The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Bristol for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race after Bubba Wallace’s win at Kansas. Let’s dive into the track information NASCAR DFS players need to know, what to expect at this weekend’s race, and early NASCAR fantasy advice.
NASCAR DFS Preview: Bass Pro Shops Night Race
Bristol Motor Speedway Information
- Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
- Location: Bristol, Tennessee
- Length: 0.5 miles (asphalt)
- Banking: 26-30 degrees in the turns, six-10 degrees on the straightaways
- Best corollary tracks: no true one-to-one tracks but steeply banked ovals like Dover, Darlington, and Nashville can be considered
- Dominator Points:
- DraftKings: 125 – laps led, 225 – fastest laps
- FanDuel: 50 – laps led
- Past winners: Kyle Larson (2021), Kevin Harvick (2020B), Brad Keselowski (2021A)
- Betting favorite: Denny Hamlin/ Kyle Larson +700
- Entry List: 36 drivers, including JJ Yeley (15), AJ Allmendinger (16), and Josh Bilicki (77)
- Weather: High of 84, mostly sunny
- Watch: USA
- Listen: PRN (PRN, NASCAR.com, NASCAR Sirius/XM Channel 90)
On Track Schedule (All Times Eastern)
- Friday, September 16
- 4:35 p.m.: Practice
- 5:20 p.m.: Qualifying
- Saturday, September 17
- 7:30 p.m.: green flag (125/250/500 laps)
2022 Bass Pro Shops Night Race NASCAR DFS Picks
2022 Points Standings
A non-playoff driver won for the second straight week, which means that no one stamped an automatic ticket into the second round of the playoffs. However, Christopher Bell did guarantee his spot in the second round via the points he accumulated and his threshold above the 12th-place driver. Following Bell, the standings go William Byron (+48), Denny Hamlin (+47), Joey Logano (+40), Ryan Blaney (+36), Alex Bowman (+30), Chase Elliott (+28), Kyle Larson (+27), and Ross Chastain (+26) in ninth.
After Chastain is where the playoffs standings crunch together as just 15 points stand between Daniel Suarez in 10th and Chase Briscoe in 15th. Suarez has a six-point cushion heading into Bristol, while Tyler Reddick and Austin Cindric stand just two points above the cut-off. On the outside, looking in, are two-time champion Kyle Busch who trails by two points, Austin Dillon by three points, Briscoe by nine points and in last place, Kevin Harvick who is behind by 35 points.
From Byron through Chastain, the margins are large enough that the drivers “should” feel fairly safe and could race safely on Saturday. Christopher Bell is really the only driver that can go out with a “victory or bust” mentality as his results won’t impact his playoff hopes beyond this point. However, since 10th through 15th have just nine points of separation, drivers like Busch, Dillon and Briscoe could race with an added sense of urgency. All of their championship hopes will ride on this race and where they finish compared to the likes of Suarez, Reddick, and Cindric.
Harvick is down by such a large margin that he’s going to need stage points on top of a top-tier finish to sniff the playoffs. Luckily for him, he’s finished second and first in the past two fall Bristol races with 27 stage points accrued. Winning could make this a moot point on Saturday evening; and with finishes of 33rd and 38th in the opening races of the playoffs, Harvick’s momentum is carrying him away from another potential championship.
Bristol Motor Speedway Preview
Racing on the steeply-banked asphalt at Bristol has sadly become a once-a-season event since the start of dirt racing began there this spring.
In this race last season, the 500-lap event was defined by Chase Elliott playing blocker for Kyle Larson as he passed Kevin Harvick late in the race. In all, seven different drivers led that Saturday night. The lead was exchanged 24 times, with that final swap coming with four laps remaining.
Race winner Kyle Larson led the most laps that evening, 175 in all, followed by teammate Chase Elliott who led an additional 129. When Harvick took the lead from Elliott on lap 465, he made contact with Elliott and cut down his left-front tire putting him two laps down and mired in the field. However, if not for Elliott having to pit chances are that Harvick never would have lost the lead late to Larson, as Elliot would have been in a different spot.
Expectations for Saturday at Bristol
We can expect Saturday night to fall into the chaotic category. This makes sense given a number of factors that are all coming together. This new car has a propensity to cut down tires, it is a short and steeply banked track, and drivers are potentially shifting. There could be a myriad of wrecks, especially among the fringe playoff contenders.
In his early-week article for The Athletic, Jeff Gluck interviewed several playoff drivers about how they felt Bristol would play out. Many said they are expecting wrecks galore. Tyler Reddick was the lone driver who suspected that Bristol would play out like Martinsville with little passing. This feeling towards wrecks, chaos and short tempers reflects a recent Twitter poll.
What are your expectations for Saturday night at Bristol; a chaotic race with high speeds and potential shifting or Martinsville but with banking?
— RaceSheets | NASCAR DFS Supersheets (@RaceSheetsDFS) September 12, 2022
The logical problem with comparing Bristol to Martinsville is that at Martinsville, drivers either have to accelerate past one another in the straightaways or outbreak one another in the turns. There is no other way to pick up position at Martinsville outside of shorter stops on pit road. However, at Bristol, while there is an element of acceleration on the straightaways so drivers can make hay by taking the higher route near the wall instead of just hugging the apron. Not to mention, because of the banking, the speeds the drivers reach this Saturday should be higher than Martinsville, which should make the impact of wrecks felt harder, both on the drivers and on the cars.
Don’t be shocked if Saturday night’s race involves several more wrecks than we’ve seen in the past at Bristol. The dirt version of this race from the Spring had 14 caution flags, while Dover, one of Bristol’s sister tracks, had 13 cautions. Compacting the field together at a track half the size of Dover with playoff seating on the line for 15 of the 16 drivers spells ample opportunity for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race to be riddled with wrecks.
Therefore, for those prone to tilting, holding your bankroll tight might be key to sleeping well. There could easily be a chance that a driver dominates early only to get turned into the wall, with several cars behind him.
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