Yep, we’re actually doing this: the Bristol Dirt Race is race #7 of the 2021 Fantasy NASCAR season. Nobody really knows what to fully expect here on Sunday, and when it comes to the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest, the biggest question is, how do you want to build your lineup? We could easily see some mass carnage here on Sunday in the dirt, so that opens up the door for treating this race like a superspeedway event when it comes to building a Slingshot lineup–going for place differential points and hoping your guys don’t wreck. Personally, that’s probably the strategy I’ll be taking this weekend.
We were supposed to have qualifying “heat races” on Saturday, but those got rained out, so the starting lineup for the Bristol Dirt Race was set by the normal qualifying formula. Technically, Kyle Larson is on the pole, but he will have to drop to the rear before the race starts because that team changed engines this weekend. He will still be scored from 1st in Fantasy NASCAR, though. You can click here to see the Food City Dirt 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.*
My Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order for Sunday’s race at Bristol Dirt can be found by clicking here! Also, if you enjoy the FREE NASCAR content on this site and everything it has to offer, consider supporting by donating here.
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Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for the Bristol Dirt Race
Christopher Bell ($11,700) – This is just a great high-upside play here in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. Christopher Bell is almost on Kyle Larson’s level in terms of the favorites to win this race, and he’s starting from 15th on Sunday, so there’s place differential upside as well. My main concern when it comes to CBell this weekend is his lack of speed during practice on Friday. Yeah, he had the 2nd-fastest lap in the first session, but he never made a long run, and in Happy Hour, the #20 Toyota was quite slow on the ten-lap average chart (ranking 30th out of 33).
Tyler Reddick ($10,500) – Luckily for Reddick, NASCAR decided to add some support into the right side of the cars this week to allow for more damage from the wall. But on a little more serious note, Tyler Reddick has a strong dirt racing background and he starts back in 27th on Sunday. That’s some major place differential potential for a guy that thrives on this “on the edge” style of racing. If you care about practice speeds this weekend, the #8 Chevrolet ranked inside the top 10 in both sessions when it came to ten-lap average, so that’s solid. Oh, and one more thing: Reddick has an absolutely beautiful paint scheme this weekend. It doesn’t actually mean anything, but I’m a sucker for a solid paint scheme.
Chase Briscoe ($9,500) – If you look at the betting odds for Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race at Bristol, you may be surprised to see Chase Briscoe as the 3rd-highest on the list, right behind favorites Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell. That’s because Briscoe is also a very good dirt racer (average finish of 3.6 at Eldora) who is in very good equipment with his #14 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing. Briscoe will start from back in 25th for this race, but that just means place differential potential for Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest players. It’s been a rough start for Briscoe in his rookie season this year but he will most likely be coming home with a season-best finish after Bristol Dirt.
Kyle Larson ($13,000) – The word “risky” is relative here, because really the only constant this week is that sportsbooks have had Kyle Larson as the heavy favorite to win the entire time. Not to mention, this #5 Chevrolet has been blazing fast over the last month, plus Larson was by far and away the fastest in both practices here on Friday (in terms of long-term speed). There’s no doubt he could definitely win this race. But with a Fantasy NASCAR game like the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest, picking Kyle Larson this week is extremely risky–and would be even if he didn’t have to go to the back of the field to start the race. Nobody knows what to expect with this dirt event. Having to come through the field just adds on to the chances that Larson gets wrecked or damage while doing so. Can he win? Yes. Will I be picking him in Fantasy NASCAR? Probably only in leagues that don’t take place differential into account. Like I said, though, Larson can win this dirt race.
Austin Dillon ($10,000) – Another strong dirt racer is Austin Dillon. He recently raced here at the Bristol Dirt Track in the Late Models and won all three times. Also, don’t forget that Austin won at Eldora in the Truck Series back in 2013. Add that dirt resume on to the fact that this #3 Chevrolet has been very strong to start out the 2021 season and you have a pretty solid fantasy pick in AD. He’s still risky, though. Dillon will roll off the grid from 9th when this race finally goes green, so with a $10,000 price tag in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest, you really need him to get Stage points and finish well in order for the gamble to pay off.
“The Ringers” (various salaries) – There are plenty of “dirt ringers” in this race so let’s just go over them quick. They’re risky because they are in the subpar equipment, plus they don’t race in the Cup Series very often. But they’re viable fantasy picks because they have dirt experience and place differential potential. Stewart Friesen ($8,600) is in the #77 Chevrolet for Kaulig this weekend and is the safest pick among the “ringers” because he probably has the most reliable equipment. He’s finished top 3 in the last three Eldora Truck races as well. Ty Dillon ($7,400) starts dead last, so not only can he not score negative points this week, but he has huge upside as well. He hasn’t been great at Eldora, but he’s been respectable and a top 10 challenger. Shane Golobic ($7,100) is in the #78 Ford for BJ McLeod and you can read some of his dirt accomplishments by clicking here. He probably has mid-20s finishing potential if there’s wrecks. Chris Windom ($7,000) is taking over the #15 Chevrolet this weekend and is the reigning USAC Midget Champion. This team also has NOS Energy Drink sponsoring the car so they might be a little more competitive than usual, but still about the same as Golobic in my eyes. Mike Marlar ($5,000) is in the #66 Toyota typically driven by Timmy Hill, and while he is a dirt racing ringer and 2018 World of Outlaws Late Model Dirt Series Champion, this is still the same junk 2018 chassis that Hill gets every week. I wouldn’t expect much from him.
“Race Winner” Pick = Kyle Busch – Nobody really knows what to expect from this race track after 250 laps, but I did see a tweet this week quoting Rudy Fugle (Kyle Larson’s crew chief) that “regular Bristol” notes may come into play by the end of this thing simply because of what the track surface will turn into. So if that is the case, give me Kyle Busch for the win. Over the last four Bristol races, Rowdy has an average finish of 2.8, an average running position of 8.1, and 360 laps led. Plus, I’ll always roll the dice an ultra-talented guy like Kyle Busch in a brand new race like this. It helps that he starts up in 4th, too.