Food City 500
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
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Coming out of the first off week of the season, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for some short track action. The half-mile, high-banked oval is always among the most popular with both drivers and fans, and there should be no shortage of action in Sunday's Food City 500.
When it comes to DFS NASCAR at Bristol, it's all about the dominator categories. Sunday's race is scheduled for 500 laps, so that means the points available in the laps led and fastest laps run categories will be at their highest. More importantly, history says that a couple of drivers will exploit these categories.
In the six races over the last three years, nine different drivers have led at least 120 laps in a single race at Bristol. Five drivers have led at least 170 laps in that span with two leading well over 200 laps. The fastest laps run category tends to be a little more dispersed, but you can still expect to see a couple of drivers deliver at least 50 fastest laps with one driver topping 70.
Needless to say, there are probably going to be a couple of drivers who score in the triple digits at DraftKings this weekend, and you are going to need both in your lineup if you plan on winning any significant prize money.
With that in mind, I tend to top load my DFS lineups at a short track like Bristol to give myself the best chance of scoring points in the dominator categories. You always want to look for a couple of cheap options which can exploit the place differential category, but if it comes to it, I will punt a lineup spot to afford another driver who can lead a bunch of laps.
Qualifying and practice will help determine my final picks, but in the meantime, here is a closer look at the drivers I will be targeting heading ahead of Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Kyle Busch ($10,600)
Busch has done his share of dominating at Bristol throughout his career. He is a five-time winner at the track, and since joining the Cup Series, he ranks first in both dominator categories by a sizeable margin. By the way, Busch isn’t slowing down at Bristol, and he has led over 190 laps in two of his last three starts here.
Kevin Harvick ($10,400)
Although he has had some bad luck cost him some wins at Bristol, his overall resume at the track is stellar. He ranks second in fastest laps run and fourth in laps led, and Harvick has been locked in here since joining Stewart-Haas Racing. He led 128 laps in a win last summer, and he has led a combined 428 laps in six starts with SHR.
Brad Keselowski ($10,300)
No one is running any better than Keselowski heading into Sunday's race, and he knows how to get the job done at Bristol. Not only is he a two-time winner at the track, but he has led 7.1 percent of the laps he has run at Bristol, a rate that ranks third among active drivers.
Kyle Larson ($10,100)
His results at Bristol don't tell the whole story with Larson. He always seems to have a fast car at the track, and he more than holds his own in the dominator categories, relatively speaking. In terms of percentage of laps run at the track, he ranks fifth in fastest laps and 10th in laps led. Larson has been one of the two best drivers in the series this year, and I think a breakout performance could be on tap at a track that he has made it clear is among his favorites.
Joey Logano ($10,000)
Logano has been dialed in at Bristol the last couple of years, notching four Top 10s in his last five starts, including a couple of wins. He has led a combined 294 laps in that same span, leading 75-plus laps on two separate occasions. Logano could certainly pull his weight in the dominator categories Sunday.
Matt Kenseth ($9,100)
If you are looking for a cheaper option to build around this weekend, Kenseth is your man. He is a four-time winner here, and he ranks second in laps led and third in fastest laps run. Kenseth has led 40-plus laps in seven of his last ten starts at Bristol, including 142 in the spring race last year.
Clint Bowyer ($8,400)
He won't come cheap for a driver who typically doesn't do much damage in the dominator categories, but Bowyer is one of the steadiest performers at short tracks. Of the drivers who have participated in the last ten races at Bristol, Bowyer's 11.8 average finish is the best. His average place differential of +11.0 during that same span is also appealing. If he starts in the middle of the pack or worse, he will be worth every penny.
Jamie McMurray ($8,000)
McMurray has been running well all weekend, and McMurray has been as reliable as any driver at Bristol the last couple of years. His streak of five straight Top 15s at the track is the longest in the series, and he has gained at least ten spots in three starts during that span. I'll be all over him in cash games if the starting spot is right.
Kurt Busch ($7,700)
While I know he has struggled a bit since winning the Daytona 500, Busch is simply underpriced this weekend considering his upside. He is a five-time Bristol winner, and he has four Top 15s in his last five starts here, including a couple of Top 5s. I'll have some exposure to him this weekend.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,100)
I was surprised to see Stenhouse priced so affordably this weekend. Yes, he tends to be unpredictable, but he has been on point at Bristol. He has a 10.6 average finish in eight starts here, finishing sixth or better four times. He has also gained an average of 12.8 spots per race. Regardless of where he starts, he needs to be considered for GPPs at this price. If he has upside through place differential, he is a no-brainer play.
Trevor Bayne ($6,800)
Since a rough debut, he has quietly built a solid resume at Bristol. Bayne has reeled off three straight Top 15s at the tracks, gaining at least five spots in every start. Bayne logged a Top 5 finish here last spring. If he starts in the middle of the pack or deeper, he should be a safe, cheap roster addition.
Paul Menard ($6,400)
Menard tends to be a mid-pack finisher most weeks, but he has been pretty dependable at Bristol. He has seven Top 15s in his last ten starts at the track, including three in his last five. He qualifies somewhere in the back half of the field, Menard could be a steal at this price.
Landon Cassill ($5,300)
He is surprisingly cheap for a driver who always runs near the Top 25 every week, and last year at Bristol, he finished 22nd and 20th in two starts, gaining a combined 18 spots. If he starts outside the Top 30, Cassill should be an excellent punt play for cap relief.