Bristol Motor Speedway is where we’re at for Race #24 of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, and unfortunately for DraftKings players, NASCAR officials decided to go with the ridiculous condensed schedule for this weekend, so starting positions weren’t final until a few hours before the green flag was set to drop. This obviously has major implications for NASCAR Fantasy players, and puts us in a major time crunch, but unfortunately there’s nothing we can do when the sport wants to deliberately continue to alienate a hungry fan base while simultaneously shoving its head further up its ass.
Thankfully, NASCAR rushed through inspection today (record time!) so no starting positions changed from Friday.
First, here are some helpful links to the qualifying results and practice speeds from this weekend. Please note that in Practice #1 teams were mainly focused on qualifying trim, so I would completely throw that one out and only focus on Practices #2 and #3 from Saturday.
DraftKings Strategy Breakdown for Bristol 2
Here’s the thing about Bristol Motor Speedway: a lot changes over the course of a night. Think about it, we have 500 laps to run here for Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, and there’s going to be a lot of things that happen from green flag to checkered flag. Some drivers are going to have tires go down; some teams are going to make pit road mistakes; there’s going to be wrecks. So the point here, and with Bristol overall from a NASCAR Fantasy perspective, don’t necessarily tie yourself down to only the fastest cars from practice–especially this week, when the teams practiced during the heat of the day, while we’ll be racing here on Saturday night under the lights.
From qualifying on Friday, there were two “big name” chalk plays: Kyle Busch ($12,700), who ended up 31st-fastest, and Jimmie Johnson ($7,000), who qualified 30th. Now, with Kyle being as high-priced as he is, I think that’s going to curb his ownership quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still going to be very high-owned–I mean, the guy has won three of the last four races at this track–but I highly doubt we’re looking at over 50%.
Johnson, on the other hand, is probably going to be the highest-owned driver on this slate. In addition to starting in the bottom third of the field, DraftKings also severely under-priced the seven-time champion this week. Believe it or not, Jimmie has the best average finish over the last five races here at Bristol (6.8) and he also has just one result worse than 11th in his last ten starts in Thunder Valley.
Those stats are obviously great reasons to just throw Johnson in your DraftKings lineup this weekend, but like a week ago at Michigan, I always look at these situations as great opportunities to go against the crowd. Remember, Daniel Hemric was super high-owned last week and ended up crashing and finishing 26th–who’s to say the same thing can’t happen to Johnson here at Bristol? I mean, he does have three finishes of 30th or worse over the last five races overall.
Essentially, the main thing you need to nail at Bristol is the dominator points. As I said before, things change like crazy at this track, and as far as laps led, we usually see two or three drivers leading 100+ laps during the races here. Fastest laps aren’t quite as skewed, and they don’t necessarily come from the leaders. In the first Bristol race this year, Kevin Harvick put up a race-high 82 fastest laps without leading a single one, and in last year’s Bristol night race, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick led the way with a combined 93 fastest laps while only having a combined 8 laps led.
GPP Drivers I Love For Bristol 2
Chase Elliott ($9,800) – When you play NASCAR Fantasy contests for years and years, you quickly pick up on the habits of some drivers. For example, Chase Elliott is one of those guys that rarely shows his hand during practice. So when he’s high on the speed charts on Friday/Saturday, that’s a very good sign for race day. Well, looking at Friday’s two practice session, the #9 Chevrolet ranked 4th-best in ten-lap average during both sessions, and then on the overall average speed chart, I have Elliott clocked at 8th-fastest, even though he ran the most legitimate laps out of the top eight on that chart. That’s significant, by the way. Chase led 112 laps in this race one year ago and was ahead for 38 the last time we were here in April. The #9 Chevrolet will roll off the grid from 6th here on Saturday night but could lead for a while if Chase can get out front.
Daniel Suarez ($7,200) – I’ll be the first one in the world to criticize Daniel Suarez on race day, but I’m going to be a fan of his here on Saturday night. Here’s the thing: the #41 Ford was one of the more consistent in terms of speed during practice here on Friday, and Suarez has also delivered on the shorter tracks this season. Looking just at the Martinsville, Bristol, Dover, and New Hampshire races of 2019, Daniel has an average finish of 12th–which is 11th-best in the series–and here at Bristol he’s finished inside the top 15 in three of the last four races, including a career-best finish of 8th back in April. What I really like about Suarez on Saturday night, though, is where he’s priced: right between the chalk plays of Chris Buescher ($7,400) and Jimmie Johnson ($7,000). Hello Pivot Play Suarez!
Paul Menard ($6,200) – Here’s another driver that is severely under-priced by DraftKings for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. Back in April, Paul Menard finished 6th in his #21 Wood Brothers Ford, and over the last 15 races here he’s ended up 16th or better 11 times. That kind of consistency rarely happens at Bristol, especially for a driver in Paul Menard’s tier. This weekend, Paul will roll off the grid from the mid-20s, but his ten-lap average rank in Happy Hour on Friday (12th-best) says he should be much better than that in the race. For what it’s worth, Menard has an average finish of 12.8 on the shorter tracks this year (Martinsville, Bristol, Dover, and New Hampshire), which is right behind Daniel Suarez and 12th-best in the series.
Ty Dillon ($5,900) – I wrote up Ty Dillon in my article for the Bristol 2 Slingshot Fantasy Auto picks this week, and I’m sticking to it here in DraftKings as well. Ty qualified in 24th for Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, but he’s definitely capable of ending up inside the top 20 when it’s all said and done. If he can do his usual thing and stay on or near the lead lap, a top 15 is possible, too. Looking at the other races at shorter tracks this season, the #13 Chevrolet came home 15th at Phoenix, 13th at Martinsville, and 16th at New Hampshire. Oh, and let’s not forget about the first Bristol race of 2019, when Ty finished 15th after also starting 24th. He made the optimal lineup in that race, too, because that’s a great points effort for a sub-$6,000 driver.
Bristol 2 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race DraftKings Projections
You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.
|Driver||Starting Position||DraftKings Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Avg. Projected Finish||Proj Laps Led||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||3||$11,600||40.7||06.8||29||$285|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||15||$6,600||21.0||19.0||0||$314|