NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Food City Dirt Race at Bristol

Remarkably, this race weekend is starting out just last last week in Richmond -- rain. The two sessions of practice for both the NASCAR Craftsman Series and the NASCAR Cup Series were cancelled. Hopefully the qualifying heat races to establish lineups for both races will go off without a hitch. I'm thinking this gives the established dirt drivers an automatic edge. Just sayin.'
This Week's Pick Strategy:  
Most drivers not experienced with dirt racing have made it a point to either glean information from traditional dirt racers or make some extra laps at dirt races like Joey Logano did in 2021 when he raced in the UMP Modifieds at Volusia Raceway Park in Barberville, Fla. Although these strategies have somewhat closed the knowledge gap in the field, traditional dirt racers just know more when it comes to reading a track and making adjustments for transitions in the surface throughout a race, and that's what's going to make the real difference. I'm going to load up my roster with dirt racing masters.

Top 16 in the Driver Standings at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt
Bristol Dirt Lap Leaders
         SOURCE: NASCAR Media
Drivers with Top 5s in Both Bristol Dirt Races
Joey Logano - 2
All with 1 - Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez, and Tyler Reddick.
Previous Bristol Dirt Pole Winners:
2022 Cole Custer
2021 Kyle Larson (Set by Metric Qualifying due to weather) 
Previous Bristol Dirt Race Winners:
2022  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 34.973 mph, (3:34:27), April 17, 2022
2021 Joey Logano, Ford, 46.313 mph, (2:43:53), March 29, 2021
The Likely Suspects:  I believe these drivers will run well on Sunday: Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Tyler Reddick, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Wiliam Byron, Alex Bowman, and Justin Haley.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick is for two weeks in a row is a tie. This time it's between Kyle Larson and Tyler Reddick. My next picks are Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, and Chase Briscoe.  I'll complete my roster with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Todd Gilliland.

My Final Four: Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, Daniel Suarez, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Second-Look Driver: This week's shoo-in for a second-look driver is Daniel Suarez. The oddsmakers have Daniel at 18-1. While he may not be top of mind for dirt racing, he has mastered the skills enough to earn the second most laps led at 122 laps over the two Bristol dirt races with over 58 laps led in each Bristol dirt races. Daniel earned a 12th-place finish last year and a fourth-place in the inaugural race.
Points to Ponder:
  • Kyle Larson leads the NASCAR Cup Series in average starting position at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt with a 3.0 in two starts.
  • Two drivers have posted runner-up finishes in the NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Dirt - Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2021) and Tyler Reddick (2022). 
  • A total of nine different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have finished in the top five at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt, led by Joey Logano with two top fives, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Tyler Reddick. 
  • Joe Gibbs Racing’s driver Martin Truex Jr. leads the NASCAR Cup Series in laps led at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt with 126 laps led (25% of his laps completed).  
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game and are using an eight driver entry form, make your initial picks by Saturday, April 8th at 5:30 p.m. ET and your final four by 7 p.m. ET on race day Sunday, April 9th.

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: Food City Dirt Race at Bristol NASCAR Fantasy Fusion:  Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Friday, April 07, 2023 Rating: 5