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DFS NASCAR: Bristol Spring Cup Picks and Xfinity Preview
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The time has come for short track action once again. This week’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500. As a 500 Lap race, there are plenty of points available from leading laps, which makes it crucial to pick the drivers that will lead the most laps in your lineup this week.

RACE PREVIEW FOR FOOD CITY 500

Post Saturday Practices Update: Kyle Larson was first in second practice and David Ragan was first in final practice. Larson remains a strong Top 5 pick based on first and second practice speeds. Ragan is now the top bargain pick based on practice speeds and since he starts 23rd, he will collect plenty of points from PD.

            Kurt Busch crashed during final practice and will have to start the race from the rear as he will be in a backup car. He will not be able to lead any laps, but he has displayed speeds capable of finishing in the Top 10.

            Chase Elliott ($10,100) was 10th in second practice, second in final practice, and had the fourth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Elliott finished in the Top 10 in the last two Spring Bristol races. Based on second and final practice speeds, Elliott will finish in the Top 10 and have a chance to place in the Top 5. All other driver outlooks remain much the same

TOP-PRICED PICKS

Kevin Harvick ($11,500) has finished in the Top 10 in each of his last five starts at Bristol. In 34 starts at the site, Harvick has two wins, 17 Top 10 finishes, and 876 laps led, which is fourth of active drivers. Since 2015, Harvick has the second-best Average Running Position of 8.4, the most Fastest Laps at 309, the most Laps in the Top 15 at 2,621, the third-best Average Finishing Position at 9,8, and the second-best Driver Rating of 112.5. Harvick was 25th in first practice and starts 39th after failing to set a time during qualifying. Bristol is a track not known for Place Differential, as the small track size makes it hard to gain positions. But Harvick will take advantage of PD since because of his starting position, and he has better equipment than most drivers starting ahead of him. The PD is too great to ignore for Harvick and since he starts last, there is no risk to using him this week. He has been a great pick for PD in the past, as he has the highest PD at 51 in the last four Bristol races. Watch for Harvick to finish in the Top 25 based on his first practice speed, but his recent history points to a good chance of him finishing in the Top 10.

Kyle Busch ($11,300) has six wins at Bristol, which is the most of active drivers. In 25 starts at the site, he has 14 Top 10 finishes , and 2,115 Laps Led, which leads all active drivers. He has the seventh-best ARP of 12.3, the second-most Fastest Laps at 249, and the third-best DR of 103.4. Kyle Busch was fourth in first practice and starts first. Kyle Busch is the most recent winner at Bristol and is coming off a win last week at Texas. He has momentum and has shown better speed than most in first practice, making him one of the favorites to win. especially with his strong history at Bristol. He is the driver that should lead the most laps this week.

Kyle Larson ($9,700) led the most laps in this race last season at 202. In eight starts at Bristol, Larson has four Top 10 finishes. Since 2015 at BMS, Larson has the ninth-best ARP at 13.5, the eighth-most Laps in the Top 15 at 1960, and the fourth-best DR of 97.0. He was fifth in first practice and starts sixth. Larson is solid at Bristol and has shown better speed than most in first practice, watch for him to finish around his starting position with a great chance at placing in the Top 5.

Denny Hamlin ($9,500) has finished in the Top 10 in four of his last five Bristol starts, which include three Top 3 finishes. In 24 starts at the site, Hamlin has 12 Top 10 finishes. Since 2015 at Bristol, Hamlin has the sixth-best ARP at 11.9, the fourth-best AFP at 10.8, and the ninth-best DR of 95.3.  He was sixth in first practice and starts 25th. Hamlin looked good in first practice and because of his starting position, he will pick up points from PD and finish in the Top 10 with a chance of competing for a Top 5 finish.

Joey Logano ($9,300) will score another Top 10 finish at Bristol this week. In 18 starts at BMS, Logano has two wins and seven Top 10 finishes, which include four of his last five starts at the site. In the last two seasons at BMS, Logano has the fifth-best AFP at 9.5. Since 2015 at Bristol, Logano has the sixth-most Fastest Laps at 119, the seventh-most Laps in the Top 15 at 1989, and the seventh-best DR of 95.9. Logano was 13th in first practice and starts 10th.

MID RANGE PRICED PICKS

            Ryan Blaney ($8,600) scored his first Top 10 in his last Bristol start. He has been having a strong season so far, with five Top 10 finishes, including two Top 5 finishes in the last two races. He was first in first practice and starts fifth. Since moving to Team Penske this season, Blaney has shown more consistency at a variety of race tracks and he registered his best career short track finish two weeks ago at Martinsville. Expect Blaney to compete for the win based on his first practice speed and recent performances.

Kurt Busch ($8,500) has five wins at Bristol, which is the second-most of active drivers. In 34 starts at the site, Kurt Busch has 17 Top 10 finishes. He has two Top 5 finishes in his last four Bristol starts and since 2015, Kurt Busch has the second-most Quality Passes (passes of cars in the Top 15 under Green Flag conditions) at 297. Kurt Busch was third in first practice and starts second. Expect Kurt Busch to finish around his starting position based on his first practice speed, with a chance at leading some laps.

            Erik Jones ($8,300) made a strong impression in his last Bristol start. He finished second and led the most laps with 260. Jones has shown improved consistency since joining Joe Gibbs Racing this season, as he has four Top 10 finishes in the last five races. He was second in first practice and starts 13th. Based on his first practice speed and with the improved equipment he has this year, expect Jones to finish in the Top 5 while picking up points from PD.

Ryan Newman ($8,000) has finished 14th or better in all but one of his starts at Bristol since 2015, which includes four Top 10 finishes. In 32 starts at BMS, Newman has 17 Top 10 finishes. Since 2015 at Bristol, Newman has the eighth-best AFP at 12.0 and the fifth-most Laps in the Top 15 with 2,118. He was 24th in first practice and starts 30th. Watch for Newman to compete for a Top 20 finish while picking up points from PD.

Alex Bowman ($7,400) is making his first Bristol start with Hendrick Motorsports. In four starts at BMS, Bowman’s best career finish is 20th and he has finished with positive PD in his last two Bristol starts. Bowman has three Top 15 finishes in the last four races this season. He was seventh in first practice and starts eighth. Since Bowman is in much better equipment now compared to the rest of his career and because of his increased experience at short tracks since his last start, expect him to have a new career best finish in the Top 10.

BARGAIN VALUES

            Kasey Kahne ($6,500) has four Top 20 finishes in his last five starts at Bristol. In 28 starts at BMS, Kahne has 10 Top 10 finishes. Kahne has finished in the Top 25 in the last six races this season and scored his best finish of the season of 17th last week at Texas. Kahne was 11th in first practice and starts 15th. Based on his first practice speed, watch for Kahne to finish in the Top 15.

Bristol is one of Trevor Bayne’s ($6,000) best tracks. He has finished in the Top 15 in each of his last five starts at the site, which includes two Top 10 finishes. Bayne has scored the fourth highest PD in the last four Bristol races at 29. Bayne was 15th in first practice and he starts 33rd. Based on recent history and his first practice speed, expect Bayne to finish in the Top 15 with a chance of placing in the Top 10 if other drivers ahead of him crash.

David Ragan ($5,400) has six Top 20 finishes in 22 starts at Bristol, which includes a finish of 17th in his last start.  Ragan has an ongoing streak of six consecutive Top 25 finishes this season. He was ninth in first practice and starts 23rd. Based on the speed he displayed during first practice, expect Ragan to compete for a Top 15 finish with a chance of placing in the Top 10 if other drivers ahead of him crash.

XFINITY SERIES PREVIEW FOR FITZGERALD GLIDER KITS 300

Post-Qualifying Saturday Update: Cole Custer won the pole for today’s Xfinity race. He continued to display great speeds throughout pre-race events and has shown that he will be the driver to beat. Custer will lead a lot of laps based on his starting position and practice speeds.

            Chase Briscoe ($8,000) and Ryan Truex ($8,800) are both in positions to take advantage of PD. Both drivers are making their first start at Bristol. Briscoe was 13th in first practice, 10th in final practice, and starts 22nd. Briscoe will finish in the Top 15 with a chance to compete for a Top 10 finish. Truex was 12th in first practice, seventh in final practice, and starts 21st. Truex will compete for a Top 10 finish. All other driver outlooks remain much the same.

RACE PREVIEW

            There are no Cup Series regulars competing in this week’s Xfinity race. Brandon Jones ($8,600) has only one Top 10 finish in five starts at Bristol but will make his first start at the site with Joe Gibbs Racing this season. He was first in first practice and third in third practice. He is racing in better equipment and looked great throughout practices. Watch for him to compete for a Top 5 finish. Jones’s teammate Christopher Bell ($10,700) has looked solid throughout practices as well. Bell was fourth in first practice and fifth in final practice. Watch him compete for a Top 5 finish.

Ryan Preece ($9,200) and Cole Custer ($10,300) have been consistent throughout the season. Preece has two Top 10 finishes in two starts this season while Custer has finished in the Top 10 in each of the past four Xfinity races. Preece’s best finish at Bristol is 15th while Custer has one Top 10 in two Bristol starts. Preece was third in first practice, fourth in final practice, and had the second-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Custer was sixth in first practice, first in final practice, and had the best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Both drivers have shown speeds that indicate they can compete for the win.

Austin Cindric ($8,400), Ty Majeski ($7,600), and Shane Lee ($7,500) are all making their first Xfinity start at Bristol. Cindric was fifth in first practice, eighth in final practice, and had the sixth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. He will compete for a Top 5 finish based on practice speeds. Majeski was 19th in first practice and 14th in final practice. Watch for him to compete for a Top 15 finish based on practice speeds. Lee was 15th in first practice, 17th in final practice, and had the ninth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Depending on where he qualifies, Lee can be a potentially strong PD play.

Jeremy Clements ($6,100) is the strongest value play for this week’s race. He has finished in the Top 20 in five of his last six Bristol starts, which includes a Top 10 finish in 2016. Clements was 14th in first practice and 16th in final practice. Compared to other drivers of similar or lower value, his practice speeds were much better. Clements will finish in the Top 15 based on his practice speeds.

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