint Bowyer - $8,400
Matt DiBenedetto - $8,100
William Byron - $7,900
Austin Dillon - $7,800

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Alex Bowman - $7,400
Christopher Bell - $7,100
Bubba Wallace - $6,800
Tyler Reddick - $6,600

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Denny Hamlin - $12,000
Chase Elliott - $10,700
Matt DiBenedetto - $8,100
Bubba Wallace - $6,800
Matt Kenseth - $6,300
Chris Buescher - $6,000

Denny Hamlin (DK $12,000, FD $13,600) was one of the drivers looking like a potential winner at Bristol earlier this year but left with a 17th-place finish after leading 131 laps. He's the defending winner of this week's race and has two career wins at the track, however. Chase Elliott (DK $10,700, FD $13,000) was another likely contender for the victory last time out at this track. He led 88 laps that day. Having led at least 30 laps in each of the last four Bristol races he makes an attractive option for fantasy rosters this week. Matt DiBenedetto (DK $8,100, FD $9,700) may be in a must-win situation this week to remain in the championship hunt, but he nearly won this race last year. He finished second to Denny Hamlin that time and led 93 laps. Bubba Wallace (DK $6,800, FD $6,600) is a value option this week. He has a tendency to outperform on superspeedways and short tracks. He finished 10th at Bristol earlier this season and was 14th in this race last season. Veteran Matt Kenseth (DK $6,300, FD $7,000) has quietly moved out of a small slump and is bring home top-15 finishes more consistently again. He is a four-time winner at the track and finished 16th here earlier this season. Chris Buescher (DK $6,000, FD $6,000) will start Saturday night's race 23rd, which is where he finished last time here. He has one top-five Bristol finish and would probably view Saturday night as a success with a solid top-20 finish.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $10,400
Ryan Blaney - $8,800
Clint Bowyer - $8,400
William Byron - $7,900
Austin Dillon - $7,800
Tyler Reddick - $6,600

Kyle Busch (DK $10,400, FD $12,000) led 100 laps at Bristol earlier this season but is still winless in 2020. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has not been far off the pace but carries a higher price tag than his results this season probably warrant. Fantasy players know he is an eight-time Bristol winner, though. Ryan Blaney (DK $8,800, FD $11,300) has never won at Bristol and needs to make up for a dismal first two-thirds of the round of 16. He has four top-10s from 10 Bristol starts and led 60 laps before crashing out here in the spring. Clint Bowyer (DK $8,400, FD $10,700) has also never won at Bristol, but he only finished outside of the top 10 here twice in the last 10 races. His average Bristol finish from 29 career starts is 13.7. William Byron (DK $7,900, FD $8,800) pulled off a clutch victory to put him into the playoffs, and it wouldn't be surprising if he found a way to advance to the round of 12 this week. He's among the cluster of drivers fighting to get above the cutoff line and will be seeking every point possible. The salary assignment for Austin Dillon (DK $7,800, FD $10,000) for this race seems to ignore his back-to-back top-five finishes heading into this weekend. He looks confident of advancing to the round of 12 and it wouldn't be a shock to see him score another top-five this weekend. Tyler Reddick (DK $6,600, FD $7,500) may have crashed at Bristol earlier this year, but he demonstrated competitive speed until then, and finished first and second in his last two Xfinity series starts at the track. His Xfinity win here came from the last starting position, too. 

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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