The NASCAR Cup Series closes out the first Round of the 2021 Playoffs at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend with the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race on Saturday night. We have 500 laps scheduled under the lights of this half-mile bullring, and there’s certain to be a lot of beating and banging on track, with a lot on the line for several Playoff drivers. Compared to Richmond last weekend, races at Bristol are significantly less predictable, so keep that in mind when making your NASCAR Fantasy picks this weekend. I think the algorithm is solid this week on who should be fast, but don’t forget that one simple mistake can put a driver five or ten laps down very quickly.

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How the algorithm works: There are quite a few statistics that go into the Power Index formula, including recent performance both overall and at this week’s track specifically, similar track performance, projected strength of the car, practice speeds (when applicable), starting position, and a few other variables.

Before We Get To The Algorithm Results…Thoughts On A Couple Drivers

Martin Truex, Jr. Smiling in Garage 2019
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Martin Truex, Jr. – Believe it or not, a 9th-place finish out of Martin Truex, Jr. on Saturday night would be a very, very good run for that #19 team. For whatever reason, Truex just isn’t very good at Bristol Motor Speedway. His career average finish here is 20.4 (over 30 total starts) and he has a grand total of three top 10s, giving him a 10% rate of top 10 finishes. With that being said, MTJ is starting on the pole this weekend and has finished inside the top 5 in three of the four “comparable track” races this season, so maybe this is the Bristol race he finally turns things around…

Chris Buescher – A driver that might not get a lot of attention this weekend is Chris Buescher, although he could actually end up being a pretty solid NASCAR Fantasy pick in most leagues. Buescher starts back in 25th on Saturday night–good for place differential leagues–and hasn’t been awful here at Bristol over the years (20.5 average finish across 11 total starts). He wound up finishing 8th here last fall and looking at the similar tracks we’ve ran at this season, Buescher came home 19th at Homestead, 9th in both Darlington races, and 17th at Dover.

Bristol Night Race Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order

RankDriverPower
Index
1.Larson, Kyle41.10
2.Elliott, Chase39.81
3.Hamlin, Denny38.74
4.Busch, Kyle38.17
5.Harvick, Kevin35.31
6.Blaney, Ryan33.74
7.Logano, Joey33.30
8.Busch, Kurt30.43
9.Truex, Jr., Martin29.91
10.Keselowski, Brad29.71
11.Bowman, Alex26.71
12.Dillon, Austin26.47
13.Bell, Christopher25.20
14.Chastain, Ross23.34
15.Reddick, Tyler22.38
16.Byron, William21.18
17.Almirola, Aric14.18
18.DiBenedetto, Matt13.61
19.Newman, Ryan10.45
20.Suarez, Daniel-09.98
21.Jones, Erik-13.51
22.Stenhouse, Jr., Ricky-13.72
23.Buescher, Chris-15.90
24.Briscoe, Chase-16.18
25.Wallace, Bubba-18.23
26.Preece, Ryan-18.92
27.McDowell, Michael-20.13
28.LaJoie, Corey-22.50
29.Custer, Cole-26.45
30.Haley, Justin-30.36
31.Alfredo, Anthony-31.33
32.Yeley, JJ-34.52
33.McLeod, BJ-38.13
34.Bilicki, Josh-38.39
35.Houff, Quin-38.84
36.Davison, James-39.69
37.Smithley, Garrett-40.67
38.Starr, David-43.25
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.