On Saturday night, NASCAR will be racing at Bristol in what promises to be one of the wildest races of 2021 yet! Bristol will mark the end of round #1 of the Playoffs, and four drivers will get eliminated! There will be a sense of desperation in the air for some, and desperate drivers do desperate things. At Bristol, the best of the best always shine and there will be no fluke winner on Saturday night.
In terms of variables I want in a fantasy pick at Bristol I want ….
1) A driver who performs at a high-level at Bristol and consistently clicks off good results (PROS Rankings Extended Edition)
2) Recent form (Total Speed Ranking Momentum)
3) A driver who’s been strong at 750 HP ovals in 2021 (750 HP Oval 2021 Total Speed Rankings)
4) A driver who’s starting relatively near the front. The last three Bristol races have been won from a top 4 starting position. Since 2011, only three Bristol races have been won from a starting position south of 12th. Here’s the Bristol Starting Lineup for Sunday.
Bristol Fantasy NASCAR Rankings
1) Kyle Larson (Starting – 5th)
Bristol Bottom Line – Kyle Larson is a super-elite performer at Bristol who should be at the top of your fantasy NASCAR radar. Larson’s never won here, but make no mistake, he’s certainly been good enough to win previously. Now that he’s in the #5, I think he has a great chance to come home with his first “W!” Larson is now locked into the next round, so look for him to race with a “Take no prisoner approach” and try to collect more Playoff points for the next round. On Saturday night, look for Larson to finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Bristol Track History – Kyle Larson has thrived at “Thunder Valley” and since 2017 minus spring 2019 where he had multiple problems, Larson has a 5.0 average finish, a 4.5 average running position and he’s averaged leading 110.2 laps per race. In summer 2019 when Larson most recently raced here, Larson won Stage #1, finished 6th overall and led 62 laps. In spring 2019, Larson was easily a top ten contender but he had multiple problems and finished an asterisk mark 19th. In summer 2018,Larson was fast. He finished 2nd, had a 7th place average running position, earned the 8th best driver rating and led 17 laps. At the end he was on fresh tires and realistically I would say he was about 7th place good. In spring 2018, Larson had the best car, but he finished 2nd. In the race he earned the best driver rating, led 200 laps, had a 3rd place average running position and finished 5th in the first two Stages. If there wasn’t a late caution which regrouped the field at the end, Larson likely would’ve won. In 2017, Larson had a great car in both races. In summer 2017 he led 70 laps and finished 9th. In spring 2017 he led 202 laps and finished 6th.
DraftKings $11,300 / FanDuel $12,000
2) Kyle Busch (Starting – 9th)
Bristol Bottom Line – Kyle Busch is a super-elite performer at Bristol and on Saturday night, look for him to finish in the top five and be a factor to win. At “Thunder Valley”, Busch is an 8-time winner and over the last 7 races he’s been to victory lane three-times, and he’s only once finished outside the top 4. Over the last four Bristol races, Busch has a series best 2.8 average finish and he’s averaged leading 90 laps per race. Over the last six segments at Bristol, Busch had Total Speed Rankings of 1st, 1st, 6th, 1st, 2nd and 2nd. Heading into Saturday night, Busch is just 8 points north of the cut-line, so he’ll be racing in attack mode and won’t ease up.
Bristol Track History – Kyle Busch is a fantasy ace at Bristol who’s always tough to beat, and he’s often dominant. Since summer 2017 minus summer 2018 where he ran well but had problems, Busch has a 2.2 average finish and he’s averaged leading 105.5 laps per race. Last summer, Busch started in the rear of the field, finished 2nd in Stage #1, won Stage #2, finished 2nd overall and led 159 laps. I’ll note, Busch was leading late on lap 468, but then Joey Logano did aggressive blocking which allowed Harvick to catch him and retake the lead. In terms of speed analytics, Busch had the 2nd best Total Speed Ranking. In spring 2020, Busch had a great car and finished 4th. In the race, Busch led 100 laps, ran the most Fastest Laps (55), had the best Green Flag Average Speed, was the Fastest Driver Late In A Run and had the 4th best Total Speed Ranking. In the 2nd half of the race, Busch ranked #1 in both the 3rd and 4th segments. In summer 2019, Busch was off early and got lapped under green, but his car got better and better as the race progressed and he finished 4th. In spring 2019, Busch had a great car and raced his way to victory lane. In addition to finishing first he earned the 3rd best driver rating, had a 7th place average running position and led 71 laps. In summer 2018, Busch was a top five contender, but had problems near the end and finished 20th. In the two races prior to that, Busch had back to back wins.
DraftKings $11,5000 / FanDuel $13,000
3) Ryan Blaney (Starting – 7th)
Bristol Bottom Line – Ryan Blaney is an elite performer at Bristol who’ll be a driver to be reckoned with. Bristol’s been a great track for Blaney, and he’s performed at an exceptionally high-level. In terms of pure talent at “Thunder Valley”, I would rank him with Kyle Larson among the best drivers who’s never won here. One attribute I love about Blaney is how well he’s been performing on a weekly basis. Since Pocono (last 11 races), Blaney has 7 results in the top six and only two results lower than 14th. On Saturday night, look for Blaney to be a top five contender who’ll be a factor to win.
Bristol Track History – Ryan Blaney has performed at an elite-level at Bristol and since 2018 minus the two races he crashed he has an 8.5 average finish. In the two races he crashed over that stretch, Blaney was leading in one, and running in 2nd in the other. Over those six races including the two he crashed, Blaney’s averaged leading 73.2 laps per race. Last fall when Blaney was up for elimination, he was just OK which led to him getting eliminated. In the race he didn’t place in any Stage, finished 13th overall, had a 13.8 average running position and had the 13th best Total Speed Ranking. In spring 2020, Blaney had a great car, but finished 40th. That’s obviously a misleading result. In the race he led 60 laps, finished 2nd in Stage #1 and was running in 2nd at the time of his demise on lap 200 when he spun and Ty Dillon plowed into him. In terms of speed analytics, Blaney had the best Total Speed Ranking. In summer 2019, Blaney was solid. He finished 10th, had an 8th place average running position, earned the 8th best driver rating and his Green Flag Average Speed ranked as the 8th best. In spring 2019, Blaney finished 4th, earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 3rd place average running position and led a race high 158 laps. In summer 2018, Blaney had a great car. He finished 7th, had a 6th place average running position, earned the 6th best driver rating and led 121 laps. Additionally, he won Stage #1 and finished 5th in Stage #2. In spring 2018, Blaney had a phenomenal car but finished 35th after wrecking. At the time of his demise on lap 117 he was the leader. Up to that point he led 100 laps.
DraftKings $9,400 / FanDuel $9,500