FREE NASCAR DFS Cup Series Bristol Night Race Breakdown, Cheat Sheet and Core Plays

Welcome to Run Pure Sports’ FREE NASCAR DFS Breakdown for Tonight’s Cup Series Race at Bristol Motor Speedway! That’s right, folks—It’s Bristol Baby! We’ve already had a thrilling weekend of racing action in Thunder Valley, courtesy of the Trucks and Xfinity Series. But hold onto your hats, because the main event is about to unfold tonight. A cornerstone of NASCAR tradition, Bristol is a race that lifelong fans eagerly anticipate all year long.

Navigating Bristol from a DFS standpoint can be a bit like walking a tightrope. The key to victory hinges on selecting the perfect blend of dominators. At this fast-paced half-mile track, where laps clock in at just 16 seconds, dominator points accumulate rapidly. So if a driver you haven’t chosen finds their way to the front, you could find yourself left in the dust.

Yet, as the saying goes, you can’t win if you don’t play. So let’s dive into the strategies that could pave your road to DFS success tonight!

Breakdown

When preparing for most NASCAR events, the first step is usually to identify comparable tracks that can provide useful data for DFS decisions. However, when it comes to Bristol, this strategy hits a roadblock: there’s simply no other track like it. This high-banked, half-mile bullring is a one-of-a-kind venue on the NASCAR circuit.

Given its unique characteristics, track history becomes an invaluable tool for DFS players. If you’re looking to maximize your chances of success in tonight’s race, your best bet is to focus on drivers who have a proven record of navigating Bristol’s unique challenges effectively. Focus on those drivers who have consistently shown they know how to maneuver around the tight corners and high banks that make Bristol the spectacle that it is.

In terms of lap totals, tonight’s 500-lap race is the longest on the schedule, and this volume puts a glaring spotlight on dominator points. With a whopping 350 dominator points available tonight, your DFS success is going to hinge largely on nailing the right dominators in your lineup.

Over the last six races at Bristol, there have been 31 performances of 20 or more dominator points, averaging roughly five standout performances per race. A staggering 25 of those dominant runs have landed in the top 6 of DraftKings scoring.

Now, here’s the kicker: the top 2 scorers on the DraftKings slate in all six races have netted over 90 points, with six even crossing the 100-point threshold. These monster performances are simply too significant to ignore; you can’t afford to miss on them. If need be, compromise other aspects of your DFS build to secure as many potential dominator plays as possible. Landing a low-ownership dominator could be your golden ticket to big winnings in tournaments tonight.

When considering which drivers to target as dominators, it’s worth noting that 22 out of the 31 aforementioned standout performances came from drivers starting in the first four rows. Meanwhile, the front row has yielded five 20+ dominator point performances, and the pole sitter has accomplished this feat in three out of the last six races.

On the flip side, only twice has a driver scored 20+ dominator points while starting 20th or worse. Kyle Busch pulled it off in 2019, starting from 31st, and last year’s winner, Chris Buescher, did so after starting from the 20th position. This data further emphasizes the importance of focusing on those drivers who have good starting positions, although exceptions do exist.

20+ Dominator Point Performances Last 6 Bristol Races

Bristol is a track known for its unpredictable nature, and that extends into the realm of daily fantasy sports. The race flow here can introduce a fair amount of variance, offering multiple strategic opportunities for teams during pit stops. Teams will have the option to take two tires, no tires, or go for a full four-tire change. These choices can shuffle the order and jockey different drivers to the front, adding another layer of complexity to your DFS selections.

To add fuel to the fire, any mistake that forces a driver into an unscheduled green-flag pit stop can be devastating. A misstep like that will essentially dig a hole too deep for most drivers to climb out of, further magnifying the importance of nailing your dominator picks.

Given this level of unpredictability, I generally advise against focusing on cash games for this slate. The variance involved in selecting dominators at Bristol is simply too high, and a single miss could torpedo your entire lineup. Instead, this type of environment is more conducive to multi-entry strategies. Consider building multiple lineups, mixing and matching various dominators to create a diverse portfolio of DFS plays. This approach spreads your risk and increases your chances of hitting on that perfect combination of drivers.

Cheat Sheet

Below is my cheat sheet for tonight’s Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. I’ve included data from the last six races at Bristol to give you a sense of who shines at this unique track. Additionally, you’ll find statistics from the last four non-road course and non-super speedway races of the 2023 season. While this information can give you an idea of who has been fast recently, I recommend not putting too much weight on it for this particular race.

For a more immediate sense of driver performance, I’ve also included lap average data from yesterday’s practice session. However, it’s essential to note that Group A practiced under significantly faster track conditions than Group B. To help you differentiate between the two, I’ve highlighted the salaries of drivers who were in Group A in blue.

Drivers highlighted in green are those I’m particularly bullish on for today’s race, while those marked in pink represent my favorite lower-owned pivot plays. These could be the dark horses that provide you with a competitive edge in your DFS lineups.

Core Plays

Favorite Top Tier: Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, William Byron, Denny Hamlin

Top Tier Pivots: Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott

With all the risks around trying to pick the right Dom, Kyle Larson presents the easiest path to scoring 30+ bonus points through the PD he offers alone. He has been the fastest car in the playoffs thus far, and he showed a ton of speed in practice. He has scored north of 25 Dom points in 3 of his last 4 here, making him a strong contender to be the top scorer tonight combining both the PD and dominator upside.

Another week and another decision about what to do with Bell on the pole. We saw Bell have success here last year leading 143 laps and this is the type of track that should be right in Bell’s wheelhouse. Starting on the pole gives him the clear edge to potentially leading the first stage IF we have a long green flag run to start the race. The first stage is 125 laps, so he can easily rack up 30-40 Dom points in that stage alone. He will be chalk though, and we do all know how Bell chalk usually turns out… But, I think the upside is too much to ignore today and you will have to have some shares.

If not Bell leading early, then I believe we will see either Denny Hamlin or William Byron being the ones to get around him. Denny has scored 30+ Dom points here in 3 of the last 6, has track position, and has been the fastest car lately with the 2nd best Avg. Pos., best FL %, and most laps led in the last 4 non RC/SS races. Byron is probably my least favorite of the bunch, having failed to score more than 12 Dom points in the last 6 races here. But, he looks to have a fast car in practice and has been one of the best cars all season.

I absolutely love Brad Keselowski today. Not sure how owned he will be, but I imagine his price tag keeps him somewhat suppressed with all the other plays on the slate. Brad has scored north of 25 Dom points in 5 of the last 6 Bristol races, with his best dominator performance coming last year in this race in his RFK ride. Not only is this a track that BK has had a ton of success at, but this team has also had a ton of speed recently, sitting 3rd in Avg. position in the last 4 non RC/SS races.

Chase Elliott is also one that should not be overlooked today. Concrete tracks are where Chase usually shines and he has scored 20+ dominator points in 4 of the last 6 races inside “The Last Great Coliseum”. He also has the best average position in the last 6 races here, along with the 2nd best driver rating. If you like Larson and Byron today, then you have to have some shares of Elliott as well.

Favorite Mid Tier: Martin Truex, Erik Jones, AJ Allmendinger

Mid Tier Pivots: Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola

Look, I know Bristol is not usually a track you think of Truex at, but $8700 is way too cheap for one of the best cars that there has been on the track for much of the 2023 season. Truex has scored 10+ Dom points in 4 of the last 6 at Bristol, and in 3 of those performances he started inside the Top 5, he starts 5th today. Fast car, fast team, starting with track position, and under $9k.

That Jones boy comes in as my first true PD play of the slate today. This is the exact type of price point I want to be at for PD upside today as I would much rather use the spend up dollars to target those dominator options. Jones has been on fire lately with the 10th best average running position in recent 2023 races. He has also finished inside the Top 10 in 3 of the last 6 here with 2 of those finishes being inside the Top 5.

The Dinger is another driver that has shown to have a knack for getting around the bull ring. He does have a win here in the Xfinity series and finished 7th in this race last year after running inside the Top 13 for much of that race. He also showed solid speed in practice and starts in a position that should allow him to hang on to the lead lap as he moves forward.

I know much of the love in this range is going to fall on Bubba Wallace and Ty Gibbs based off of yesterday’s practice session, but I personally am not buying it. Practice speeds are a little convoluted with the discrepancies in track conditions amongst the groups. Ty is still too green in my opinion to truly contend for Dom points tonight,  and Bubba has never had much success here at Bristol with a lone 10th place finish being his best performance here. These guys price and start positions have them needing to score Dom points today to compete with the PD options around them, I just don’t see the upside.

What this does do though is it sets us up with the potential to get Tyler Reddick at a suppressed ownership today as hopefully everyone pays down for the “speed” of Bubba and Gibbs. No one has been hotter than last week’s winner as he has the BEST average running position on non RC/SS tracks recently. He does have 1 Top 5 finish in his first 4 career starts here. As the topside comes in over the course of the race tonight, I expect Reddick to use the speed that car has had recently to find his way to the front.

Favorite Value Tier: Todd Gilliland, Harrison Burton, Austin Cindric

Value range is kind of a dart throw today, which is another reason I like running multiple lines tonight. Gilliland, Burton and Cindric all offer a relatively safe floor with their start position for a cheap price tag. All could be at risk of losing laps quickly though. All 3 of these guys did finish Top 20 in this race last year. In terms of recent speed, Cindric looks to be the best of the 3.

Value Tier Pivots: Justin Haley, JJ Yeley

With the risk the other value drivers have of going a lap down relatively quickly, Haley comes in as an option as a guy that could hang on to the lead lap through the first stage which would drastically raise his floor and ceiling. He was able to do that exact same thing in this race last year after starting 19th, he ran inside the Top 20 all evening before finishing 12th and landing with the 13th best score on DK.

In a race where there is so much emphasis on scoring Dom points and targeting as many of the top tier options as we can, it makes sense to have a couple line ups built with a punt option, especially given the risk that the chalk value options present today. The punt that makes the most sense to me would be Yeley. We have seen Yeley put up respectable finishes for RWR all season with 10/19 finishes landing in P26 or better. This is also a track that fits right in Yeley’s wheelhouse being a dirt guy. He showed his potential in this race last year where he finished 23rd after starting P36.

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