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NASCAR DFS Picks and Projections for Bristol 2

NASCAR heads to Bristol for the second time this year. However, unlike the first race, this race will be held at night (barring any weather, which is possible). As always, I’ll give you my NASCAR DFS picks, fades, and projections for this weekend’s race. Also, the NASCAR DFS Multi-Lineup OptimizerSim Scores, and Splits apps are updated for your NASCAR DFS needs.

Make sure to get your NASCAR DFS questions to me on Twitter using #RVLive. Do a written Q+A for RotoViz Live on Saturday AM (pacific time) because I just had a sinus lift procedure, making talking painful.

For betting insights into the race, be sure to check out my piece at The Action Network. In that article, I’ll highlight my favorite NASCAR bets for Bristol.

If you’re new to daily fantasy NASCAR, or simply need a refresher, check out the steep track section of my track types article. Brush up on your general GPP strategy and game theory if you want to have a shot at taking down first place. If you’re more of a cash game player, check out how to target high floor drivers, and remember to find any potential race dominators.

Let’s get to the NASCAR DFS picks, strategy, rankings, and projections for Bristol!


The model projections assume that the driver finishes the race – hence why you don’t see any average finishing positions worse than about 29th. The Pts column shows the average projected DraftKings points for races when the driver finishes the race.

Kyle Larson17.4691.7835.7670.901140047.3%
Chase Elliott211.3466.1430.8455.28910021.7%
Kyle Busch39.7779.8041.6968.261230043.4%
Paul Menard412.9915.1012.9132.26680011.9%
William Byron515.5214.7810.4426.8874005.3%
Kevin Harvick68.2159.8037.9767.521200022.7%
Denny Hamlin79.888.6022.4744.621020012.0%
Aric Almirola816.549.0514.9328.6579008.4%
Kurt Busch913.9325.3918.2740.62850012.5%
Ryan Blaney1015.6245.2224.7246.41890023.7%
Brad Keselowski1115.9414.4319.1036.28990011.1%
Ricky Stenhouse Jr1212.593.5711.1937.31780031.3%
Jimmie Johnson1311.984.428.2138.2487008.2%
Erik Jones149.8616.6117.0650.95830038.7%
David Ragan1517.320.172.9925.8955009.6%
Clint Bowyer1616.413.5114.7335.43930010.1%
Martin Truex Jr1711.1625.3822.5056.271080019.0%
Austin Dillon1814.450.116.3236.28700012.4%
Joey Logano1913.052.095.9240.39960012.5%
Jamie McMurray2014.011.802.7837.82760014.0%
Daniel Suarez2113.771.977.5341.71810026.4%
Alex Bowman2217.710.025.7633.46720016.9%
Trevor Bayne2314.670.083.3239.34590020.8%
Ryan Newman2413.619.545.7146.02660032.0%
AJ Allmendinger2519.550.062.0530.93630013.4%
Kasey Kahne2619.110.102.6033.10640014.1%
Bubba Wallace2718.940.103.0634.68610016.8%
Chris Buescher2821.920.051.1228.73620013.1%
Matt DiBenedetto2923.080.060.6127.17530017.8%
Corey Lajoie3024.760.070.4124.7151003.0%
Michael McDowell3123.190.041.4629.35600013.6%
Ty Dillon3222.730.022.9832.04570010.9%
Jesse Little3326.730.020.3123.7146008.3%
JJ Yeley3428.230.020.3021.7048002.3%
Ross Chastain3528.780.030.3021.6054003.8%
Timmy Hill3728.590.020.3023.9747002.3%
Gray Gaulding3828.320.020.2825.5149002.5%
Landon Cassill3927.900.020.4427.4252002.5%
Blake Jones4029.060.010.2826.0345003.9%

Now on to the NASCAR DFS picks for Sunday!


Kyle Larson ($11,400) — Larson’s best track is Bristol, and he qualified on the pole for a race that is 500 laps. That means he should rack up a ton of dominator points, which significantly raises your floor for cash games. Since 2015, and removing individual races where a driver had a DNF, Larson has the second-most laps led and fastest laps, behind only Kyle Busch in both.

Kyle Busch ($12,300) — Speaking of Busch, I think this is a race where you go double dominator in cash games. Busch has led over a quarter of all laps, and accumulated over 10 percent fastest laps in his incident-free Bristol races since 2015. That averages out to 59.75 points just from dominator points. Busch has seven career wins at Bristol, including the first race this year, and three runner up finishes. If people are scared off him from a slower 10-lap average, even better. Busch’s laps were put down later in the session than all the top drivers, when the track was slightly slower.

Ryan Newman ($6600) — With two high-priced dominators, you will need some salary relief in your cash game lineup. Newman offers salary-adjusted value better than any driver this week. In the pre-practice rankings below, Newman came in as the best value, and after practicing fourth-quickest over 10-consecutive laps in final practice, Newman’s value increases even further.


Erik Jones ($8300) — Like Larson and Busch, Bristol is a fantastic track for Jones. Jones races wheel to wheel with these two drivers in the Xfinity Series, and has come away with two wins in four starts at the bullring. He also finished second in the second Bristol race last year, and has led 17.3 percent of all the Bristol laps he’s run in the Cup Series.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7800) — Bristol is Stenhouse’s best non-restrictor plate track, and this weekend the trend looks to continue. Stenhouse has been near the top of the long-run speed charts all weekend long, posting the third-best 10-lap average in both practice sessions, and the eighth-best 15 lap average in Happy Hour. Stenhouse has a second, two fourths, and a sixth at Bristol, and looks to have a top eight (or better) car for the race. That would get you 40 DraftKings points, plus whatever fastest laps and laps led he puts up. I do think Stenhouse will be popular, so I like some pivots in his price range as well, namely…

Daniel Suarez ($8100) — Suarez posted the ninth-best 15-lap average in Happy Hour, but what’s more impressive is his ninth-best 10-lap average made in the heat of the day, when the track is at its slickest. Suarez starts 21st, which gives him plenty of place differential potential at a track like Bristol, where place differential is king. His Bristol finishes have slowly been getting better, going from 18th, to 15th, to 11th in his three races. He’s posted a top-six finishe in every incident-free Bristol race he’s run in the Xfinity series, including two second-place finishes.


William Byron ($7400) — Bristol hasn’t been a great track for Byron in his young career at any level, including an 18th place finish earlier this year. Byron was only 21st in 10-lap average in final practice. Too slow, and he starts fifth, meaning he’ll likely get a large negative number in the place differential category.


AUTHOR’S NOTE: Below is my early-week article for Bristol.


Kevin Harvick120008.739.130.400.07
Kyle Larson114009.089.640.560.10
Jimmie Johnson87009.6512.853.210.74
Denny Hamlin1020010.3010.850.550.11
Chase Elliott910010.3512.251.910.42
Kyle Busch1230010.468.90-1.56-0.25
Joey Logano960010.4611.581.120.23
Erik Jones830010.5613.512.960.71
Martin Truex Jr1080010.7610.21-0.54-0.10
Clint Bowyer930013.6411.97-1.66-0.36
Jamie McMurray760013.8214.841.020.27
Ricky Stenhouse Jr780013.9714.440.460.12
Daniel Suarez810014.2513.87-0.38-0.09
Paul Menard680014.2916.702.410.71
Ryan Newman660014.3117.242.930.89
Kurt Busch850014.4513.18-1.27-0.30
William Byron740014.7815.270.490.13
Austin Dillon700014.9116.201.290.37
Brad Keselowski990015.6511.20-4.45-0.90
Alex Bowman720015.7515.72-0.03-0.01
Aric Almirola790016.0214.24-1.78-0.45
Ryan Blaney890016.1912.55-3.64-0.82
Trevor Bayne590017.2019.422.220.75
Bubba Wallace610017.3618.751.390.46
Kasey Kahne640018.9117.81-1.10-0.34
AJ Allmendinger630018.9718.11-0.86-0.27
David Ragan550019.5120.931.420.52
Chris Buescher620019.9818.43-1.56-0.50
Ty Dillon570020.1220.150.030.01
Michael McDowell600020.2819.08-1.20-0.40
Matt DiBenedetto530021.2921.770.480.18
Landon Cassill520023.1122.21-0.90-0.35
Corey Lajoie510024.2022.68-1.52-0.60
Ross Chastain540024.3821.34-3.04-1.12
Gray Gaulding490025.0423.66-1.37-0.56
JJ Yeley480025.2424.19-1.05-0.44
BJ McLeod500025.2823.16-2.12-0.85
Timmy Hill470025.2924.73-0.55-0.24
Blake Jones450025.5425.900.370.16
Jesse Little460025.5425.31-0.23-0.10

A bit of explanation on the columns.

Sal – the driver’s DraftKings salary

Pred.Fin – the driver’s predicted finish based off my machine learning model, with no practice or qualifying data

Sal.Exp.Fin – the driver’s salary-based expected finish, which is just a best fit curve of Sal vs. Pred.Fin

Abs.Val – This is a driver’s absolute value in finishing position. It’s simply calculated as

(Sal.Exp.Fin – Pred.Fin)

In other words, if a driver’s salary says he should finish 15th, but the model says he’ll finish 14th, his value is (15-14) = 1 … in other words, on average he should finish one place better than expected for his salary.

Rel.Val – This is a drivers value relative to his salary. This is calculated as


This is adjusting the absolute finishing value of a driver for his salary. If Kevin Harvick finishes one spot better, that’s not as good a relative value as Trevor Bayne finishing one spot better. That’s because that one place gets you two extra points (one for finishing position, one for place differential) in both cases, but those two extra points only cost you $5900 for Bayne but $12,000 for Harvick.


NOTE: these projections do not include dominator points. A driver’s value could change based off how likely he is to dominate. For example, Kyle Busch is projected to have negative finishing position value, but he could make up plenty of that lost value with dominator points.



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