DFS NASCAR: Food City Dirt Race

DFS NASCAR: Food City Dirt Race

This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.

Food City Dirt Race

Location: Bristol, Tenn.
Course: Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt
Format: 0.5-mile dirt oval
Laps: 250

Race Preview

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to dirt racing this week for the first time since 1970. Richard Petty won the last series race on this type of surface, but this will be the first time the series races at Bristol Motor Speedway with dirt under their wheels. Kyle Larson will be one of the favorites given his amazing season on dirt in 2020 while on hiatus from the Cup Series. He amassed more than 40 dirt wins last year and will also be tackling the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race this weekend. A handful of drivers will be stepping up to try their hands given the unique circumstances, hoping their prior dirt experience will pay dividends in NASCAR's top series. Stewart Friesen of the Truck Series will be one of those drivers along with Chris Windom, Shane Golobic, and Mike Marlar. Several series regular also have significant dirt experience and could be tough to beat, however.

Key Stats at Bristol Motor Speedway

  • Number of races: 120
  • Winners from pole: 27
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 69
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 94
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 6
  • Fastest race: 104.589 mph

Previous 10 Bristol Winners

2020 fall - Kevin Harvick
2020 spring - Brad Keselowski
2019 fall - Denny Hamlin
2019 spring - Kyle Busch
2018 fall - Kurt Busch
2018 spring - Kyle Busch
2017 fall - Kyle Busch
2017 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2016 fall - Kevin Harvick
2016 spring - Carl Edwards

Analyzing roster options for this week's race will be challenging for fantasy owners given nothing like this has really been done before. Looking to series regulars who have excelled on dirt in the past is a good strategy, but the unknowns pose significant risks.  The Cup Series practiced twice on Friday, before the four 15-lap qualifying heats on Saturday, which would have set the lineup for Sunday, were canceled. Point totals from those qualifying heats would have determined Sunday's starting position. Larson will start on pole due to the inclement weather rules. Sunday's race will feature three stages with noncompetitive pit stops where fuel and tires can only be added during stage breaks. None of the stages are longer than a fuel run, which means all the action will take place on the track and not necessarily through fuel strategy.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Kyle Larson - $12,000
Christopher Bell - $11,000
Tyler Reddick - $10,500
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $10,200

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Chase Briscoe - $9,900
Austin Dillon - $9,700
Stewart Friesen - $9,500
Ryan Blaney - $9,300

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kyle Busch - $8,900
Bubba Wallace - $8,500
Martin Truex Jr. - $8,000
Kurt Busch - $7,800

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Alex Bowman - $7,700
Chris Windom - $7,400
J.J. Yeley - $6,400
Cole Custer - $5,500

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Larson - $12,000
Chase Briscoe - $9,900
Kyle Busch - $8,900
Chris Windom - $7,400
J.J. Yeley - $6,400
Ross Chastain - $5,300

After an incredibly dominant run last week at Atlanta, Larson (DK $12,000, FD $14,000) will get a chance to race the field on a surface he knows well. He is an accomplished racer on the dirt and won more than 40 races on the surface last season while away from the series. Chase Briscoe (DK $9,900, FD $9,500) is another dirt specialist. He is hoping the switch in racing surfaces this week will kickstart his first season at NASCAR's highest level. Kyle Busch (DK $8,900, FD $12,000) is no stranger to racing on dirt either. He has eight Bristol wins, but not the extensive experience of Larson or Briscoe. He could still pull off a surprise considering how flexible he is, having won in just about every kind of machine and circuit there is. Dirt specialist Chris Windom (DK $7,400, FD $6,500) could be a bargain for fantasy players this week. He will be at the back of the field, starting 36th, but his dirt experience should enable him to move up through the order relatively quickly. Another driver with plenty of Cup and dirt experience is J.J. Yeley (DK $6,400, FD $2,500). He won the USAC Triple Crown in 2003, and those roots should serve him well on Sunday. Chip Ganassi Racing's Ross Chastain (DK $5,300, FD $4,500) has spent plenty of time driving a tractor on dirt while farming watermelons on his family farm, and he'll be hoping that experience can lend him some good fortune Sunday. He was in the top 20 in both of Friday's practice sessions.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Christopher Bell - $11,000
Austin Dillon - $9,700
Stewart Friesen - $9,500
Bubba Wallace - $8,500
Chris Buescher - $6,200
Daniel Suarez - $4,900

Christopher Bell (DK $11,000, FD $13,500) is arguably the second favorite for Sunday behind Larson. Bell is an accomplished dirt racer and is a USAC national midget champion and has a Truck Series win at Eldora. Bell will start 15th Sunday, which gives him a good chance at some additional points from finish differential, too. Austin Dillon (DK $9,700, FD $10,000) already won a race on Bristol's dirt surface. He won multiple Late Model races at the track and won the inaugural Truck Series race at Eldora, too. He is as prepared for Sunday as any driver in the field and will start ninth. Stewart Friesen (DK $9,500, FD $8,500) won the last time the trucks raced at Eldora. He will be making his series debut on Sunday, but has more than 330 dirt wins on his lengthy resume. Another Eldora winner, Bubba Wallace (DK $8,500, FD $9,200), will feel right at home this week. He didn't show a bunch of speed in Friday's practices but has the experience that should make a difference for him Sunday. Chris Buescher (DK $6,200, FD $4,200) was 12th in the first practice and was one of the drivers in the 604 Late Model Nationals at the track a week ago. He won on the surface in ARCA in 2011, too. Lastly, Daniel Suarez (DK $4,900, FD $4,000) has no dirt racing experience. He seems to learn quickly, though. He was 11th in final practice and will start 18th.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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