Jimmie Johnson – Jimmie Johnson should prominently be on your fantasy NASCAR radar at Bristol. He’s a recent winner who’s consistently performed well. In 7 of the last 8 races at “Thunder Valley” he’s finished in the top 11. Over that stretch minus a misleading spring 2016 result his average finish is 4.6. At Bristol in recent races a lot of drivers have focused at running the high-groove, but he’s excelled at running the low-line. This spring, Jimmie Johnson had a strong performance. He finished 3rd and earned the 3rd best driver rating. Additionally, he finished 8th in Stage #1 and 3rd in Stage #2. Last August, Jimmie Johnson had a good race. He earned the 8th best driver rating, had a 10th place average running position, finished 10th in Stage #1, 2nd in Stage #2 and then finished 11th when the checkered flag waved. In spring 2017 Johnson had a great car and won his second career race at Bristol. Beyond finishing first, he earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 6th place average running position and led 81 laps. In August 2016 he was a driver survivor and finished 7th. In spring 2016 he had a strong car but finished a misleading 23rd. On lap 300 while he was running in 3rd he made an unexpected pit stop under green which dropped him two laps down. Prior to that it was clear he had top five potential. In the three Bristol races prior to that he had a 3.3 average finish. On Saturday night I would look for Jimmie Johnson to compete for a top ten.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Bristol is a great track for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and it ranks among his best. If you’re looking for a mid-tier option there isn’t anybody better than him. His average finish is 10.2 and in 6 of the last 9 races he’s finished in the top ten. Over the last four Bristol races he’s finished in the top 14 every race and has a 7.3 average finish. This spring, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a strong showing and finished 4th despite his race not being incident free. He overcame getting spun on lap 61 while running in 2nd and an uncontrolled tire penalty during the Stage #1 caution (was in 9th). Additionally, he finished 9th in Stage #1, 6th in Stage #2 and earned the 6th best driver rating. Last summer, Stenhouse Jr. had a great race and finished 14th. That’s an awesome result when you consider on lap 200 while he was running in 9th he had a tire go down and got into the wall. In spring 2017, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a good race. He finished 9th, had a 13th place average running position and earned the 11th best driver rating. At the end of Stage #2 he finished 10th. In summer 2016 he had a good car and finished runner-up from the 25th place starting position. The attrition rate was sky high and he used pit strategy in the last quarter of the race. In spring 2016 he finished 16th, but it should be noted he was running in 9th with 20 laps to go. In 3 of the 4 Bristol races prior to that Stenhouse Jr. finished in the top 6. On Saturday night I think Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has a great chance to finish in the top ten.
Alex Bowman – Alex Bowman is a really good driver at running the high-line and at Bristol that comes into play. With how well his team is performing right now I wouldn’t overlook him. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he competes for a top ten. This spring he ran well. He earned the 4th best driver rating, finished 5th and had an 8th place average running position. In Stage #2 he finished 7th. In Bristol races prior to that I wouldn’t bother looking at his track record.