It is going to be a busy week at “Bristol Baby”. The Cup Series ends the Round of 16 this week with some Saturday night short track racing. The Xfinity Series begins their playoffs Friday night and the Truck Series start round two of their playoffs. There is a lot on the line this week for all three series. Expect to see a lot of beating and banging as the drivers fight for the 2023 championship. Here is the schedule for the racing at Bristol Motor Speedway…
Do you like drama? If so, the Bristol Night Race is just for you. The race last year saw some drivers who thought they were secure with their position in the playoffs had problems and then they were sweating out the final laps of the race to see if they advanced. RFK Racing had their best race of the 2022 season. Brad Keselowski led 109 laps and won Stage 1. Chris Buescher led a race-high 169 laps and went to Victory Lane. Christopher Bell led 143 laps and he had the best car all night. Hendrick Motorsports had three drivers finish in the top-five (Chase Elliott 2nd, William Byron 3rd and Kyle Larson 5th). Team Penske had all kinds of tire problems. Hopefully, they have that issued solved this week.
You can watch the highlight of the race at Kansas in May here: Bristol Night Race Rewind
CUP SERIES PLAYOFF STANDINGS
Kyle Larson and Tyler Reddick are locked into the Round of 12. Denny Hamlin, William Byron and Brad Keselowski should feel comfortable that they can advance on points. The rest of the playoff drivers should be worried about their trip to Thunder Valley. There is going to be a lot of changes in this order during the race Saturday night. It will be fun to see how it all plays out.
STATS FOR BRISTOL
Bristol is a unique track. It is a .533-mile, high-banked, concrete track. Dover is also a high-banked, concrete track, but the cars require a different setup than they do for Bristol. I still like to use some of the data from the race at Dover to help handicap the Bristol Night Race. Track history is important at Bristol. Drivers either know how to get around this track, or they are in the way. I use the data from the last three Bristol Night Races, the data from Dover and the data from Nashville to predict which drivers will be fast Saturday night.
Here are the Driver Rankings from the races in the races at the tracks similar to Bristol this year and the last three races in Thunder Valley…
There are eight races left in the Cup Series season. So how are you doing with your allocations in the Driver Group Game? Hopefully, you saved some of your top drivers for the Bristol Night Race. Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson are locks in Group A. The Bristol Night Race would be a good time to take a chance with the RFK Racing drivers in Group B (Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher). You should pair them with Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. Chase Briscoe is a good driver to use in Group B if you are out of allocations of the drivers I listed. Group C is tough. Ryan Preece is a short track expert, but do we trust him? AJ Allmendinger is the safer choice and Ty Gibbs is always the best option in Group C.
The strategy for Fantasy Live is easy this week. Simply play the best drivers. We should get a good idea of who these drivers are after practice Saturday. The drivers, who post the fastest laps in practice, qualify up front and ran well on the intermediate tracks earlier this season will be in my lineups. I am not saving any allocations with my top drivers at Kansas.
My strategy in the Fantasy Live game is to give the “Big Four” the week off (Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, William Byron and Kyle Larson). I will try to make it through the Bristol Night Race with some combination of Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Chris Buescher, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano. If Larson dominates practice and qualifies up front, I may need to use the No. 5 car Saturday night.
The strategy for DFS Contests is simple this week. Dominators, Dominators and Dominators. Three drivers typically lead 100 laps each in the Bristol Night Race. We will not win any money Saturday night if we do not have at least two of these drivers in our lineups. I will play a “stars and scrubs” lineup, so that I can pay up for the three drivers who will lead most of the laps. It really doesn’t matter what the other three drivers do (as long as they do not score 20 negative place differential points) if we earn the 115 bonus points from the three dominators in the race.
EARLY WEEK PICKS FOR BRISTOL
ONE & DONE PICK: CHRIS BUESCHER
DRIVER GROUP GAME PICKS: CHRISTOPHER BELL, KYLE LARSON, KYLE BUSCH, KEVIN HARVICK, BRAD KESELOWSKI, CHRIS BUESCHER, AJ ALLMENDINGER, RYAN PREECE
FANTASY LIVE PICKS: CHRISTOPHER BELL, CHASE ELLIOTT, KYLE BUSCH, KEVIN HARVICK, CHRIS BUESCHER (GARAGE) KYLE LARSON
Good luck this weekend!
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