Thursday, August 16, 2018

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Joey Logano - 4
All with 3 - Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth

By Track
Joey Logano - 6
All with 5 - Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, and Kevin Harvick 

Recent Pole Winners: 
2017 Erik Jones
2016 Carl Edwards
2015 Denny Hamlin
2014 Kevin Harvick

Last Year's Race Winner: Kyle Busch

The Likely Suspects:  It's time for some night racing on the high banks of "The Last Great Colosseum," Bristol Motor Speedway. I will attend as a fan and will be looking for these drivers to run well: Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch.

My 2 Cents: Remarkably (or not) the top three drivers in the Top 16 at Bristol from 2005 to 2018 are  Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr.  My no-brainer pick is Kyle Busch, who has the best driver rating at Bristol and is feeling extra motivated after his third-place finish at Michigan. My next choices are Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Newman, Erik Jones and Clint Bowyer, who holds a respectful fifth place in the driver ratings here at Bristol with seven top fives and 12 top 10s. I will complete my team with Alex Bowman and Bubba Wallace Jr.

My Final Four: Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Newman, and Alex Bowman.

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is William Byron. William made his Cup debut this past spring and finished 15th. His two Xfinity races last year earned him 12th and 22nd, but he's got a lot more experience under his belt. Last week's second-look driver Ryan Blaney finished in fifth place after starting from eighth place on the grid.

Points to Ponder:
  • The race winner has started from the pole 25 times (21.7%) - the most productive starting position in the field. The last driver to win from the pole was Kyle Busch (Spring 2018).
  • Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman lead all active drivers in Busch poles at Bristol with three each.
  • Roger Penske leads the series among active car owners with the most wins at Bristol with 12; followed by Jack Roush and Rick Hendrick with 11 each.
  • Kyle Busch leads the series among active drivers in wins at Bristol with seven (Spring 2007, 2009 sweep, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2017, Spring 2018).
  • Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers in runner-up finishes at Bristol with five; followed by Kyle Busch with three.
  • Jimmie Johnson leads the series among active drivers in top-10 finishes at Bristol with 19; followed by Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman with 18 each.
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. leads the series among active drivers in average finishing position at Bristol with a 10.2 in 11 series starts.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. EDT on Friday, August 17th, and your final picks by 7:30 p.m. EDT on race day Saturday, August 18th.

Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter at @purplecatpr.

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