Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fantasy Live / Fox: Quick Picks
Short tracks like Bristol Motor Speedway are known for producing some action-packed racing, but the same bumping and banging that creates excitement can make things difficult for fantasy owners.
Even though races at Bristol aren’t the demolition derbies they used to be, it is still harder for a driver to stay out of trouble here than at an intermediate oval. In fact, Jimmie Johnson is the only driver who has finished in the top 10 in more than half of the last ten races at Bristol.
With that in mind, I’m going to lean heavily on the mid-level drivers in the Yahoo game this weekend rather than risk using the top options. As impressive as drivers like Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Larson have been at Bristol, all three finished outside the top 30 in the April race, and there are going to be some big names that have big trouble again this weekend. There are plenty of solid alternatives to turn to, so save the elite fantasy options for a track that is a little more predictable.
I will have a much different strategy in the NASCAR.com game. With 500 laps on tap, scoring as many points as possible in the laps led and fastest laps categories is a must. In fact, Saturday’s race is one of the most important of the year because it is tied for first regarding overall fantasy points available.
If you have a great week at Bristol, your lineup could end up scoring more during Saturday’s race than you’ve scored in the last several races combined. It’s one thing to have a bad week at a track like Watkins Glen where even the top scores are relatively low. It’s much more damaging to have a bad week at Bristol where some fantasy owners are going to post huge scores.
You need to own the drivers that end up leading the most laps, and if that means top-loading your lineup and rounding it out with a couple of low-priced sleepers, so be it.
To get ready for the night race at Bristol, check out a complete look at my season-long fantasy NASCAR lineups, and make sure to check out the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Auto Racing
Joey Logano (A)
There is something about the night race at Bristol that brings out the best in Logano. He has won this event the last two years, and he has finished in the top five in all three of his starts in this race since joining Team Penske. I'm banking on another top five Saturday night.
Ryan Newman (B)
Newman ranks fifth in driver points scored in the last ten races here, and he finished 16th or better in his last five starts at the track, notching three straight top 10s. Newman qualified 15th, and his safe floor and decent ceiling make him a great B-List alternative.
Paul Menard (B)
He finished 15th at Bristol in April, and Menard has cracked the top 15 in seven of his last ten starts at the track, ranking in the top 10 in driver points scored in that span. He qualified 20th, and I expect him to work his forward a bit and deliver a solid finish.
Jeff Gordon (C)
Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott may finish better than Gordon, but I'm going to take advantage of the veteran as much as I can before Dale Earnhardt Jr. returns because the C-List alternatives will get ugly once Gordon is out of the picture. He has two top 15s in three starts since subbing in for Junior, and another solid run seems likely after he qualified in the top 15.
NASCAR.com Fantasy Live
Kevin Harvick ($28.00)
With two other drivers in my lineup whom I feel are going to dominate the laps led and fastest laps run categories, I am rostering Harvick because of his upside in the place differential category. He starts 24th, but with finishes of second and seventh in his last two starts here, I am expecting at least a top 10 and 15-plus bonus points for spots gained.
Matt Kenseth ($27.50)
The laps led category is crucial at Bristol, and no driver has been better at leading laps here than Kenseth. His 830 laps led in the last ten races are tops in the series, and he has led more than 40 laps eight times in that span. In fact, Kenseth has led more than 100 laps in four of his last ten starts at Bristol. Starting fifth, Kenseth is in prime position to put up a ton of points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories.
Carl Edwards ($26.50)
When the series visited Bristol in April, Edwards started on the pole and led 276 laps on his way to the win. He is back on the pole again this weekend, and he could complete the season sweep in impressive fashion. Edwards is a four-time Bristol winner, and he has led more than 70 laps in all three of his starts here since joining Joe Gibbs Racing.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($13.00)
He qualified 25th, and Stenhouse is no stranger to working his way to the front at Bristol. In seven starts, he has six top 20 finishes, and he has an 11.9 average finish and a +11.2 average place differential. Look for Stenhouse to work his way toward to the top 15 and provide a great point total for a bargain price.
Matt DiBenedetto ($4.75)
I was hoping DiBenedetto would qualify deeper in the field, but I'll still take a chance on him after he qualified 18th. For one, he is the cheapest driver available, so he frees up a ton of cap space. He also finished a shocking sixth in the April race, and he has finished 21st or better in two of his three starts. I'm not expecting anything close to a top 10 finish, but if he can hover around the top 20, he will be a steal at this price.
FOX Fantasy Auto Racing
Kevin Harvick ($13,000)
Harvick doesn't come cheap, but there isn't a more reliable driver starting outside the top 20 this weekend. He finished second at Bristol last August and seventh in the spring race this season. Place differential is the main way to bolster your score in this format, and Harvick could gain as many as 20 spots Saturday night.
Kyle Larson ($9,400)
He has shown race-winning speed on multiple occasions at Bristol, and he has managed three finishes of 12th or better in five starts. Yes, he can be a boom-or-bust option, but Larson has 50-point potential after a 23rd-place effort in qualifying. At a track that already tends to be unpredictable, I'll gamble on his upside.
Jamie McMurray ($9,400)
McMurray has been very reliable at Bristol, cracking the top 20 in nine of his last ten starts and reeling off four straight top 15s. After qualifying 28th, his floor should be in the 30-point range, and McMurray has a legit chance to approach 50 fantasy points thanks to the points available through place differential.
Tony Stewart ($8,600)
While his recent record at Bristol doesn't stand out, the combination of price, starting position and momentum makes him an appealing option. He enters Saturday's race with seven finishes of 11th or better in his last eight starts, including four top-five finishes in his last five starts. He starts 27th, so "Smoke" will deliver a huge score if he continues his hot streak.
Greg Biffle ($7,600)
Biffle finished 12th at Bristol in April, and in his last ten starts here, he has six top 15s. A spin in qualifying has him starting 34th, and you aren't going to find another driver priced below $8,000 with this much upside. Biffle should easily top 40 fantasy points once place differential is factored in.