The Cup Series will complete the Round of 16 under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday night. Three non-playoff drivers won each race in the Round of 16 last year. The favorites have been dominating the playoff races in 2023 (Kyle Larson won at 6-1 odds at Darlington and Tyler Reddick won at 9-1 odds at Kansas). So, will we get another favorite in Victory Lane Saturday night or could it be a non-playoff driver who steals the show (like Chris Buescher did last year)? This race is more wide open for a driver with a bit longer odds to win then what we had in the first two playoff races.
There is a group of drivers who consistently run well at Bristol, but they have not consistently gone to Victory Lane. The last eight races at Bristol on the concrete have been won by eight different drivers. Chris Buescher won in 2022, Kyle Larson won in 2021, Brad Keselowski won the first race in 2020, Chase Elliott won the second race in 2020, Kevin Harvick won the third race in 2020, Kyle Busch won the first race in 2019, Denny Hamlin won the second race in 2019 and Kurt Busch won in 2018. I would not be surprised to see another new driver add his name to the list. Christopher Bell and William Byron have a history of finishing up front at Bristol. Any of the drivers listed above will be good bets for the race Saturday night (except Kurt Busch of course).
* The odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook. The odds could change between the time of this article and the time you place your bet.
** The first number is the amount of money based on the second number (the amount of the wager). So if you bet $1 on Kyle Larson at 5-1 odds, you will win $5.
CHRISTOPHER BELL (8-1): Bell had a good chance to win the Bristol Night Race last year. He qualified fourth, led 143, finished second in Stage 1, won Stage 2 and finished fourth in the race. Bell had a history of dominating the races at Bristol in the Xfinity Series. He is starting to figure out how to do it in the Cup Series too. Bell is my pick to win Saturday night so I will bet him at 8-1 odds.
BRAD KESELOWSKI (9-1): The Bristol Night Race was the best race for RFK Racing in 2022. Keselowski led 109 laps, won Stage 1 and finished 10th in the race. It is obvious that RFK Racing figured out a setup that works at Bristol. The team is running a lot better in 2023 than they were in 2022. I would not be surprised to see Keselowski racing for the win at the end of the Bass Pro Shop Night Race.
KYLE BUSCH (12-1): Busch has had nothing but bad luck this summer and the No. 8 team has not shown any signs that they are ready to win a race. I just cannot pass up Busch at Bristol when he has double-digit odds. Busch has 8 wins at Bristol (more than double any driver in the field) and too many wins from the Xfinity Series and Truck Series to count at Bristol. I will roll the dice with Rowdy Saturday night.
CHRIS BUESCHER (12-1): Buescher won this race last year. Can he do it again? I would not bet against him. Buescher has won three of the last five oval track races (not including Daytona). He has finished in the top-three in four of the last five oval track races. The No. 17 team is running too well right now to fade. I will take a chance with Buescher and hope he can have a race like he did last year at Bristol.
KEVIN HARVICK (14-1): This is the last race at Bristol for Harvick. It is one of his better tracks and I am sure he is going to be extra motivated to get back to Victory Lane in Thunder Valley. Harvick won the Bristol Night Race in 2020 and he finished second in 2021. Harvick has the third-best driver rating on the short tracks this year. We saw Tony Stewart win in his final season (Sonoma) and Jeff Gordon win before he retired (Martinsville). I will bet that Harvick can do it too.
LONG-SHOT BET: I haven’t decided yet if I will bet RYAN PREECE or not. He is a short track specialist and he could win this race if his car has any speed. I may watch practice first and see how fast the No. 41 car looks. I doubt his odds will come down too much from 250-1 because of the name on the windshield. You will get a great return on your investment if Preece can pull off a win Saturday night
Good luck Saturday night!
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