Daily Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview & Picks for DraftKings - Food City 500
Now’s your chance to get DFSR PRO, which will give you access to our MLB optimizer and our new player lab! Get started for free by clicking the button below.
First time with MLB? Be sure to read our free MLB Ebooks on building lineups, general strategy and more. We've got you completely covered.
Food City 500
Bristol Motor Speedway - Bristol, TN
Track - .533 Mile Short Track
After four straight races finishing inside the Top 3, Kyle Busch finally broke through with his first win of the season last week at Texas. He led 116 laps scoring 117 DraftKings points and overtook Kevin Harvick with an average of 71.9 DK points per race this season. He also picked up 59 series points to extend his lead over Joey Logano by 38 points and is locked into the playoffs. He now heads to a track where he has tallied a career-high six wins.
This week the Monster Energy Cup Series travels to the Last Great Coliseum, Bristol Motor Speedway, for the Food City 500 this Sunday. It is the second short track race of the season but the length is really the only similarity between Martinsville and Bristol. While the Martinsville is a flat track shaped like a paperclip, Bristol is a giant bowl shape with 24 to 30 degrees of banking and in past years they have added a compound to the track that has opened up a second lane to help produce more passing. This is not your father's Bristol, that's for sure.
From a fantasy perspective, dominator points will be key when building your core driver list. The race consists of 500 laps and there have been two drivers to lead 100 or more laps in five straight races with one driver leading 200 or more laps in four straight races. There have also been three or more drivers to lead 50 or more laps in two straight and four of the last six races here at Bristol. Place differential is also something to pay attention to this week as there have been six or more drivers who have picked up double-digit place differential in five of the last six races with a whopping 16 in the Spring of 2015.
With that said, let's take a look at some of the NASCAR trends and then some pre-qualifying targets.
Last Six Winners at Bristol Motor Speedway
- 2017 Summer - Kyle Busch(started 18th, led 156 laps, 145 DK points)
- 2017 Spring - Jimmie Johnson(started 11th, led 81 laps, 96.75 DK points)
- 2016 Summer - Kevin Harvick(started 24th, led 128 laps, 133.5 DK points)
- 2016 Spring - Carl Edwards(started 1st, led 276 laps, 157.5 DK points)
- 2015 Summer - Joey Logano(started 5th, led 176 laps, 121.5 DK points)
- 2015 Spring - Matt Kenseth(started 1st, led 47 laps, 75.75 DK points)
Top 5 Current Track History at Bristol Motor Speedway
Kevin Harvick not only leads all current drivers with a 4.8 average finish in the last four races at Bristol, he also leads them all in fantasy scoring as well with an average of 86.1 DK points per race. He has a win(2016), two Top 5's, and four straight Top 10's here with 155 laps led and a +51 place differential. Not far behind in fantasy scoring is Erik Jones who finished 17th last Spring and then after starting from the pole and leading 260 laps in August, finished runner-up to his teammate Kyle Busch. After those two drivers, there is a big drop off to third in fantasy scoring with Kyle Larson who struggled in 2016 with finishes of 35th and 24th but rebounded in a big way in 2017 with two Top 10 finishes and 272 laps led. Jimmie Johnson is the defending race champion of the Spring race and over his last four races has two total Top 10's and 81 laps led. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. doesn't have any laps led here but has two Top 10's and four finishes of 16th or better in the last two years and he knows how to din his way through the field with a +49 place differential.
Top 5 Career Track History at Bristol Motor Speedway
Over the last six races here at Bristol, Kevin Harvick has been very consistent with five straight Top 10 finishes and in the race he didn't finish Top 10 he led 184 laps. For Kyle Busch, Bristol has been his best track over the course of his career as he picked up his sixth win here last summer and over his last five races here(missed Spring 2015 race), he has led 604 laps. Jimmie Johnson picked up his second career win here at Bristol last Spring and has been very consistent over his last six races with five finishes if 11th or better. Kyle Larson had a terrible stretch where he finished outside the Top 20 in three straight races but has since picked up back to back Top 10's and is looking for his first Top 5 here at Bristol. The good news is like I mentioned above, he has led 272 laps in the last two races as well.
Top 5 Current Track Type History(Short Tracks)
No driver has more wins on short tracks over the last two season than Kyle Busch's three and he also led all drivers in fantasy scoring on short tracks in 2017 with an average of 85.1 DK points per race thanks to 653 laps led. Brad Keselowski won the Martinsville race last Spring and had three Top 5's and led 343 laps which made up for two finishes outside the Top 25 as he finished second in fantasy scoring in 2017. Martin Truex Jr. is still seeking his first win on a short track in his career but was very consistent from a fantasy perspective last year with three Top 10's(one at each short track) and 356 laps led for an average of 57.3 DK points per race. That first win could be coming sooner than later and he will likely be lower owned and a nice GPP play this week. Seven-time champ, Jimmie Johnson, leads all drivers with 14 short track win throughout his career and is one of three drivers to record an average finish below 10 over the last two years. One of the other two drivers to also do so is Joey Logano as he leads all drivers in that timeframe with 10 Top 10 finishes in the 13 races.
Top 5 Current Form (Four Races)
There is a perfectly good reason why Happy Harvick and Kyle Busch top the salary week in and week out. They have dominated when looking at the fantasy numbers this season, both averaging over 80 DK points per race. Harvick has three wins and 520 laps led despite two finishes outside the Top 30(Daytona, Fontana) and Kyle Busch has been en fuego lately and after four straight finishes inside the Top 3 he broke through last week with win #1 and is second to Harvick with 349 laps led on the season. Up next is Clint Bowyer, who is having one heck of a bounce-back season with Stewart-Haas Racing. He followed up his win at Martinsville with his fourth Top 10 of the season at Texas. Martin Truex Jr. dropped down the list a little bit after wrecking out early in Texas after blowing a right front and smashing the wall. Outside of that finish, he is about on par with last seasons start besides the laps led. We haven't seen the last of the 2017 series champion. Pulling up the rear of the Top 5 in fantasy form is young Ryan Blaney who has put together back to back Top 5 finishes at Texas and Martinsville and has finished 16th or better in every race this season.
Pre Qualifying/Practice Targets
Kyle Busch has the edge when looking at career wins here at Bristol but Harvick has been much more consistent lately with five straight Top 10 finishes including a win in 2016. I will very likely have heavy exposure to both for if you are building one lineup and/or playing cash games, I prefer Harvick who has demonstrated more safety.
After finishing 17th in his first race here in a Cup car, Jones showed what he can do at Bristol starting from the pole in August, leading 260 laps and finishing runner-up to his teammate. It should be no surprise as he also won two of his last three Xfinity races he participated in here as well. The price is up $400 from last week but still not at a season-high and he should be considered in all formats.
My top value before seeing practice/qualifying is definitely Trevor Bayne. He has the second-best average finish(8.8) among active drivers over the last two years(four races) with two Top 10's and four finishes of 12th or better. He is also averaging the most DK points per race(44.4) in that time of any driver under $7,500.
If you have any questions scroll down to the comment section and join the conversation.Good Luck everyone!
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for four years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is an active player in NFL, MLB, NHL, PGA, and of course NASCAR. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @jager_bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any NASCAR questions or how he copes with the winters up north.
- NASCAR Phoenix Auto Racing: (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)