1) Kyle Busch (Starting – 5th) (Odds To Win – 5/1)
Bristol Fantasy Spin – Kyle Busch will be the man to beat at Bristol. It’s a great track for him and on Sunday he’s vying for his third straight win of the 2016 season. Bristol is the perfect track for him to try to accomplish that feat. He’s won here five times and has recently ranked as one of the best, despite what his results show. Last year he only made one start at Bristol but performance wise I thought he had the best car. On Sunday I expect the track to be slick because of the warm temperatures and that will play to Kyle Busch’s favor. In practice Kyle Busch had a phenomenal car. His ten lap averages between the two practice sessions rank as the best, and the second best.
Bristol Track History – Kyle Busch is very strong at Bristol. In 21 races he has 5 wins, 8 top fives, 13 top tens and 15 top fifteens. Last August Kyle Busch had a great car and I would argue it was the best. He earned the best PROS Ranking, 2nd best driver rating, had a 4th place average running position, finished 8th and led a race high 192 laps. His race unfortunately wasn’t incident free. He had to overcome an unexpected pit stop for a loose wheel and a pit stop penalty under green to earn his good finish. In spring 2015 he missed the race due to injury. In August 2014 he had one of the best cars but got a speeding penalty which put him back in traffic and ultimately resulted in him getting caught up in a wreck. In spring 2014 he had one of the strongest cars but finished 29th. He led 73 laps but was burned by a caution around the mid-point that dropped him from the front, back to the mid-twenties. Later in the race something was wrong with his car after he hit a piece of debris. To end his evening he spun and got clipped by Kurt Busch.
Momentum – Nobody is hotter than Kyle Busch. He has back to back wins and has been top five strong every race this season.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,700
2) Carl Edwards (Starting – 1st) (Odds To Win – 8/1)
Bristol Fantasy Spin – I really like Carl Edwards at Bristol. He’s won here three-times and has recently ranked as one of the strongest drivers. Over the last four Bristol races Edwards has the best driver rating, best average running position (7.5), 4th best average finish (9.8) and has led the 5th most laps (238). Last year in the #19 Carl Edwards was top five good in both races. On Sunday Carl Edwards is starting on the pole. That’s a big advantage at Bristol where track position is king. The last two times Carl Edwards has started on the pole at Bristol he’s finished 1st and 2nd. On Sunday the track will be slick and that only makes Carl Edwards an even more attractive fantasy option. In practice Carl Edwards has been fast. Between both practice sessions he ranked in the top five in both fastest overall lap, and ten lap averages.
Bristol Track History – Over the last five Bristol races a compelling case could be made that he’s been the best driver. Last year in Joe Gibbs Racing equipment he was stellar in both races, but neither was incident free. In August 2015 he had one of the best cars and was better than his result. He finished 7th, had a 7th place average running position and led 74 laps. His problem in the race was a flat tire while running in 2nd on lap 354 which caused him to pit under green. Last spring he also had a flat tire while running in 2nd with 7 laps to go which led to his poor result. In August 2014 he had a great car. He finished 7th, had a 9th place average running position and earned the 8th best driver rating. In March 2014 under the lights Carl Edwards didn’t have the best car but he raced his way to victory lane leading 78 laps along the way.
Momentum – Carl Edwards has four straight top tens, in his last three he’s finished in either 6th or 7th. Only once this season has he finished lower than 7th.
Yahoo B Driver / DraftKings $9,900
Further Recommended Reading – Bristol Speed Cheat Sheet, Happy Hour Notes, Happy Hour Speeds, Practice #2 Notes, Practice #2 Speeds, Qualifying Results, PROS Rankings, Asterisk Mark Report, Scouting Report, Yahoo Start Page, DraftKings Start Page
3) Matt Kenseth (Starting – 2nd) (Odds To Win – 7/1)
Bristol Fantasy Spin – Matt Kenseth has been “Mr. Tough Luck 2016”, but on Sunday that could change. He’s not lacking in the performance department, he’s been top ten good every race this season. On Sunday I expect Matt Kenseth to be one of the drivers to beat. He consistently runs well at Bristol and since the track was changed in August 2012 he’s been a stellar performer as you’ll read below. On Sunday Kenseth is starting in 2nd. The last two times he started on the front row at Bristol he’s won. In Happy Hour it should be noted Denny Hamlin’s spotter was impressed with how well the #20 ran. In that session his single lap, and ten lap average ranked as the 10th best.
Bristol Track History – Bristol has been a great track for Matt Kenseth. Since the track was reconfigured I would argue he’s been the best driver in the series, despite what his results show. In the combined races on the new layout he has the best driver rating, 4th best average running position and has led the most laps (533). Last August he had a great car but while he was running in 4th his engine blew up. In spring 2015 he won from the pole and led 47 laps. In August 2014 he overcame two speeding penalties and finished 3rd. Additionally in that race he led 62 laps. One notable performance aspect about his car that race is that he was fast on old tires. Spring 2014 was a super high attrition race and he led 165 laps and arguably had the best car but finished 13th. In August 2013 he led 149 laps and raced his way to victory lane. In the two Bristol races prior to that he had great cars. In spring 2013 he crashed while running in 2nd, and in August 2012 he wrecked while leading.
Momentum – Matt Kenseth only has one top ten result this season. Performance wise he’s been strong enough to finish in the top ten every race.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,000