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

Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick racing at Darlington May 2020
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

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.

  • Starts
  • Finish
  • 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

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Kyle Busch203.006.5118.91122598551000
Erik Jones204.011.697.94907901000
Kevin Harvick206.005.5121.21022269521000
Austin Dillon209.013.982.150632998
Ryan Preece210.520.267.510165999
Kurt Busch211.016.487.3320370998
Michael McDowell212.020.266.410183998
Chase Elliott214.504.4109.780111997999
Chris Buescher215.519.865.5100307995
Joey Logano216.006.999.0322929998
Bubba Wallace216.016.972.580436997
Aric Almirola217.008.796.4331895970
Brad Keselowski217.512.0101.248197735912
Christopher Bell218.515.377.3161534987
Denny Hamlin219.011.291.242132660997
Tyler Reddick220.016.469.6190479728
Ryan Newman220.023.159.220112996
Martin Truex Jr222.016.279.1330540996
Daniel Suarez222.026.551.61010995
William Byron223.017.572.2310532732
Matt DiBenedetto225.019.569.02711376953
Ryan Blaney226.517.085.65060518697
Alex Bowman226.517.572.7250411726
BJ McLeod128.031.839.8200477
Quin Houff228.032.738.6100966
Garrett Smithley229.034.134.5100925
Cole Custer229.023.351.40083725
Corey LaJoie232.528.345.60025794
James Davison135.034.032.3000401
Ricky Stenhouse Jr237.024.546.860225256
Josh Bilicki139.038.923.800053

2021 Driver Averages At Steep Tracks

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Kyle Larson402.503.9127.323742413081327
Kevin Harvick405.506.9105.0363012711327
Denny Hamlin406.005.9110.36815312081327
Martin Truex Jr406.808.3112.212430211171326
Tyler Reddick410.011.787.11429531325
William Byron410.808.3107.76512310301159
Ross Chastain412.513.881.020118031325
Joey Logano412.809.197.8281211911326
Austin Dillon413.014.280.4808371325
Alex Bowman413.314.184.970988481321
Chris Buescher413.512.583.048588961327
Ryan Newman413.517.571.9805921322
Chase Elliott413.810.191.868411041287
Daniel Suarez415.019.265.7313721324
Kurt Busch415.510.488.377139471140
Brad Keselowski415.813.185.261518271324
Ricky Stenhouse Jr417.519.164.92202271322
Ryan Blaney417.811.086.8301710191325
Christopher Bell418.816.173.129135841321
Kyle Busch418.819.372.42495261078
Bubba Wallace418.818.762.9922611323
Ryan Preece419.021.359.5401651323
Cole Custer420.018.961.5903001131
Chase Briscoe420.823.458.1002551260
Matt DiBenedetto423.521.057.3701891316
Michael McDowell423.822.355.8170170980
Erik Jones424.822.852.72521121217
Corey LaJoie424.822.653.7102841201
Anthony Alfredo425.527.544.01061312
Justin Haley326.327.841.66011918
Aric Almirola430.017.952.950462935
Quin Houff431.032.331.80021287
Garrett Smithley231.533.033.3002646
Josh Bilicki432.033.030.60071244
BJ McLeod432.331.634.90061236
Cody Ware432.532.332.90141045
James Davison434.334.528.0001779

2021 Driver Averages w/ 750hp Package

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Kyle Larson905.607.8112.347369227233263
Denny Hamlin906.104.2120.537086731023264
Joey Logano906.207.6107.010519829713264
Martin Truex Jr907.409.1107.931053625473263
Kevin Harvick908.308.0101.81139629573262
Christopher Bell909.911.292.71573224923259
Chase Elliott910.608.998.914212427893224
Ross Chastain911.214.283.6522218143262
William Byron911.610.592.2723024963094
Austin Dillon913.415.475.926119083261
Ryan Blaney914.108.292.811227326493016
Alex Bowman914.213.684.111710822493142
Brad Keselowski915.311.688.010010123763145
Tyler Reddick915.813.678.933220223257
Ricky Stenhouse Jr916.117.172.971110023256
Aric Almirola916.213.778.7472618372874
Matt DiBenedetto917.217.270.0222014413251
Daniel Suarez917.619.965.15007703144
Kurt Busch918.213.375.5822219352715
Kyle Busch918.313.880.9806519132730
Chris Buescher920.119.463.41819863032
Ryan Newman920.220.660.1507573250
Bubba Wallace921.120.060.724276763244
Cole Custer921.821.460.33605953012
Erik Jones922.320.857.62123443054
Chase Briscoe923.421.858.5155853110
Corey LaJoie924.023.553.72124193120
Ryan Preece925.123.855.34103463030
Michael McDowell926.725.048.42001252795
Anthony Alfredo927.628.141.280393000
Justin Haley830.028.238.960422114
BJ McLeod930.630.837.720133134
Garrett Smithley631.832.832.200152042
Josh Bilicki931.933.231.20073083
James Davison732.033.828.91011945
Quin Houff932.032.731.40022790
Cody Ware732.733.232.33152045

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.

Dominators

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

Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Aric Almirola racing at Bristol 2020
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

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 burnout at Bristol 2019
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

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.

DriverDraftKings SalaryAvg Proj FPTSProj OwnershipStarting PositionCeiling Proj FPTSAvg. Projected FinishDollar Per FPT
Kyle Larson$11,300113.3537.87%5166.6002.5$100
Kyle Busch$11,50091.2738.22%9120.2004.7$126
Denny Hamlin$10,80064.1515.62%289.1004.0$168
Chase Elliott$10,50059.5024.11%483.7504.8$176
Kevin Harvick$9,00054.0819.20%879.9505.7$166
Martin Truex Jr$9,90052.7520.25%190.2012.2$188
Ryan Blaney$9,40052.1018.77%787.5506.8$180
Kurt Busch$9,60051.9323.08%1582.8010.0$185
Joey Logano$10,20046.6315.06%366.6005.5$219
Alex Bowman$8,00046.5223.54%1166.9010.0$172
Ross Chastain$7,80038.9019.61%1763.6012.3$201
Brad Keselowski$8,60038.7723.75%1054.8511.2$222
Christopher Bell$8,80037.9318.16%657.2009.8$232
William Byron$9,20037.8315.03%1454.2011.8$243
Austin Dillon$8,20036.3013.37%1845.1513.0$226
Tyler Reddick$7,60034.7716.16%1362.0012.0$219
Chris Buescher$6,70034.5024.38%2551.4018.7$194
Ricky Stenhouse Jr$7,20032.3315.79%2368.5517.8$223
Ryan Newman$7,00031.529.00%2445.2518.2$222
Daniel Suarez$6,60030.6518.01%2153.9517.5$215
Bubba Wallace$7,50029.5218.40%2850.4020.8$254
Aric Almirola$7,30024.107.50%1234.2517.2$303
Ryan Preece$6,00024.0225.56%2752.5022.2$250
Erik Jones$6,40023.8018.47%2237.9521.7$269
Matt DiBenedetto$8,40022.1310.13%1932.8020.3$380
Cole Custer$6,90021.9212.34%2637.7023.5$315
Corey Lajoie$5,60019.9532.35%3134.1526.3$281
Chase Briscoe$6,20017.8516.62%2042.6021.8$347
JJ Yeley$5,30012.339.12%3521.4532.2$430
Justin Haley$5,10011.836.49%2921.9029.7$431
Anthony Alfredo$5,20010.8316.33%3014.4530.8$480
Michael McDowell$5,40007.854.85%1629.3025.2$688
Quin Houff$4,50007.503.79%3413.0034.0$600
Garrett Smithley$4,70006.002.98%3609.0035.7$783
James Davison$4,80005.832.27%3712.0036.2$823
BJ McLeod$4,90005.671.17%3211.0034.2$865
David Starr$5,80005.330.97%3815.0036.3$1,088
Josh Bilicki$4,60004.001.68%3308.0035.3$1,150
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.