Loading scores...
Jimmie Johnson
Getty Images
NASCAR Fantasy Live Preview

Fantasy Live: Night Race at Bristol

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: August 13, 2019, 6:14 pm ET

Top-five finishes are hard to come by on any track – after all there are only five of them available in a field of more than 35 – but they seem particularly difficult to earn at Bristol Motor Speedway. Last year only Kyle Larson swept the top five. This spring, Joey Logano was the only driver to back up last fall’s Night Race at Bristol top-five with one in the Food City 500. A big part of the reason for that is because this is a wild card race on a track where danger lurks at every corner.

With wild card races, the best strategy is to spread the wealth around. Drivers like Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Logano have stellar records, but as with the former plate tracks they have no guarantee of staying out of trouble. Before winning back-to-back races in summer 2017/spring 2018, Busch finished in the high-30s in three consecutive races. After scoring those two wins, he finished 20th in last year’s edition of this race and then just as quickly found his way back into Victory Lane.

Unpredictability is the biggest enemy of fantasy owners and this track epitomizes that trait.


Kyle Busch
Despite his propensity to overdrive at times and get into trouble, it is hard to ignore Busch’s three wins in the last four Bristol races—as is the fact that those are the most recent in a total of eight wins on this track that season a decade of effort. In addition to his eight wins, Busch has three runner-up finishes. Those are his only top-fives, however, and this is a track on which he is the consummate all-or-nothing racer.

Kyle Larson
Larson not only swept the top five last year, he did so with back-to-back runner-up finishes. Last week a similarly stellar career-record at Michigan preceded his third-place finish. Yes, we are aware that his top-five on the 2-mile track was aided by a few of the frontrunners employing the wrong strategy, but Larson had to be in position to capitalize on their trouble. If he misses, Larson should still challenge for a top-10 because he entered this spring’s race with four consecutive results in that range.

Kevin Harvick
Short tracks reward controlled aggression. That describes Harvick perfectly and his record on courses less than a mile in length backs up the proposition. All but two of his last 14 attempts on this track type ended in top-10s; the other two were top-15s. He has an average finish of seventh in that span and while he is lacking a victory, that could suggest he is ‘due.’ Harvick has turned a corner with his recent wins and top-10 streak. He should ride that wave of momentum into the Night Race at Bristol.

Kurt Busch
Busch won this race last year. This spring in the Food City 500, he finished second to his brother Kyle and told reporters afterward that he would have wrecked his sibling for a chance at back-to-back victories. Like Kyle, Kurt can be an all-or-nothing driver at Bristol, so he comes with risk. The No. 1 has not been nearly as dominant as the No. 18 this year, however, and you’re not as likely to have exhausted his allocations.

Value Pick

Jimmie Johnson
Time is running out for Johnson to make the playoffs and that could make him desperate. Desperate drivers do desperate things and last week Johnson overstepped the boundaries at Michigan and slammed the wall hard enough to cause him to lose several laps. Bristol is even more dangerous, but Johnson has avoided trouble in the past several seasons. His next-to-last win came in the 2017 Food City 500 and that is part of eight top-10s and an 11th in the last 10 races at Bristol. While you struggle with allocation management in final races of the regular season, Johnson is a very attractive option.

Garage Pick

Clint Bowyer
Bowyer’s luck has got to turn around eventually. Bristol is a good place for that to happen. In the last 10 races on tracks less than a mile in length, he has scored 10 top-10s. At Bristol, he enters with three consecutive top-10s to his credit and a second-place finish as recently as spring 2017. If you are comfortable with your starters – or if you have just run out of viable options – Bowyer fits easily in the garage.

Red Flag

Erik Jones
We want to think Jones will rebound this week, but the numbers do not look favorable. One of his best opportunities to win came in the night race of 2017, but he finished 26th the following spring and was 24th this April. The good news is that he was fifth in last year’s night race and he may simply excel under the lights as opposed to during the daytime. Still, the majority of his races on this bullring have landed outside the top 15.

 

Segment wins and points at Bristol
(10 segments to date)

Driver

Segment
Points

Segments
earning
points

Segment
Wins

Kyle Larson

52

8

1

Joey Logano

48

7

2

Jimmie Johnson

46

9

 

Erik Jones

40

7

 

Brad Keselowski

35

4

2

Kyle Busch

34

6

1

Clint Bowyer

34

6

 

Ryan Blaney

33

5

1

Chase Elliott

29

5

 

Kevin Harvick

27

4

 

Ryan Newman

24

3

 

Martin Truex Jr./p>

23

4

1

Denny Hamlin

22

5

 

Matt Kenseth

16

2

1

Aric Almirola

16

3

 

Kurt Busch

13

4

 

Ty Dillon

10

1

1

Jamie McMurray

10

2

 

AJ Allmendinger

9

2

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr./p>

7

3

 

Alex Bowman

5

2

 

Paul Menard

5

2

 

Austin Dillon

4

2

 

Chris Buescher

4

1

 

Trevor Bayne

2

1

 

Bubba Wallace

1

1

 

Daniel Suarez

1

1

 

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 15 years with a little help from his >600,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.