NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Bass Pro Shops Night Race cut-off race at Bristol

23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace sure quieted the nay-sayers last weekend with his win at Kansas Speedway. He not only became the 18th different winner of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, the series-most different winners (18) through 28 races of a single season, but also broke tradition for the second consecutive week with a non-Playoff driver going to Victory Lane in the second Playoff race.

And looky here -- No non-Playoff driver has won the third NASCAR Cup Playoff race at Bristol Motor Speedway (2020-2021), the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (2018-2019) or at Dover Motor Speedway (2011 – 2017). Stay tuned.

This Week's Pick Strategy:
Bristol racing isn't for the faint of heart and it can put a definite crimp in your fantasy roster. I'm going to stick with Bristol elite drivers, most of whom are also Playoff drivers.

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
All with 4 - Kyle Larson, Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, and Kevin Harvick
All with 3 - Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, and Chase Elliott

By Track (Last 9 points-paying races*)
All with 6 - Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick
All with 5 - Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Erik Jones
Both with 4 - Joey Logano and Chase Elliott
Both with 3 - Alex Bowman and Brad Keselowski
* In 2020 Bristol hosted the rescheduled All-Star Race

Last Year's Race Winner: Kyle Larson
The Likely Suspects: My Bristol elites include Kyle Larson, Erik Jones, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Chase Elliott.

My 2 Cents: My No-brainer pick this week is Kyle Larson. My next picks are Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Christopher Bell, Chris Buescher, and Brad Keselowski. I will complete my roster with Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez

My Final Four: Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, Chris Buescher, and Daniel Suarez.
Second-Look Driver: This week's sleeper pick is Erik Jones. Erik has a strong potential of playing Playoff spoiler at Bristol. He doesn't have a great starting position at 24th on the grid, but he has been running well especially in the second half of this season. He has four Top 5s and five Top 10s here in Bristol. His Darlington win gave him even more confidence and basically let the field know that just because the No. 43 isn't running for a championship doesn't mean they won't be battling hard for a win every week.

Points to Ponder:
  • Six of the 43 NASCAR Cup Series Bristol winners are racing on Saturday night: Kyle Busch with eight wins, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick with three wins each, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano with two each, and Kyle Larson with one win.
  • The race winner has started from the pole or first starting position 27 times (22.6%) - the most productive starting position in the field. 
  • More than half (69 wins, 57.50%) of the NASCAR Cup Series winners at Bristol Motor Speedway have started in the top five.
  • Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers in runner-up finishes at Bristol with six. 
  • Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick lead all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in Top 5s at Bristol Motor Speedway with 14 each. 
  • Kevin Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup Series among active drivers in top-10 finishes at Bristol with 21.
  • Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series in laps led at Bristol with 2,593 in 32 starts.
  • Erik Jones leads the series among active drivers in average finishing position at Bristol with a 12.444 in nine starts.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your final picks by 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 17th. Enjoy the race!
Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 16 years. She launched  NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Bass Pro Shops Night Race cut-off race at Bristol NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Bass Pro Shops Night Race cut-off race at Bristol Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Friday, September 16, 2022 Rating: 5