DraftKings DFS NASCAR Picks: Bristol
The Sprint Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for the second short track race of the season. Carl Edwards ($9,900) secured the pole for the Food City 500, and he has the benefit of the stall at the end of Pit Road with no one in front of him. He posted the only sub-15-second lap in Friday’s knockout qualifying, putting him on the front row.
Edwards is a strong DFS play, as he has three wins at the track with five Top 5s, 10 Top 10s and 702 career laps led in 23 starts at Thunder Valley with a 14.8 Average-Finish Position (AFP). Over the past five starts at Bristol, Edwards is second only to teammate Matt Kenseth ($10,000) with a 109.6 Driver Rating, according to NASCAR’s Loop Data. Kenseth will be starting alongside Cousin Carl in the front row. Kenseth has turned 79.8 percent of his laps inside the Top 15 over his past five stops at Bristol, while Edwards has run a circuit-leading 89.6 percent of his laps inside the Top 15 during the span.
Kenseth has picked up four checkered flags at Bristol in 32 starts, and he looks to tie teammate Kyle Busch ($10,700) and Kurt Busch ($9,400) for the active lead with five victories at the short track. Kenseth also has 13 Top 5s, 20 Top 10s and 25 Top 20s in those 32 starts while turning 1,430 laps in the front of the pack, second only to Kyle Busch.
As usual, Rowdy is a quality DFS play. In fact, he leads all active drivers (min. seven starts) with an 11.9 AFP in 21 career starts, winning five times with 16 Top 20s and 1,703 laps led. His brother Kurt also has five victories, posting 22 Top 20s in 30 career starts while leading 1,021 laps. The Busch Bros. are a nice one-two punch for DFS players in a high-low strategy, or a JGR triumvirate of Edwards-Kenseth-Busch is also a good way to go.
Denny Hamlin ($9,600) heads to Bristol as the least accomplished JGR driver on the four-man team, but he is certainly not a bad DFS selection. He will go off fourth Sunday, and he has a 16.7 AFP in 20 career starts while posting one win, nine Top 10s and 578 laps led.
Penske Racing’s Joey Logano ($10,300) and Brad Keselowski ($9,800) are also strong plays, especially the No. 22. Logano had a great qualifying session, and he will start on the inside of Row 2 in the third position. He has two career wins at Bristol, posting nine Top 20s in 14 career starts while posting an 18.6 AFP and 408 laps led. Keselowski has managed two victories with 75 percent of his career starts coming 20th or better with 499 laps led and a 14.3 AFP.
If there was any week to avoid Hendrick Motorsports drivers, it is at Bristol. Jimmie Johnson ($10,200) has a high price tag, but he has just one career win in 28 starts with a 14.1 AFP and 833 laps led. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($9,100) also has one win in 32 starts with a 12.8 AFP, third-best among all active drivers. However, over the past five starts at Thunder Valley he sits outside the Top 10 in Driver Rating. Johnson starts sixth, while Little E will go off 20th.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick ($10,500) is third among all drivers in Driver Rating over the past five starts at Bristol while running out front for 294 laps. He has also run 80.8 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. Happy has one win in 30 career starts at at the track while posting 721 laps led and 21 Top 20s with a 14.6 AFP. His DFS appeal isn’t terrible, but his price tag is rather high given the fact he has just the one victory and isn’t dominant like he is at Phoenix, for example.
If you insist on a Hendrick driver, Kasey Kahne ($7,800) might be your best bet. He ranks ninth with an 89.2 Driver Rating over the past five starts, according to NASCAR’s Loop Data. Kahne has won once in 24 starts with a respectable 18.5 AFP and 15 Top 20 finishes with 512 laps led. Kahne is set to start 11th in Sunday’s race.
A big-salary driver you’ll want to avoid, steer clear of Martin Truex Jr. ($8,900). MTJ has just two Top 20s and no wins in 20 career starts at Thunder Valley while leading just 114 laps and a 21.1 AFP.
ON THE DOWN LOW
You need a handful of low-priced drivers, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,400) is an absolute must-start driver. In six career starts he has two Top 5s, three Top 10s and five Top 20s with an AFP of 11.2. He has never finished lower than 21st in his six starts at Bristol. Stenhouse will start 32nd, and you can expect him to scoot up through the pack and pick up Place Differential points.
Clint Bowyer ($6,800) has never won at Bristol, but he does have a respectable 15.3 AFP in 20 career starts while posting nine finishes inside the Top 10. Greg Biffle ($6,500) ranks fourth among active drivers with his 13.1 AFP, posting 21 of his 26 career starts inside the Top 20 with 444 laps led. While he has struggled in recent seasons overall, he is always a threat to finish in the top half of the pack at Thunder Valley.
A.J. Allmendinger ($6,600) goes off ninth in Sunday’s lineup after an impressive qualifying session, but he hasn’t been great over the years at Bristol. He has 15 career starts, and he has never finished better than 12th, posting a dismal 25.5 AFP. Like ‘Dinger, Trevor Bayne ($5,900) starts on Row 5, but he has struggled over the years at Thunder Valley. Bayne has just one Top 20 finish in three starts at Bristol with a 25.7 AFP. He is still learning the ropes, and rarely can younger drivers be trusted until they’ve had at least at least five or six starts at the track under their belt.
Paul Menard ($7,100) is a low-priced help for DFS players, posting nine Top 20s in 17 career starts at Bristol with a respectable 17.4 AFP and 100 laps led. As a No. 4 or 5 DFS option, you can certainly do worse. Jamie McMurray ($7,500) goes off 13th Sunday, and he is a nice sleeper. He ranks sixth in Driver Rating (92.7) over the past five starts at Bristol while running 76.9 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. With 158 laps led over the past five runs at Thunder Valley, Jamie Mac could surprise.