There are only three races until the 2019 MENCS Playoff field is set. It will be important to know what position each team is in when making your picks for the Driver Group Game this week. Teams already locked into the playoffs will be sacrificing Stage points to go after the win. Teams on the bubble will likely use strategy to try and steal Stage points this week and teams outside the top 20 will be in a checkers or wreckers mood. It should be fun to see how it all plays out. The Bristol Night Race can be seen Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
One of the changes this season for the Driver Group Game is that your league commissioner has the ability to change to number of allocations for each driver and can place drivers into any group they choose. My picks will be based on the default settings (8 allocations per driver and the original group settings).
Here are my picks for Bristol…
Driver Group Game A Picks
Joey Logano (3): Well this was an easy decision this week. Kyle Busch qualified 31st and although he still has a good chance to win the race; I cannot use one of my last allocations with Busch when he starts that deep in the field. Logano has been equally good in Thunder Valley. He finished 3rd in the April race at the track and he should finish in the top-10 again Saturday night. Logano posted the 5th best 10-lap average speed and the fastest 20-lap average speed in final practice. His car is very good on the long runs.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Joey Logano 2) Kyle Busch 3) Chase Elliott 4) Kyle Larson 5) Martin Truex Jr. 6) Kevin Harvick 7) Brad Keselowski
Driver Group Game B Picks
Erik Jones (3): Jones has been as hot as a frying pan this summer. He finished 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 4th and 18th in his last 5 races. The No. 20 car had a lot of speed in practice. Jones posted the 2nd fastest speed in the first practice and the team worked on their long-run speed in the final practice. Jones posted the 2nd fastest 10-lap speed. He has a history of dominating the summer races at Bristol. This is a good week to use an allocation with Jones.
Kurt Busch (4): Busch hated his car is practice. One of my former collegues from Fox Sports asked crew chief Matt McCall what is wrong with their car. He said the car is fine. It was setup for night time racing. I looked at Busch practice speeds (April Garage Talk Notes) and Busch was 24th fastest in practice but finished 2nd in the race. Busch has 6 wins and Bristol and he finished 1st and 2nd in the last two races at the track. I will use another allocation with Busch Saturday night.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Denny Hamlin) Erik Jones 3) Kurt Busch 4) Ryan Blaney 5) Ryan Newman 6) Alex Bowman 7) Daniel Suarez 8) Aric Almirola 9) William Byron 10) Clint Bowyer
Driver Group Game C Picks
Matt DiBenedetto (6): It has been a rough week for DiBenedetto. I would love to see him go out and win the race Saturday. His car has the speed and he has the talent to get the job done. DiBenedetto posted the fastest speed in final practice and he was 3rd fastest on the long run. DiBenedetto was able to finish 12th in the April race. He should finish in the top 10 this week.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) Matt DiBenedetto 2) Chris Buescher 3) Ty Dillon 4) Daniel Hemric 5) David Ragan
Driver Group Game Team
Group A: Joey Logano (3)
Group B: Erik Jones (3), Kurt Busch (4)
Group C: Matt DiBenedetto (6)
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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Good luck this week!