It’s Bristol baby! For the first time this year, the Cup Series drivers will take the concrete of The Last Great Colosseum and make Thunder Valley roar once more. The 2023 Bass Pro Shops Night Race is just the latest race on this NASCAR schedule staple. Don’t be fooled by this being a playoff elimination race, every race at Bristol is tense and action-packed. That’s just what happens on short tracks. As we keep reading, we’ll break down the winning DFS strategies for DraftKings and FanDuel, the trends we’ve seen at Bristol, and the practice and qualifying results for Saturday night’s Cup Series playoff race — the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. Let’s dive in and get our engines revving for a great night of racing.

Weather For Bristol, Tennessee

One quick note before we really dive in, Saturday night does have some weather concerns. The overall chance of rain on Saturday in Bristol is 35-precent, but that shoots up to 60-percent as it draws closer to midnight. With that being said, the race shouldn’t be effected by the rain, but NASCAR did move the start time up to 6:35 pm ET on Saturday just to be safe.

NASCAR DFS Strategy For Bass Pro Shops Night Race

Bristol. One of the most challenging tracks on the schedule. That’s true both in an IRL sense and for DFS. The half-mile, steep-banked track can make things tough on the car, driver, and crew in equal measure. From racing and pitting in tight quarters to trying to pass for a position on the track, everything here is tough. To add to that, Goodyear brought new right-side tires this year to increase the tire-fall-off during the green flag runs. No, not improving tires coming off but dropping lap times the longer the race goes. That’s a good thing for the racing, we hope, but it also adds another element to this already tricky track.

So how are we approaching this race and what tracks can we look at to compare to Bristol?

In general, this is a standalone track. Perhaps we can make Dover fit given the cement and steep banking but it’s a 1-mile lap. There’s also the fact that there’s a different aero package at Dover. Can we look at short tracks? Not really since Richmond and Martinsville are both far flatter. For the drivers in the playbook this week we looked at the last several Bristol concrete races, and then the recent intermediate aero package races. Why an intermediate package? Because that’s what’s on the cars at Bristol rather than the short track/wet package. All of the data referenced in the analysis is from that group of tracks.

For the approach we’re taking, if we peek below at the charts and tables and the analysis, we’ll see how we’re building our DFS lineups. Also, Dan Malin and I talk about that in the podcast above.

DraftKings Scoring History At Bristol

The following chart shows the average points scored by starting spot over the last five concrete Bristol races. The idea is to show off the strategy that has worked in the past rather than dictate which starting spots are more likely to score highly.

As much as we say that track position matters here and how it’s tough to pass, that’s not necessarily borne out in the numbers. When we look at the DraftKings trends, three starting spots inside the top-11 rank outside the top-15 in average points. That includes the P3 starting spot that’s one of the worst statistically. Now, that doesn’t mean that that happens again, just something to note.

One thing is for sure though, starting drivers in the back of the field is quite risky for DFS. Why? Well, as Dan and I pointed out on the podcast, lapping happens quickly here which caps DFS upside. Only three starting spots from P20 on back have average scores that beat the field average. The three that do (P20, P23, and P31) rank in the top-10 in DK scoring average. Again, that doesn’t mean it’ll follow suit on Saturday just something to note. Getting ahold of laps led and strong finish contenders is the key to DK.

FanDuel Scoring Trends at Bristol Motor Speedway

The following chart shows the average points scored by starting spot over the last five concrete Bristol races. The idea is to show off the strategy that has worked in the past rather than dictate which starting spots are more likely to score highly.

While for the most part, FanDuel’s scoring history is similar to DraftKings, there are some interesting differences to note. Firstly, the average score across the board is more than twice what it is on DraftKings thanks to the 50 laps completed points that are up for grabs. Secondly, there’s not really an extreme dip in scoring on FD like we see on DK. Sure, there are spots that don’t score as well as others but the differences aren’t as big. For example, the same starting spots on DK and FD rank as the best and worst scorers — P20 and P21 respectively. On DK the difference is 68.4 points while on FD the drop is 60 points. The scoring is tighter on FD with just six starting spots outscoring the average by 10 or more points. That means we need all of the laps completed points we can get as well as the best finishing drivers we can muster by race’s end.

NASCAR Practice and Qualifying Results For Bass Pro Shops Night Race

The following table shows the practice and qualifying results for the Cup Series race at Bristol. The idea of the table is to show where drivers qualified versus where they ran at practice over the short and long runs. This data can help sort out who might drive up through the field and who might fall back from their starting spot. It’s helpful to determine who are cash game drivers and who might be GPP plays.

DriverAvg. Prac to QualQual1-Lap5-Lap10-lap15-lap20-Lap
Christopher Bell-5156486
Denny Hamlin-521210733
William Byron-1385322
Michael McDowell-164302820129
Martin Truex Jr-1252422181110
Brad Keselowski-266283235  
Chase Elliott1777845
Ty Gibbs6843111
Bubba Wallace593456 
Corey Lajoie1106913  
Ryan Blaney-1011202121  
Tyler Reddick41210121054
Alex Bowman41398117 
Chase Briscoe-1314262630  
Kyle Busch-415172019  
Carson Hocevar-516232317  
Ryan Preece-917273022  
Austin Dillon-1018322924  
Justin Haley-119131531  
Chris Buescher1820222  
Kevin Harvick021191627  
AJ Allmendinger11221411613 
Ross Chastain102311141415 
Daniel Suarez-52435342817 
Ricky Stenhouse Jr92525241597
Aric Almirola52621272314 
Ryan Newman-827363533  
Joey Logano1528151312  
Austin Cindric12291617251611
Todd Gilliland10302925161812
Erik Jones831181834  
Harrison Burton132333129  
Ty Dillon1133221926  
BJ McLeod034313636  
JJ Yeley235343332  
Kyle Larson3036119108

Bristol Race Trends For DFS

The following table shows the key stats and how they’ve played out over the last five Bristol concrete races. It doesn’t mean that the Bass Pro Shops Night Race will fall in line but it gives a decent idea of how we’re looking to build lineups.

Positive Place Differential192222202221
Six+ Place Differential Spots161111131112.4
Double-Digit Place Differential10481378.4
Double-Digit Fast Laps101216131312.8
20+ Laps Led554595.6
50+ Laps Led343554
100+ Laps Led322302
Lead Lap Finishers1219622713.2
Top-10 Finish %4357446%

Each of the stats above is key at Bristol for a different reason. The position differential stats help us judge how easy or not it is to move up throughout a race at Bristol recently in different ways. The good news is that on average there is plenty of PD available throughout the field with a third moving up six or more spots and just under a quarter finishing 10 or more spots to the good. Fastest laps are pretty well spread out here so we’re not too concerned about nailing where those come from. Typically speaking the 500 laps at Bristol have seen 2-3 drivers lead over 100 laps in the last four races. Between 3-5 have topped the 50-lap mark out front per race. So for DFS we’re looking at mainly two dominator builds with a few three dominators mixed in. Lastly, just over a third of the field finishes on the lead lap here each race while 46-percent of the top-10 finishers starts P12 or worse in the field a race.


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