NASCAR Cup Series DFS Picks for Bristol – Saturday, September 18 (2021)
The Round of 16 concludes this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Three drivers have already punched their ticket to the Round of 12 and by the end of the night, nine drivers will join them.
When the Cup Series raced at Bristol earlier this year, it was on the dirt. This time, they’ll try their hand on the traditional 0.533-mile concrete layout.
Fans can watch the race live Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Last week, we hit it big with Martin Truex Jr. and Ross Chastain. Unfortunately, the rest of the lineup struggled. Let’s check out my optimal lineup for Bristol.
Kyle Larson ($11.3k)
Kyle Larson is almost always a good driver to put in your DFS lineup. The only downside to him is he usually starts on the pole. However, he makes up for it with his laps led and fastest laps.
These days, every track is good for Larson but Bristol is truly one of his best.
It’s surprising to see that he has just two top-five finishes in 12 career starts at Bristol. However, that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Check out his laps led in his last six Bristol races.
- 2017 Bristol 1: 202 laps led
- 2017: Bristol 2: 70 laps led
- 2018: Bristol 1: 200 laps led
- 2018 Bristol 2: 17 laps led
- 2019 Bristol 1: 0 laps led
- 2019 Bristol 2: 62 laps led
Larson probably would’ve won the first 2018 race but a late caution allowed Kyle Busch to catch up and pass him with under 10 laps to go.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that Larson enters this race with nothing to lose. He is already locked into the Round of 12.
He is ready to go for broke.
It’s kind of funny to say Larson is on a winless streak because he won six races ago at Watkins Glen, but there are high expectations when you finish top two 11 times in 28 races. It’s time for him to end that winless streak.
Starting fifth won’t help his gained positions but I expect him to lead over 100 laps on Saturday night.
Ryan Preece ($6k)
Ryan Preece is not someone you will see among the top contenders to win at Bristol. However, his recent Bristol success shows that he is likely to improve his starting position.
Let’s check out his four career starts at Bristol in the Cup Series.
|Event||Starting Position||Finishing Position|
|2019 Bristol 1||30th||25th|
|2019 Bristol 2||23th||18th|
|2020 Bristol 1||33rd||12th|
|2020 Bristol 2||22nd||9th|
Preece continues to improve his finishing position at Bristol.
Obviously, it gets tougher as you move up the leaderboard, so there’s no guarantee he finishes better than ninth on Saturday night. However, I think he easily outperforms his 29th place starting position.
That’s the big draw here because it’s very unlikely that he’ll lead any laps or have any fastest laps. For what it’s worth, he does have a pair of fastest laps in his career at Bristol. It’s not many but you never know how much of a difference that could make.
The Cup Series isn’t the only time Preece has had success at Bristol.
He won the first Bristol race in the Xfinity Series during the 2018 season. Preece led 39 laps, including the final 10 to capture his second career Xfinity Series victory.
Will he be able to duplicate that same success? Probably not but when it comes to place differential, Preece is your guy. It would surprise me if Preece struggled and finished outside the top 20.
Preece is definitely someone I want in all of my DFS lineups.
Chase Elliott ($10.5k)
Adding Ryan Preece to the lineup allowed us to add another big hitter. That’s where Chase Elliott comes in.
Before looking at the stats, I wouldn’t have considered Elliott for this lineup. I didn’t realize how much success he has had at Bristol until I saw his numbers.
Like Kyle Larson, Elliott has never won at Bristol but he has been close a few times.
In his very first start at Bristol in the Cup Series, Elliott started 19th and finished fourth. The results have been mixed since then but he knows how to lead laps here.
- 2018 Bristol 2: 112 laps led
- 2019 Bristol 1: 38 laps led
- 2019 Bristol 2: 33 laps led
- 2020 Bristol 1: 88 laps led
- 2020 Bristol 2: 23 laps led
That stretch includes a pair of top-five finishes.
Elliott isn’t completely safe from the cutline but he does have a 19-point advantage over 13th place. That means he can be a little riskier late in the race.
I guarantee Elliott is hungry after what happened last week at Richmond.
In the first two stages, Elliott and Hamlin frequently traded the lead. It was clear that Elliott had a car capable of winning the race. Unfortunately, a problem during a green flag pit stop killed his chances to win. He did recover to finish fourth.
Elliott rolls off the grid fourth on Saturday night. A big night could jumpstart a run to back-to-back titles.
Top NASCAR DFS Lineup for September 18
- Kyle Larson ($11.3k)
- Ryan Preece ($6k)
- Chase Elliott ($10.5k)
- Ross Chastain ($7.8k)
- Daniel Suarez ($6.6k)
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7.2k)
I like going with the heavy hitters in Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Both drivers should lead laps and compete for the win. Ryan Preece is someone I expect to severely outperform his starting position.
That leaves Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
How can you go against Chastain right now? With all the attention on the playoff drivers, Chastain has crashed the party.
He has earned the fourth most points over the last two races. That’s extremely impressive for a non-playoff driver.
Chastain has never raced in the Cup Series at Bristol in a competitive car, so his stats are misleading. He did lead 117 laps and finished second in his last Xfinity Series start at the track. He starts 17th Saturday night and has a great chance to score another top 10 finish.
Starting 21st, Suarez should run strong enough to score a top 15 finish.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s Bristol results are a bit of a mixed bag. He had four top-five finishes in his first 11 Bristol starts. However, he has crashed out of the last three races at the track.
Which version of Stenhouse will show up on Saturday night? Hopefully, the one that can finish better than his 23rd starting position.
Betting on the 2021 Bass Pro Shops Night Race
Last week, I nailed it by predicting Martin Truex Jr. as both the race winner and top option in my DFS lineup. This week, I’m going with Kyle Larson.
Larson has been running strong over the last few weeks and enters his favorite track with nothing to lose.
If you’d like a more in-depth analysis on the race winner Saturday night, be sure to check out these betting picks and predictions for the 2021 Bass Pro Night Race.