The MENCS heads back to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. My picks for Fantasy Live took a big jump forward last week thanks to Kevin Harvick winning each Stage and the race. My picks are currently ranked 62nd overall out of nearly 400,000 entries. The race Saturday is very unpredictable because the trend is to have 22 cars finish the race. We will need a lot of luck to have our picks score well this week.
There are 3 races left in the Fantasy Live regular season. There is no need to save allocations any more. If a driver qualifies up front and looks fast in practice, use him in your lineup.
Kyle Busch (1): I plan to burn my last allocation with Busch this week. He has won the last two races at Bristol and led over 115 laps in both of them. He has also averaged 17 Stage points in those races. I may change my mind if Busch does not qualify up front but there is a great chance that the No. 18 car wins the pole Friday. Busch won the pole for the race in April at Bristol so I expect him to be fast again this week.
Kyle Larson (3): I would not be surprised if he won the race Saturday night. Larson dominated the race at Bristol in April. He qualified 6th, led a race-high 200 laps, spun out twice and finished 2nd. That is quite a day. Larson has a series-best 126.7 driver rating in the last two seasons at Bristol. He said after the race last week that Bristol is his favorite track. Larson has never won at Bristol but he has led at least 70 laps in the last 3 races in Thunder Valley and led the most laps in 2 of the last 3 races at the track.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (7): I was thinking about using Stenhouse Jr. out of the Garage but he was fast enough in practice that I feel confident using him in the race. Stenhouse was 4th fastest in final practice with the 3rd fastest 10-lap speed. He has a top-10 average finishing position at Bristol so I will use him this week and save my allocations with my top drivers for the final two races.
Ryan Blaney (3): Blaney had one of the best cars in the April race. He led over 100 laps and he should be up front again Saturday night. Blaney did not make a qualifying run in final practice so his single-lap speed was not as fast as the other drivers. Blaney was 15th on the top-lap speed chart and 4th-fastest on the 15-lap speed chart. The No. 12 car has some good long-run speed and Blaney has the talent to get it to the front. Three races remain in the Fantasy Live game and I have three allocations left with Blaney. I may use him in all three races.
Erik Jones (4): Jones came close to winning his first race in the MENCS in this race last year. Jones won the pole, led 260 laps and finished 2nd. His car looks fast again this week. The No. 20 team put the same setup as the No. 18 car between the practice sessions Friday. Jones loved the way the car drove. Jones posted the 6th fastest time in final practice. He also had the 2nd-fastest 10-lap average speed and the 2nd-fastest 15-lap speed. He has 2 wins in the Xfinity Series at Bristol and he could get his 2nd win in the MENCS Saturday night.
My Garage pick will be Kurt Busch (1). Racing the Bull-Ring in Las Vegas has made the Busch brothers great picks for Bristol. Busch has a fast car this week. He was 9th in final practice with the 6th-fastest 10-lap speed and the 5th-best 15-lap speed. I would like to save my final allocation with Busch for Indianapolis, but I will have no problem using him this week if he runs up front in the first two Stages.
* Garage Driver: Fantasy players can put a driver (Garage Driver) into their lineup at any time before the end of Stage 2. You will lose the Stage points from the driver you take out of your lineup though. I only plan to make a change if one of my driver crashes and that is likely to happen this week. If I make a change I will post a message on my Twitter account: @MrFantasyNASCAR
Here are my picks for the Bristol…
Driver 1: Kyle Busch (1)
Driver 2: Kyle Larson (2)
Driver 3: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (7)
Driver 4: Ryan Blaney (3)
Driver 5: Erik Jones (3)
Garage Driver: Kurt Busch (1)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson
Race Winner: Kyle Larson
Winning Manufacturer: Toyota
* I am hedging my bet this week with my manufacture pick. I am selecting Toyota for the win just in case Kyle Busch wins the race Saturday night. This way I will earn bonus points if either Kyle wins this week.
* If you do not have any allocations with the drivers I posted, here are my top 10 drivers based on finishing position and Stage Points earned…
- Kyle Larson
- Kyle Busch
- Kevin Harvick
- Ryan Blaney
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Erik Jones
- Denny Hamlin
- Kurt Busch
- Chase Elliott
- Brad Keselowski
Good luck this week!
Follow me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR