The Setup – Food City 500 Race Preview
April 3, 2019
By Tyler Miller



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This week, NASCAR visits Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500, the first of two visits to Bristol for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Race Distance: 500 laps. Stage 1 ends on lap 125, Stage 2 ends on lap 250.
Lineup Lock 2 pm eastern Sunday
Last year’s winners – Kyle Busch (Spring) – Kurt Busch (Summer)
Last year’s pole sitters: Kyle Busch (Spring) – Kyle Larson (Summer)

Prior race winners: Spring, Summer

2017: Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch
2016: Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick
2015: Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano
2014: Carl Edwards, Joey Logano

Texas Recap:

What went right?

The cash lineup I gave (1, 48, 10, 18, 96) in Victory Lane scored 348 points on Fanduel. That lineup would have easily cashed in any single entry 50/50 contest.

The core drivers identified to build a lineup around, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch, scored 73.4 and 75.9 points on Fan Duel, 8th and 4th most points in the race.

The value plays worked out. Matt Tifft – 52.7 13.2x, Parker Kligerman – 50 14.3x, and to a lesser extent Bubba Wallace 44.7, 9.9x. None of these plays would have lost a cash game.

What went wrong?

Pivoting from Kyle Busch and Aric Almirola to Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney took me from a winning lineup of 348 points to a losing lineup of 271.9. I was apprehensive about paying the premium price for Kyle Busch when I didn’t think he had the car to win the race (which he didn’t), but Ryan Blaney’s engine failure and Joey Logano’s pit road penalty and collapsing hood took two race leading cars, and my lineup, out of contention.

What to watch for in practice/qualifying:

Expect the fastest cars in the field to qualify at the front. At Texas last week circumstances in qualifying had fast cars, notably Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer, starting deep in the field. That provided plenty of fantasy value in DFS, but I’d expect circumstances to be different at Bristol.

What will we see from Hendrick Motorsports? Jimmie Johnson was strong at Texas. Last year Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson scored top ten finishes in both Bristol races and Chase Elliott was third in the August night race. Keep an eye on the Hendrick cars during practice and qualifying, especially Bowman due to value potential in DFS.

What Vegas thinks (via Westgate):

Kyle Busch is the favorite to win on Sunday. Vegas apparently isn’t very concerned about the mechanical issues that struck Team Penske at Texas. Seeing Kyle Larson at 7-1 is somewhat surprising. Larson’s driver rating at Bristol is third best at 100.7 but he is coming into this race with finishes of 39, 18, and 12, at Texas, Martinsville, and Auto Club. I would need to see fast lap times in practice before I would consider playing Kyle Larson in DFS on Sunday.

Kyle Busch: 5-1
Kyle Larson: 7-1
Brad Keselowski: 8-1
Joey Logano: 8-1
Kevin Harvick: 12-1
Ryan Blaney: 12-1
Chase Elliott: 14-1
Kurt Busch: 14-1
Martin Truex Jr: 14-1
Clint Bowyer: 14-1
Denny Hamlin: 14-1
Erik Jones: 14-1
Aric Almirola: 20-1

Driver Ratings at Bristol:

1. Erik Jones 102.4
2. Kyle Busch 101.3
3. Kyle Larson 100.7
4. Kevin Harvick 96.9
5. Jimmie Johnson 93.7
6. Chase Elliott 92.2
7. Kurt Busch 91.1
8. Denny Hamlin 90.9
9. Joey Logano 89.3
10. Brad Keselowski 86.0
11. Ryan Newman 85.0
12. Ryan Blaney 84.7
13. Martin Truex Jr 81.9
14. Clint Bowyer 81.7
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr 81.0

Average Running Position at Bristol:

1. Erik Jones Craftsman 8.718
2. Kyle Larson 11.547
3. Kevin Harvick 11.864
4. Jimmie Johnson 12.711
5. Chase Elliott 12.834
6. Kyle Busch 13.315
7. Ryan Blaney 13.884
8. Kurt Busch 13.919
9. Denny Hamlin 14.377
10. Ryan Newman 14.825
11. Brad Keselowski 15.252
12. Joey Logano 15.767
13. Martin Truex Jr 16.162
14. Daniel Suarez 16.162
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr 16.305

2018 Spring top 10:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Kyle Larson
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
5. Alex Bowman
6. Aric Almirola
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Joey Logano
10. Ryan Newman

2018 Summer (Night Race) top 10

1. Kurt Busch
2. Kyle Larson
3. Chase Elliott
4. Joey Logano
5. Erik Jones
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Ryan Blaney
8. Alex Bowman
9. Jimmie Johnson
10. Kevin Harvick

Stay tuned for updated content following qualifying Friday at 6:10 pm eastern and final practice on Saturday at 11:05 am eastern.

Tyler Miller is a lifelong NASCAR enthusiast who spent five years as a producer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (2008-2013). Upon meeting his wife in Washington DC, Tyler became an Army spouse and left his career to move all over the country and help raise their two children. Tyler holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport Communication and Electronic Media Production from Ashland University and is currently pursuing a Masters’ of Science degree in Marketing: Sports Marketing and Media, from Liberty University.


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