Food City Dirt Race: Best NASCAR DFS Cup Series Targets on DraftKings
The NASCAR and NASCAR DFS action at Bristol Motor Speedway is always intense. However, when you add dirt to the racing surface, then things really pick up. NASCAR started changing the racing surface to Tennesee red clay beginning last year in 2021. It was fun to watch, as Joey Logano surprised the racing world by leading 61 laps and winning the inaugural event at the world’s fastest half-mile oval.
NASCAR decided to bring the spring dirt race back for 2022 despite some fans and even a few drivers being outspoken about their thoughts when it comes to the Cup Series racing on dirt once again. Perhaps the most surprising opinion was given by defending series champion and routine regular to anything that that races on clay, Kyle Larson.
“The way I look at it is, if we’re not going to take the windshields out, then why are we racing on dirt,” – Kyle Larson via SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio.
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) April 13, 2022
As someone who personally grew up at the local dirt tracks in Michigan, I can see where Larson is coming from. At a traditional dirt track, the racing surface starts out wet and tacky, then gradually dries out as the race goes on. When Bristol Motor Speedway covers its concrete with sawdust, dirt, and clay — it produces a quality surface. The issue lies in exactly what Larson stated. NASCAR’s decision to not remove the windshields.
Because of this, they have to start the racing action in much drier conditions than at a standard dirt track. If they didn’t, the windshields would quickly become covered with the wet clay, making vision a very series issue as we saw when they went racing following rain prior to the green flag last year. A simple solution to this would be to run the Cup Series cars without windshields, and rather utilize a section of bars for driver safety and tear-offs on the helmets.
With all of that out of the way, we’re going to dive into the real reason that you are currently reading this — NASCAR DFS.
Top-5 Targets for the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway
Kyle Larson | #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet | $11,200
I’m going to be honest with you here, I was really torn on including Larson or Christopher Bell here. Both have early career racing ties to dirt track success and know how to get it done to get the win. I also really liked what I saw from Bell’s car in the heat races. In the end, I decided to stick with Larson, who really dialed his car in during practice, posting the fastest 20 and 25-lap averages.
He is the highest-priced driver at north of $11k and starts fifth for tonight’s feature race, but lock him in for cash and GPPs. Hopefully, he and Bell don’t have a repeat of 2021 when they were both taken out in the same wreck following Bell spinning.
Tyler Reddick | #8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet | $9,200
My logic for tacking Richard Childress Racing driver Tyler Reddick is simple.
- His ability to run the high line and find traction will be imperative for the race.
- His car was stupid fast and looked great in practice.
Reddick will be a force to be reckoned with on Sunday night and is my pick to win. He’s great for both cash and tournaments as well and starts third.
Denny Hamlin | #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota | $8,700
I’ll start my third driver with this: It is a GPP play only for me.
Hamlin finished last year’s Bristol dirt race p.2 and looked to have a fast car in practice this year. Addmittedly, it lacked the long-run speed that I traditionally look for, but due to the fact that he is rolling off the grid from the 34th position, we cannot pass up the opportunity for those valuable position differential bonus points in NASCAR DFS.
Hopefully, he can avoid trouble, stay on the lead lap, and make his way into the top-15 where he managed to run 100% of the 2021 event.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr | #47 JTG-Daugherty Chevrolet | $7,700
Ricky Stenhouse Jr began his racing career in karts, before moving on to 360 winged sprint cars and then eventually USAC. Basically, he knows his way around a dirt track and it showed last year. RSJ ran 85.4% of the 2021 race inside the top 15 and had more quality passes than any other driver in the race with 39 total.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. gives his thoughts on the Bristol dirt surface from what he has seen prior to practice. pic.twitter.com/Ii1zgMDt9a
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) April 15, 2022
He starts today’s race in 16th, and I have a good feeling that he will run a majority of the laps inside the front half of the field once again this year. His price is very fair at $7,700. I like him for both cash and tournament roster builds.
Ty Dillon | #42 Petty-GMS Chevrolet | $6,200
I just realized that we’re going hard on Chevy’s this week. Something we’ve been going hard on for all of 2022 is rostering Ty Dillon in NASCAR DFS. It is for good reason, however. When doing our builds, we always need to find a salary relief driver. Dillon continues to be our guy here, as he has finished four of the previous five races inside the top-17, with the fifth race being a 20th.
He was fast in his heat race and deservedly ended up winning in, unlike the results for the season-opening Busch Light Clash where his victory in his heat race was revoked. Because he won his heat, he will start Sunday night’s event from p.7 — and yes, it worries me. With that said, I am going to stick with the younger Dillon brother and cross my fingers for a top-10 on the Bristol dirt.
Good luck on Sunday night! Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @Nate_FFL and @TeamRiseOrFall for continued NASCAR DFS coverage and advice, as well as any late-breaking news prior to the green flag at Bristol. Also, be sure to check out all the other great NASCAR DFS content at TeamRiseOrFall.com, and Happy Easter!