NASCAR returns to The Last Great Colosseum in Bristol, Tennessee for the second high-banked, half-mile race of the season. This time it’s at night and on concrete. As always, trust the data but also trust your eyes. Here are the best bets for the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol.
Chaos has entered the chat. Saturday night’s race is a playoff-cut race and it’s a night race at Bristol. That’s like adding hot sauce to hot sauce. Tempers flare and aggression boils over at the half-mile bullring. This race requires the combination of man and machine. Bristol does not produce fluke winners. A driver is good at Bristol or not. Stick to the stats.
Race Winner — Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol
Kyle Larson +550
It might seem like Kyle Larson is a NASCAR Best Bet every week. He is. At his best tracks, he’s a NASCAR Best Bet. Most of the tracks on the circuit are his best tracks. Most of the tracks are Hendrick’s best tracks. Don’t kick against the prick. Yung Money and Hendrick are the way.
In 100 races for Hendrick Motorsports, Larson has 16 wins. That’s special. And that doesn’t include exhibition wins. Never mind the dirt wins he piles up throughout the week. Normally, Larson’s dirt experience wouldn’t be relevant, but it matters at Bristol. This is a high-speed track that requires quick reactions and subtle line adjustments. It’s more of a dirt race than the Bristol Dirt Race.
Larson won at Bristol in 2021. He’s led 850 laps at this short track. The only track where Larson has led more laps is Dover — a steeply banked, concrete oval. Due to the short distance the comparison of laps led data is skewed. It’s not the perfect stat, but it does reveal a level of comfort at a track where comfort means a lot.
Kyle Busch +1200
Over the last 10 Bristol races, Kyle Larson leads all of the NASCAR Cup Series drivers with an average finish of 6.3. Denny Hamlin (+750) is second with an average finish of 10.3. Busch sits in sixth with an average finish of 12.3. Average is fine but wins pay. Busch leads the series with three wins over that span (not including his Bristol Dirt Race win).
The last time NASCAR deployed the 2023 short-track package was at Richmond. Busch started second and finished third. This Chevy should have speed on Saturday night. The car is a winner. The driver is a winner.
Race Winner — Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol
Ricky Stenhouse Jr +10,000
This one is a little out there. The initial reaction is to fade wild long shots. The secondary reaction is to lower expectations and either tease the bet or make a top-5 NASCAR bet rather than purchasing a win ticket. Do neither. It’s all or nothing.
Stenhouse is 22 points away from 12th place. It’s very unlikely that he scores enough points to leap from 15th to above the playoff cut line. He’s got to win and He’s got the green light to go for it.
If there was ever a track to turn Stenhouse loose, it’s Bristol. Aggression pays at this bull ring. Stenhouse can muscle his way up front and hang on. Chris Buescher (+1200) won the Bristol Night Race last season. Matt DiBenedetto — driving for little Leavine Family Racing — would have won the 2019 Bristol Night Race if it weren’t for notorious lapper Ryan Newman blocking DiBenedetto and allowing Denny Hamlin to steal the lead. Underdogs can win at Bristol.
Stenhouse has been terrible at Bristol over the last six races. He has finished outside of the top 20 in each race. Before this slump, Bristol was one of his best tracks. In his 11 races that preceded the nose dive, Stenhouse finished 21st or better in every race. He has six top-10 finishes and four top-5 finishes at Bristol. While Bristol has been a problem, Stenhouse has fared well at the other concrete tracks. He was the runner-up at Dover last season and finished sixth at Nashville in 2021.
Chase Elliott +1000
It’s time to jump back on the Elliott band wagon — the empty band wagon. Finally, Elliott returned to form last week at Kansas. It’s too late to make the playoffs, but it’s never too late to party in Victory Lane. Obviously, the timing could be better, but the schedule is solid.
Elliott is heating up and Bristol is one of his best tracks because it’s his best track type. He is the King of Concrete. Stock cars handle differently on concrete. There is a skill to racing on the unique surfaces of Dover, Bristol and Nashville. Elliott has mastered that skill. He has nine top-5 finishes and two wins (2022 and 2018) in 12 Cup Series races at Dover. Last season, he won at Nashville, and he finished fourth in the 2023 race despite a plethora of struggles this season. More importantly, he was the runner-up in the 2022 Bristol night race.
The Crown Is Yours: Sign up for DraftKings and experience the ultimate host for games and betting experiences!
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.