NASCAR DFS: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Playbook
Matt Selz pores over all of the stats, speeds, and qualifying spots to find the best DFS NASCAR plays for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race from Bristol Moto Speedway.
Short-track racing under the lights on a Saturday night is how we grew up with racing all over the country. Now it’s time to see the Cup drivers get back to those roots on one of the most famous racetracks in the country. Bristol Motor Speedway, Thunder Valley, The Last Great Colosseum, The Bullring, The World’s Fastest Half-Mile, whatever you call it it’s the same track; a high-banked, concrete half-mile that produces very tight, bumper-to-bumper racing throughout the race.
This race will look a bit different than the April one did, aside from being under the lights of course. The track brushed the top groove of the racing surface taking all of the built up rubber off of it and making it very green and slick when the cars first go on it. They also sprayed the PJ1 on the lower groove in the corners to increase the grip and help keep the racing line in the lower groove. They wanted to do that to make it more of a one-groove race, like it used to be, where you had to move a guy out of the way to get a spot or try a dicey pass on the outside, slower lane. During practice we did see numerous drivers intentionally trying to rubber up the top groove and a half of the surface to increase the usability of that part of the track.
This is also a track that changes quite a lot during the race as one groove becomes better than the other and vice versa. The top-five spots in the starting grid are still the most dominant spots in terms of winning at this track but in April, Kyle Busch did win after starting 17th. Laps led will be a huge scoring chance on both sites simply because there are 500 of them and since they get run in less than 16 seconds a lap, they will get accumulated quite quickly. In three of the last four night races at Bristol, at least one driver racked up 100-plus points and last year on FanDuel, eight drivers posted 90 or more.
Inspections will happen Saturday afternoon and a single fail will forfeit the driver’s qualifying time and they will be bumped to the back of the field. Multiple failures and they could wind up with a pass through penalty at the start of the race, which would likely put them two laps down right off the bat.
Points by Starting Spot
Prop Bet Challenge
We kept the hot streak rolling last week going 8-for-10. Over the last four races I’ve correctly predicted 33-of-40 props so we’ll look to stay hot with a night race Saturday night in Bristol!
- Kyle and Kurt Busch have won the last four Bristol races. Which brother scores more race points? Kurt is starting fourth and Kyle is way back in 31st after he got a pretty crappy draw for qualifying. It’s a fair concern that Kyle may not collect any points in stage one, while Kurt is in a better position and Kyle could get caught up in lap traffic, a wreck, etc. There’s still great potential for Kyle to move up and he’s shown that he’s a phenomenal driver at this track. He’s got quite a few challenges on Saturday night so we’ll play it safe and take Kurt Busch.
- Does the Stage 1 winner lead O/U 85.5 laps in that stage? Denny Hamlin is on the pole and I think he runs away with Stage 1. He has five straight Top 5 finishes and four straight Top 3 finishes and he’s hungry for another win and he’s had one of the best cars as of late. He’s going to absolutely dominate the first stage (which he’ll win) and lead OVER 85.5 laps.
- Does the Stage 2 winner earn stage points in both stages? This is an easy YES as the last five Stage 2 winners at Bristol (both April and August races over the past three years) have collected stage points in both stages. I won’t go contrarian here, I’ll play it safe.
- The race winner leads O/U 225.5 laps? With 500 laps on the docket, asking the winner to lead almost half of them is a tall task. To be honest, the only driver to lead over 225.5 laps in the last six Bristol races was Erik Jones two years ago and he finished second in that race. 200 laps is currently on the table for someone to lead, but we’ll again play it safe and take the UNDER for the winner.
- Which playoff bubble driver finishes higher? Jimmie Johnson or Ryan Newman? Johnson is a fine DFS play this week, but Newman has finished higher between the two in four of the last five races. Not to mention, Newman is starting 14th and Johnson is starting 30th. Despite the change in crew chief, Johnson’s had some bad luck lately and Newman has been on a pretty nice run. Give me Ryan Newman over Jimmie Johnson this week.
- Will either Chip Ganassi driver, Kurt Busch or Kyle Larson, be the highest finishing Chevrolet? This is a somewhat interesting prop challenge. The other Chevy drivers that could possibly contend are Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon, Chris Buescher, Jimmie Johnson, William Byron, Ty Dillon, and rookies Daniel Hemric and Ryan Preece among others. If getting the opportunity to pick two I’ll say YES because I do expect Larson and Busch to be challengers in Saturday night’s race. Chase Elliott did look good in qualifying and practice so he’s the only other Chevy I’m really worried about.
- O/U 40.5 race points for Joey Logano? I expect Logano’s fortunes will fare better on Saturday as opposed to Friday where he wrecked. I’ll take the OVER for this prop. Logano has a couple wins and numerous top ten finishes at Bristol. Not to mention he’s won a stage in each of the last two Bristol races. He’s in the running for at least 41 race points Saturday night.
- O/U 20.5 lead changes? I’m taking the UNDER. I know there are a ton of laps, but I’m expecting a fairly dominant race from Denny Hamlin and yes getting caught up in lap traffic will present problems, but even if someone else takes the lead to start Stage 2 they will also likely lead a handful of laps. These lead change laps are usually my least favorite props, but I’ll go with 20 or less.
- Which Stewart-Haas Racing driver will finish higher? Clint Bowyer or Daniel Suarez? Bowyer is desperate for a good race. He’s had bad luck for two straight months, but is still in the running for a playoff appearance. Suarez is coming off a Top 5 finish last week so it’s tempting to go with him. But I’ll go contrarian and say Clint Bowyer. I just threw up in my mouth a little.
- Will Saturday’s winner start from outside the Top 10? Here’s the top ten in starting order: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola, Chase Elliott, Matt DiBenedetto, Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, and Alex Bowman. I’d say Almirola’s the only one without a realistic chance of winning. I’ll even admit the Matty D has a shot to surprise some people with the motivation to perform well after learning he will have to find a new team next year. I’ll say NO, Saturday’s winner will not start from outside the Top 10. The winner will be one of the drivers listed above. (NOTE: This could change following inspection, so some of these names might switch around)