We’re dirt racing at Bristol today!
Because of this specific discipline, we don’t have much past data to rely on, and we only had fifteen-lap heat races for current data. That means much of the NASCAR DFS community is going to rely on the eye test from the heat races, as well as who they perceive to be good dirt drivers to inform their decision making.
Dirt drivers will have plenty of upside and do make for solid plays, but in a wild and unpredictable format, we’ll want to find some pivots as well.
Before we jump into my picks, don’t forget all my NASCAR projections can be found in the NASCAR Models on FantasyLabs, complete with floor, ceiling, median, and ownership projections.
Let’s not skip the best part — my Perfect% metric — a metric that tells you how often certain racers appear in the optimal lineup when running 10,000 race simulations.
Here are my NASCAR DFS picks for Sunday’s Food City Dirt Race.
Bristol Dirt DraftKings DFS Cash Game Picks
Tyler Reddick ($10,700): Reddick is the guy I want in all formats this week because he has a ton of upside. He was on his way to the win last year before Chase Briscoe spun him in the last corner. Reddick also dominated at the road course at COTA. The reason I point that out isn’t because I’m using COTA as Bristol dirt analysis. I’m just saying that with his new team, 23XI Racing, he was dominant on a track type that he was dominant at last year with Richard Childress Racing.
That bodes well for him being dominant at another track type that suits him well: dirt.
Reddick was making hay in his heat race and likely would have passed Austin Dillon if there were more than 15 laps or if he was more aggressive in a race setting rather than a qualifying setting. I think Reddick has the car to beat today.
If you agree that Reddick is the car to beat, PrizePicks has set Reddick’s fantasy line at 59.5 points, which is one point short of Kyle Larson’s race-high line of 60.5
Daniel Suarez ($8100): Suarez led over 50 laps in both Bristol dirt races and now starts 34th of 37 cars. That means there’s a ton of place-differential potential for him, as a top-10 finish is a realistic expectation.
So while I love him in cash game formats, he does become an interesting underweight candidate in tournaments given how he struggled in his heat race.
Bristol Dirt DraftKings DFS Tournament Picks
Kyle Larson or Christopher Bell ($10,900 or $10,500): While it’s possible to use both in some multi-entry lineups, if you’re playing a limited amount of lineups I’d prefer picking one of these two to pair with Reddick.
Larson wasn’t super happy with his car after his heat race, in which he nearly got passed by Ryan Preece. He said they’d make some changes and expects to get better, but it’s not exactly the most inspiring endorsement of where he’s at. That said, he’s Kyle Larson, a legend on dirt.
Meanwhile, Christopher Bell is another dirt driver who should have a strong race. He was catching the duo of Austin Dillon and Reddick in the first heat, but it’s tough to say whether he was better than Reddick, as Reddick was held up by Dillon.
Either way, both of these guys are exceptional dirt racers and, with Reddick, are the race favorites for a reason.
Ryan Blaney ($9500): With all the talk about the dirt drivers like Reddick, Bell, Larson, Kyle Busch and Chase Briscoe, as well as Joey Logano’s dirt performance, Ryan Blaney is the man flying under the radar.
Blaney has two top-eight finishes in the two Bristol dirt races, and looked just fine in his heat race.
If we look at my model’s ratio of Perfect % / projected ownership %, Blaney comes out third in that metric, meaning he’s one of the most undervalued drivers in terms of projected usage compared to projected performance.
Justin Haley ($6900): Haley had a solid heat race, but thanks to his starting position it didn’t translate into much in the way of points, which relegates him to 25th in the order for the main event.
However, as Stephen Young and I talked about on the Running Hot podcast, Haley has been racing on dirt all year, and that experience should help him. He had a strong run here last year, finishing 14th and at times running even better than that.
A repeat performance at this price tag is more than enough to get into the optimal lineup.
Bristol Dirt DraftKings DFS Paul Menard PIck of the Week
Bubba Wallace ($7200) was quietly the best Toyota after Reddick and Bell in the heat races. He was able to maintain his first-place starting spot and hold off Kyle Busch. Meanwhile, teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. struggled to mid-pack or worse finishes in their heats.
Looking at the drivers in Bubba’s price range, we see five other drivers within $1100 more than him starting 26th or worse. On the other side, a couple drivers no more than $500 cheaper than him start 23rd or worse. In addition, there’s “buzz” guys like Austin Dillon and Ryan Preece that are directly above and below him in price.
I think Bubba is the sleeper in this price range. Remember, he has a win at Eldora in trucks several years ago, and while I don’t think that plays a major factor, adding that in with his performance so far this weekend keeps him in the conversation for a top-10 finish.