This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.
Bass Pro Shops Night Race
Location: Bristol, Tenn.
Course: Bristol Motor Speedway
Format: 0.53-mile oval
NASCAR Bass Pro Shops Night Race Preview
The NASCAR Cup Series will trim the playoff field from 16 to 12 this week at Bristol Motor Speedway. Tyler Reddick punched his ticket through to the next round with his win a week ago at Kansas, while several others left that race needing something to happen this week to stay in the hunt. Regular-season champion Martin Truex Jr. took perhaps the heaviest hit. He was first out of the race at Kansas, which was his worst result of the season. He fell to 13th in the standings to be the first driver on the outside looking into the transfer spots. Bubba Wallace, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Michael McDowell all join Truex in the elimination zone. However, nothing is over yet. Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Christopher Bell, and Chris Buescher aren't that far above the cut line with a mere 13 points separating ninth from 13th and elimination. There is still everything to race for under the lights this week at one of NASCAR's most intense tracks, Bristol.
Key Stats at Bristol Motor Speedway
- Number of races: 122
- Winners from pole: 27
- Winners from top-5 starters: 70
- Winners from top-10 starters: 95
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 6
- Fastest race: 104.589 mph
Previous 10 Bristol Winners
2022 - Chris Buescher
2021 - Kyle Larson
2020 fall - Kevin Harvick
2020 spring - Brad Keselowski
2019 fall - Denny Hamlin
2019 spring - Kyle Busch
2018 fall - Kurt Busch
2018 spring - Kyle Busch
2017 fall - Kyle Busch
2017 spring - Jimmie Johnson
Traffic is going to be on everyone's mind at Bristol. Drivers need to get their car handling well in the track's high-banked turns, and they'll have to be confident trying different lines in order to pass slower cars. The track's wide turns enable drivers to choose a few different lines to help them as their tires wear, but the fastest line will likely be right up against the wall by the end of the night. Success at Bristol requires a bit of luck and a lot of speed. Working through slower cars all night tests both of those aspects. Playoff drivers will be working to score as many points as possible, and track position will be an important thing teams monitor throughout the night. Making the right calls as to when to pit, and not making mistakes on pit road, will ensure drivers don't lose valuable spots on track. Those who qualify well and start up front will likely have an easier time maintaining that positive position, while those who start in traffic will have to start making on-track passes right away. Five-hundred laps at Bristol makes for a long night, and drivers will need to keep that in mind as they race for the finish.
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DraftKings Value Picks for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
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NASCAR DFS Picks for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
The lower-risk lineup for Bristol focuses on drivers seeking a productive night to get through to the next round of championship playoffs. Christopher Bell (DK $10,800, FD $12,500) enters the night 10th in the standings, needing as many points as possible to stay above the cutoff zone. He led 143 laps in this race last year and finished fourth. He should offer fantasy rosters at least a top-10 finish Saturday night. Brad Keselowski (DK $9,800, FD $11,500) should also be a candidate for a top-10. The RFK Racing machines have been quick at Bristol recently, and Keselowski led 109 laps in last year's race. He feels he should have won that one, but teammate Chris Buescher took the spoils. Keselowski is a three-time Bristol winner who has led double-digit laps at the track in seven of his last eight tries. Joey Logano (DK $9,000, FD $8,000) also needs a good points night. He is 11th in the standings, but has a history of success at this track. He is a two-time Bristol victor, but failed to finish last year's race with suspension trouble. He cannot afford that this week, and will be aiming for stage points and a top finish.
Unlike the first three choices, Daniel Suarez (DK $7,200, FD $5,800) is just racing for wins. Last week's race at Kansas was his best finish (16th) since finishing third at Indianapolis. Suarez has 10 prior Bristol starts with two top-10 finishes, and he finished 19th in this race last season. Aric Almirola (DK $6,900, FD $6,500) is in a similar situation. He finished 14th at Darlington and 17th at Kansas. He also started from pole at Bristol last season, and led 36 laps in that race before a steering issue ended his night. Another driver to keep a close eye on would be Ryan Preece (DK $6,300, FD $4,500). This short track is one where he brings the potential to outperform his usual finishes. He finished 18th last week at Kansas and has finished inside the top 20 in four of five series starts at Bristol.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Denny Hamlin (DK $11,200, FD $13,500) is in fine standing to advance in the playoffs, but he will be getting frustrated that his speed hasn't turned into a win. He led laps in the last eight races leading up to Bristol, but hasn't won since Pocono in July. He finished runner up twice in that span, and is hungry to get some playoff victories. He has two prior Bristol wins on his resume and finished in the top 10 in each of the last seven races there on pavement. Ryan Blaney (DK $8,800, FD $10,000) also won't be sweating as much as other playoff drivers Saturday night, but he still needs a clean outing to avoid the stress. He has five Bristol top-10s from 13 career starts and led nine laps in last year's race. Ross Chastain (DK $8,500, FD $8,500) and Bubba Wallace (DK $8,000, FD $7,800) are in a position where they will have to push a little harder than others to ensure they advance to the next playoff round. Chastain is above the cut line, but he doesn't have any room for error. He has just one top-10 from six Bristol tries, but that finish came last season when he finished sixth. He started the playoffs on better footing than he ended the regular season, and that bodes well for another top finish this Saturday. Wallace, on the other hand, has to come from behind to advance. He enters the weekend as the first driver out of the transfer positions and will need to cover a seven point gap to Kevin Harvick in 12th. He stumbled at Kansas and can't afford similar trouble at Bristol. His best prior Bristol finish was 10th in 2020, and he will have the extra motivation of a spot in the round of 12 this week.
Last week was a good one for Erik Jones (DK $7,400, FD $7,000). He mixed things up at the front of the field for his best finish of the season. It was his second top-10 in a row, which reinforces his comments about the team's improvement. Bristol has typically been a good venue for him, too. With five top-10 finishes from 10 series starts, expect the momentum to continue. Rounding off the higher-risk choices is Austin Dillon (DK $6,100, FD $5,200). With just two top-20 finishes in the last five races, Dillon is undeniably in a slump. His last top-10 came on a short track, though. Dillon failed to finish last year's Bristol race, but he finished 15th or better in the three prior.