The first round of the 2020 Playoffs will come to an end this Saturday night, as the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol will be the cutoff point for four teams’ championship hopes. Bristol is a half-mile, high banked short track, and it’s somewhat comparable to a Daytona or Talladega in terms of wrecks. We last raced here in July for the All Star Race, but we also raced here in May of this season, and 12 drivers didn’t finish because of wrecks. Because of the potential for high attrition, I feel like there are 15-20 viable drivers in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest on Saturday night. It should be a fun one! Brad Keselowski will be on the pole and you can click here for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race starting lineup.
*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on race day.*
Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for Bristol Saturday Night
Chase Elliott ($12,300) – Chase Elliott will start just outside the top 5 on Saturday night at Bristol but he should finish among the top 3, if not win the race. Chase won both Stages here in Thunder Valley in the regular season race back in May, and then he went on to pretty much dominate the All Star Race here once he got to lead after starting back in 13th. As far as average running position at Bristol, nobody is even really close to Chase’s average of 5.2 over the last four races here–Keselowski is next best at 8.3–and over the last two night races, Elliott has came home 5th and 3rd. Hendrick Motorsports has their speed back, and Chase now has four top 5s in the last six races overall. Expect that to be five of seven after this weekend.
Kyle Busch ($12,000) – It’s never a good idea to bet against Kyle Busch at Bristol. Rowdy is an eight-time winner here, and even though he’s had quite a rough season in 2020, Bristol has been a bright spot; in the regular season. race here back in May, Kyle led 100 laps and ended up finishing 4th, and then in the All Star Race in July he came home 2nd to Chase Elliott. Additionally, over the last six races here, Busch has five top 5 finishes and three wins. He’ll start back in 9th on Saturday night, too, which gives him decent room for place differential points in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest.
Ryan Blaney ($11,000) – Don’t let Ryan Blaney’s career average finish of 20.7 here scare you off. This is one of his best tracks, he just has horrible luck sometimes. When he doesn’t run in to issues, though, Blaney is a legitimate race winning contender. And with the #12 Ford rolling off the grid from 14th this weekend, that kind of potential could mean a huge Slingshot score out of Young Ryan Blaney on Saturday night. Looking at the last five races at Bristol, Blaney has the 3rd-best average running position (8.9), the most laps led (439), and the 5th-most fastest laps (25.4 per race). There are obviously safer fantasy options out there than Blaney this weekend but his ceiling is so high I’m willing to roll the rice.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,800) – Green Flag Speed has become a very useful statistic for Fantasy NASCAR players this season since we don’t have any practice data, and if you look at the latest trends among drivers, you’ll notice that Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is bit faster than usual as of late. And for a driver that has had great races here at Bristol in the past, I like that potential out of him on Saturday night. Stenhouse will start from back in 21st for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, but at just $7,800 in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest he makes a great play in my eyes. Ricky currently has four straight finishes outside of the top 20 in Thunder Valley but six of his last 13 starts here have ended with him inside the top 10.
John Hunter Nemechek ($6,800) – Just hoping for attrition here… Among those starting 30th or worse on Saturday night, John Hunter Nemechek has the best equipment, which means he has the highest upside in this Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. The last time we were here at Bristol, Nemechek started 18th and ended up finishing 13th when it was all said and done by just running a relatively clean race and avoiding the wrecks. Hopefully he can do that again this weekend.
Note: Just like last week, I’m throwing around a lot of lineups in my head for Bristol. The one posted above is what I’m rolling with as of Thursday afternoon, but I’m going to continue researching and probably over-thinking it up until the green flag. The other lineup I came up with is a little more central: Kyle Busch ($12,000), Ryan Blaney ($11,000), Erik Jones ($10,800), Jimmie Johnson ($9,400), and John Hunter Nemechek ($6,800)