Dan Beaver

NASCAR Fantasy Live Preview

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Fantasy Live: Food City 500

Thursday, April 12, 2018


Bristol Motor Speedway is supposed to be one of the wild card races on the schedule.

The tight half-mile track is difficult to navigate while staying out of trouble. Laps are completed in about 15 seconds and the track can get blocked quickly by a spinning car. How will that play out after last week’s O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway? Is the chaos in the rear view mirror, or is there another big surprise in the offing for fantasy players?

As with most wild card tracks, the unknown variables cannot keep fantasy owners from setting their lineup. Decisions have to be made and they have to be based on the information at hand. While only three drivers managed to sweep the top 10 at Bristol last year, this is a track on which some drivers have traditionally been strong. And they should highlight the roster – especially in NASCAR America’s Fantasy game that lasts only 10 weeks.

Kyle Busch
With the monkey off his back, Kyle Busch could either struggle this week or dominate. If his luck has run out with five consecutive top-three finishes, then he will probably get into trouble. But if it doesn’t, then this has traditionally been one of his better tracks with six wins to his credit including the one from last fall.

Denny Hamlin
In all likelihood, Denny Hamlin got his bad luck out of the way last week in Texas. Joe Gibbs Racing has been solid at Bristol in the past and Hamlin followed his teammate Busch and affiliated driver Erik Jones across the line last fall. Granted, he has been better in the second race of the season with three consecutive third-place finishes, but his top-10 in the spring event proves he can run fast in April as well.

Kevin Harvick
The O'Reilly 500 had the chance to be disastrous for Kevin Harvick. Slow stops and penalties in the pits put him deep in traffic on more than one occasion – but his fortitude was enough to invigorate him and create one of the most incredible runs of the season. Harvick won the fall 2016 Bristol race and that is part of a five-race streak of top-fives on this track.

Kurt Busch
Kurt Busch has been more miss than hit in the past five years at Bristol, but like his younger brother this is one of his better tracks. He also has momentum on his side with five top-15s in the past six races. When he finds the right setup at Bristol, he is amazing with four top-fives in the past 10 races. He is worth the risk considering how strong the Stewart-Haas Racing organization is at the moment.

Joey Logano
He fell to 13th last fall, but that was the first time in the past five races that Joey Logano failed to crack the top 10 at Bristol. Equally important, he won the fall 2014 and 2015 races on this track, so he knows how to get the car to roll through the corners. With the exception of Ingenuity Sun Media Raceway (Phoenix), he has been unstoppable in regard to top-10s and is probably the best driver flying under the radar screen.

Garage Pick

Erik Jones
Kyle Busch may yet become Erik Jones’s biggest nemesis. Jones lost the lead to him last week at Texas when he appeared to have a dominant car and last fall, the battle for the Bristol win came down to these two drivers. Busch had the experience to get around the rookie and it is likely that Jones still has some lessons to learn. But, he can earn a lot of points if one of the marquee drivers experiences any trouble.

Red Flag

Brad Keselowski
Team Penske is on a roll and it seems difficult to imagine leaving any of their drivers off the roster. Brad Keselowski has experienced huge problems on this bullring in the past three years with four of six results landing outside the top 25 compared to a single top-10. Fate might not keep him down another week, but there are so many strong options that it is an easy choice to avoid him in the Food City 500.

 

Driver

Segment
Points

Segments
earning points

Segment
Wins

Kyle Busch

89

12

2

Brad Keselowski

80

12

1

Kevin Harvick

73

10

4

Kurt Busch

70

12

2

Joey Logano

63

12

 

Martin Truex Jr.

60

9

2

Ryan Blaney

52

6

2

Kyle Larson

46

8

 

Clint Bowyer

42

9

 

Denny Hamlin

41

9

1

Chase Elliott

20

6

 

Erik Jones

18

5

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

18

3

 

Aric Almirola

17

4

 

Michael McDowell

17

3

 

Paul Menard

13

4

 

Jimmie Johnson

12

4

 

Alex Bowman

9

1

 

AJ Allmendinger

7

2

 

Ty Dillon

5

1

 

Trevor Bayne

4

2

 

Darrell Wallace Jr.

4

1

 

Jamie McMurray

4

1

 

Austin Dillon

2

1

 

Kasey Kahne

2

1

 

Daniel Suarez

1

1

 

William Byron

1

1

 

 



Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver



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