We’re back to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race and the final race of the first round of this year’s Playoffs. There’s a lot on the line for the Playoff bubble drivers this weekend and with this race being on a half-mile bullring, we’re bound to see some beating and banging on Saturday night. Martin Truex, Jr. is on the pole with Denny Hamlin starting 2nd this weekend, and for the full starting lineup you can click here. Before we get to this article make sure you check out my FanDuel write-up for this weekend’s race (click here) since there’s so much crossover between these two DFS sites. Now let’s goooo!!!!
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Speed Report & Loop Data Driver Averages
I’m mainly focusing on specifically Bristol data this weekend, but I’m also taking a look at steep track data from this year (Dover, Homestead, Darlington) as well as the 750hp package data. I’ve included charts for all three of these data sets. When it comes to 750hp package this season, those races have been at the following tracks (excluding the road courses): Darlington (two races), Phoenix, Martinsville, Dover, Richmond (two races), Nashville, and New Hampshire.
- ARP = average running position
- DR = driver rating
- FL = fastest laps (total)
- LL = laps led (total)
- T15 = laps ran inside top 15 (total)
- Total Laps = laps completed (total)
2020 Driver Averages At Bristol
|Martin Truex Jr||2||22.0||16.2||79.1||33||0||540||996|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||2||37.0||24.5||46.8||6||0||225||256|
2021 Driver Averages At Steep Tracks
|Martin Truex Jr||4||06.8||08.3||112.2||124||302||1117||1326|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||4||17.5||19.1||64.9||22||0||227||1322|
2021 Driver Averages w/ 750hp Package
|Martin Truex Jr||9||07.4||09.1||107.9||310||536||2547||3263|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||9||16.1||17.1||72.9||71||1||1002||3256|
DraftKings Strategy & Dominators for Bristol
- Bristol is a half-mile race track and there are 500 laps scheduled around this bullring on Saturday night. That means that nailing the dominators is absolutely necessary. And yes, dominatorS, with an S. Typically we see at least two dominators at Bristol, maybe even up to four.
- Recently at Bristol we’ve averaged 75 caution laps, so if that trend continues this weekend, we’re looking at 425 green flag laps on Saturday night. That equals 191.25 DraftKings FPTS for fastest laps, and then 125 DraftKings FPTS for laps led.
- NASCAR is running the 750hp package this weekend. Other tracks where this package has been ran this season (excluding road courses) are: Phoenix, Martinsville, both Darlington races, Dover, Nashville, New Hampshire, and both Richmond races.
- Comparable tracks ran at this season would be (in this order): Dover, Homestead, and Darlington. You’re looking for steep ovals when taking into account comparable tracks. Personally, I like focusing heavily on Bristol data and somewhat Dover data. Hendrick Motorsports was dominant in the Dover race this season.
These are the potential dominators for this weekend’s race at Bristol, and are listed in the order of likelihood according to my projections:
- Kyle Larson
- Kyle Busch
- Denny Hamlin
- Martin Truex, Jr.
- Chase Elliott
- Ryan Blaney
- Joey Logano
Some “surprise” dominators that could happen on Saturday night include: Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman, Kevin Harvick, and Christopher Bell.
Driver-by-Driver Breakdown Video
Now for the video breakdown! Be sure to go here and subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already.
Optimal Lineup According to Jordan’s Projections
The optimal DraftKings lineup for Bristol Saturday night according to my Projections is:
- Kyle Busch
- Kyle Larson
- Alex Bowman
- Chris Buescher
- Daniel Suarez
- Corey LaJoie
Confidence Rating = 6.8/10. This is all going to come down to whether or not Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson are the two main dominators on Saturday night. It’s aggressive to put the two highest-priced drivers in the same lineup at a track like Bristol, but with the race being 500 laps, that could easily be the optimal if those two each lead 150+ laps. They are the favorites to win and also the most likely to dominate when you look around the industry. With the rest of the lineup, you’re just hoping for survival.
GPP / Tournament Picks
Chase Elliott ($10,500) – If you’re looking for a pivot off of one of the Kyles on Saturday night, look no further than Chase Elliott. He’s never won a points-paying race at Bristol, but he did win the All Star Race here last season, and he’s starting to establish himself as one of the best in “Thunder Valley.” Chase has led 294 laps over the last five Bristol races and has finished 7th, 5th, and 3rd in the last three fall events here. He had the 3rd-most fastest laps here during the two 2020 races and it seems like this #9 team is finding their stride now that the Playoffs have started. Oh, and don’t forget that Chase Elliott had a great race at Dover earlier this year, which is the most comparable steep track we’ve raced at in 2021.
Ryan Blaney ($9,400) – I think a lot of people are going to gravitate toward Kurt Busch ($9,600) in this price range because of the higher place differential upside, plus the Chip Ganassi cars have been crazy fast as of late…but don’t let Ryan Blaney slip by you here. Young Ryan Blaney has 22nd- and 10th-place finishes to start off the Playoffs this year, but don’t forget that he spun late at Darlington and that his 10th at Richmond is the best run he’s ever had there. Blaney has led 60+ laps in four of the last six Bristol races but really only has one good finish to show for it: a 4th in 2019. With how this #12 team is running, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Ryan Blaney challenged for the win this weekend.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,200) – If you haven’t listened to the Stacking Dennys podcast this week, go ahead and take a listen. I’ve linked the Spotify player directly below this paragraph for easy listening. Among a ton of great information, one of the main thing’s you’ll learn on this episode is how good Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is at Bristol. Yes, he’s sucked recently (five straight finishes of 24th or worse) but the guy has five finishes of 6th or better in 16 career starts and looking back at the 2017-2018 time span he averaged 22.8 fastest laps per race here. His ownership is bound to be quite low on Saturday night thanks to the $7,200 price tag, but Stenhouse could end up in the optimal lineup if he has one of his “old time” Bristol races.
Stacking Dennys Podcast with Jordan & RotoDoc
Cash Core Drivers
Kyle Busch ($11,500) – Kyle Busch starting 9th at Bristol. What a smash play. In addition to having some place differential upside, Rowdy is a dominator point hog here in “Thunder Valley,” with a total of 347 fastest laps and 532 laps led over the last six relevant races at this track. He’s also an 8-time winner here and has finished 4th or better in six of the last seven Bristol races. Busch only has an 8-point cushion in the Playoffs to make the next round, so one could argue that he may play it a little safer on Saturday night to try and make sure he doesn’t wreck, but when’s the last time you saw Kyle Busch do that? Exactly. Rowdy is a great DFS play this weekend.
Kyle Larson ($11,300) – Yes, I think there’s enough value in the lower tiers of drivers this week for this lineup (both Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson) to make sense as a cash play. If nothing goes wrong, this race could easily see Busch and Larson finish 1-2 and both of them lead 150+ laps. As I went over in my video this week (above), Kyle Larson was great here at Bristol before he went to Hendrick Motorsports, and he’s been great at the steep tracks this season as well. He also really has nothing to lose this weekend and can go 100% for the win, knowing he’s locked into the next round of the Playoffs. I’ll go 100% Larson in my lineups on Saturday night and not think twice about it.
Corey LaJoie ($5,600) – Last week at Richmond was a harsh reminder that Corey LaJoie isn’t superman, as the chalk play disappointed many DraftKings players last Saturday night. This week, you can expect LaJoie to be a chalk play again–which opens the strategy door of being underweight on him in tournaments–since he’s starting back in 31st. This #7 Chevrolet has been a high-20s car for the last few months and there’s no reason to think that changes this weekend even with LaJoie’s less-than-stellar record at Bristol (four finishes of 32nd or worse in the last five races). Corey had strong runs at both Darlington races this season and came home 26th at Dover.
Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol DraftKings Driver Projections
The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from six different ranking systems. Also factored in are projected laps led and fastest laps for each driver. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.
|Driver||DraftKings Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Proj Ownership||Starting Position||Ceiling Proj FPTS||Avg. Projected Finish||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||$9,900||52.75||20.25%||1||90.20||12.2||$188|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||$7,200||32.33||15.79%||23||68.55||17.8||$223|