The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is returns to action this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. The half-mile short track is set to host Saturday’s Bass Pro Shop NRA Night Race, and the second race of the year at the short track has long been a fan favorite. The race should also be a favorite of anyone playing in season-long Fantasy NASCAR leagues.
With the season winding down in Fantasy Live, you may not need to save starts from the bigger names. However, Saturday night’s race is a golden opportunity to save some starts from the top options in the Driver Group Game. Short tracks tend to shuffle the hierarchy of the midrange drivers, and when you throw in Bristol’s higher-than-normal attrition rate, it makes even more sense to go against the grain with your picks.
Looking back at the April race here, it was big names Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson who ended up battling for the win. However, Jimmie Johnson had one of his best runs of the year and finished third, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman rounded out the Top 5. Dropping back a bit, David Ragan ended up in the Top 15 and Landon Cassill finished in the Top 20. You don’t need to use a lineup full of studs to post a solid score this weekend.
The Driver Group Game last all 36 races, so maximizing the production of your picks over the course of the season is crucial. A short track like Bristol is one of the riskier places to trust your big names and one of the best places to steal a great finish out of a normally mediocre option. Build your lineups accordingly.
- Kyle Busch, M&M’s
After a stretch of bad luck at Bristol, Busch is once again rolling at the track. He won the night race last year and the spring race earlier this year, leading more than 100 laps in both. Busch now owns seven career wins at Bristol, and I wouldn’t bet against a three-peat and win No. 8 this weekend.
- Kyle Larson, CreditOne/DC Solar
Larson has been knocking on the door of a win at Bristol, leading at least 70 laps in each of the last three races here and leading at least 200 laps twice in that span. Larson was the runner-up here in the spring, and if you want to save a start from one of the Big 3 in the Driver Group Game, Larson is a great alternative.
- Kevin Harvick, Jimmy Johns/Busch Beer
While he hasn’t been dominant at Bristol, Harvick has been one of the most dependable drivers at the track. He has finished eighth or better in the last six races here, and he has three finishes of third or better in that span. You can count on another strong showing form Harvick this weekend.
- Joey Logano, Shell-Pennzoil
Over the last 10 races at Bristol, Logano leads all drivers with seven Top 10 finishes, including a ninth-place finish earlier this year. He also has a couple of wins in that span. This could be a great track to use him in Fantasy Live, especially if he qualifies well.
- Clint Bowyer, Mobil 1
Bowyer is one of the more underrated short track drivers in the series, and in three starts at Bristol with Stewart-Haas Racing, he has a pair of Top 10s, including a second-place finish. He is one of my favorite options in Fantasy Live and the Driver Group Game this weekend.
- Ryan Blaney, Menards/PPG
Don’t read too much into his 35th-place finish at Bristol back in the spring. He led 100 of the first 117 laps before being taken out by a lap car. He should be a great option in season-long format, and he’s a sleeper candidate for dominator points in DFS contests.
- Denny Hamlin, FedEx
He is in the middle of one of his stronger stretches at Bristol, and Hamlin has four Top 10s in the last six starts here, including three third-place finishes. If he can actually put together a mistake-free race, he could deliver a Top 5 this weekend.
- Kurt Busch, Monster Energy/Haas Automation
He is been hit and miss at Bristol recently, but Busch cracked the Top 5 here last year and has three Top 5s in the last eight races. His upside should have him on your radar in all formats, especially Fantasy Live where he could pile up some stage points.
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