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NASCAR America Fantasy League: 10 Best at Bristol in last three years

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There are a lot of wild card races on the calendar each year. All four races on the restrictor-plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega), as well as the three road courses come immediately to mind. But what happens when a race on one of the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks goes so horribly awry as it did last week?

Fantasy players simply have to pick themselves up and wash the dust from their feet – just like all the drivers involved in last week’s carnage.

An unfortunate pairing on the schedule puts Bristol Motor Speedway next in line, however. This half-mile bullring where cars circle in 15 seconds is often a chaotic mess. Little mistakes are compounded by how quickly drivers can lose laps and accidents can clog up the straightaways to create multi-car pileups.

As a result, streaks are hard to come by and only two of this week’s 10-best drivers over the past three years have average finishes better than 10th. They are the ones to watch closely in practice and qualification, but be prepared to make last minute adjustments on race day.

Players who have not already joined the NASCAR America Fantasy league can still do so at nascar.com/nbcsportsfantasy, and then share their team using #NASCARAmericaFantasy.

1. Jimmie Johnson, (three-year average: 8.00)
Is this the week Johnson finally breaks his career-worst winless streak? Probably not, given how many things can go wrong at Bristol, but he won last spring’s Food City 500 and finished second in the 2015 edition.

2. Erik Jones (9.50 in two starts)
Jones has only two starts at Bristol so it is much too soon to make any sweeping judgements. His near-miss and second-place finish last fall makes him a great garage pick in the NASCAR America Fantasy Live league, however.

3. Kevin Harvick (9.83)
Entering the fall 2015 race, Harvick had not earned a top 10 at Bristol in eight races. He was second in that event and has not finished worse than eighth in five races since.

4. Denny Hamlin (10.83)
With three consecutive third-place finishes, Hamlin is much better in the fall at Bristol than the spring. In his last three Food City 500 efforts, he has only one top 10 and an average of 18.7.

5. Chase Elliott (11.00 in four starts; tied with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.)
After getting penalized 20 points for an infraction at Texas, Elliott is going to want to make it up this week. Bristol is not the track one wants to come with something to prove.

6. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (11.00; tied with Elliott)
In fantasy racing, predictability makes a driver’s stats more meaningful. Stenhouse has finished worse than 16th only twice in his 10-race career at Bristol and came close to winning twice with runner-up finishes.

7. Jamie McMurray (11.67)
Several drivers had season-best results last week at Texas, but McMurray may have had the most dramatic run with his third-place finish. At Bristol, he has a seven-race streak of top 15s.

8. Ryan Newman (12.00)
With the exception of crash damage that caused him to finish more than 20 laps off the pace in fall 2016, Newman has finished in the top 15 at Bristol in the past three years.

9. Clint Bowyer (12.83)
Bowyer has been getting progressively better in the spring race with a 12th in 2015, an eighth in 2016 and his runner-up finish to Johnson last year.

10. Trevor Bayne (13.00)
Like his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Stenhouse, Bayne has been one of the best dark horses in the field whenever NASCAR comes to Bristol. In six career starts there, he has five top 15s and a best of fifth in the 2016 Food City 500.

Bonus Picks

Pole Winner: Denny Hamlin has four front row starts at Bristol. Three of these were poles with the most recent coming in 2015. That makes him a front runner for the top spot.

Segment Winners: Bristol is hard to handicap. That is not only true at the end of the race, but during the segments as well. Last year, four different drivers won the four segments, but going back two years, Kyle Busch has been at the front most often at those critical junctures. He should be the pick for segment two. For segment one, pick a front row starter after qualification is in the books.

For more Fantasy NASCAR coverage, check out Rotoworld.com and follow Dan Beaver (@FantasyRace) on Twitter.

Xfinity race results, point standings after Bristol

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Chase Briscoe led the final six laps and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol for his seventh win of the season.

Briscoe beat Ross Chastain for the win. The top five was completed by Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for the race results.

Playoff standings

The 12-driver field for the playoffs has been set with Briscoe’s win in the regular-season finale.

Brandon Brown placed 12th and clinched the 12th and final spot.

Here are the re-seeded point standings entering the playoffs.

Chase Briscoe – 2,050 points

Austin Cindric – 2,050

Justin Allgaier – 2,033

Noah Gragson – 2,025

Brandon Jones – 2,020

Justin Haley – 2,018

Harrison Burton – 2,014

Ross Chastain – 2,010

Ryan Sieg – 2,002

Michael Annett – 2,002

Riley Herbst – 2,001

Brandon Brown – 2,000

Click here for the re-seeded standings.

Click here for the normal point standings.

Chase Briscoe wins Xfinity race at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Chase Briscoe took the lead with six laps to go and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which marked the end of the regular season.

Briscoe passed Austin Cindric to assume the lead and went unchallenged to the checkered flag. The victory is his series-leading seventh of the season.

“I was so mad after last week (at Richmond),” Briscoe told NBCSN. “I told all the guys there ain’t no way we’re getting beat today. I was so mad after how we ran last week and I get on the internet all the time and see guys count us out after one bad race and I know what this team is capable. … I finished second here the last two races and I wanted to win here so bad and it’s awesome that I can actually celebrate it with all these race fans.”

The top five was completed by Ross Chastain, Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

More: Race results, playoff standings

Allgaier dominated the early portion of the race, leading 126 laps and winning the first two stages. But he lost the lead for good in the pits during the Stage 2 break.

Brandon Brown finished 12th and clinched the 12th and final playoff spot.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Ross Chastain led three times for 117 laps, but had to settle for his fifth runner-up finish of the season without a win … Austin Cindric earned his 13th top-10 finish in the last 14 races … Harrison Burton earned his 13th top five of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Brett Moffitt finished 27th after he had to pit three times in the opening laps and was penalized for taking fuel before the competition caution … BJ McLeod finished 34th after he was eliminated in a multi-car wreck that began when he made contact with teammate Jeffrey EarnhardtMichael Annett finished 31st and Joe Graf Jr. placed 27th after they were involved in an incident on Lap 120.

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “I hit pit road and I wanted to cry.” – Ross Chastain after he finished second for the fifth time this year. He is winless entering the playoffs.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Xfinity playoffs open at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 26 on NBCSN.

 

Fans not allowed at Las Vegas races

Fans not allowed
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Spectators will be not be allowed for any of the NASCAR playoff races next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the track announced Friday night.

A press release said only essential personnel will be allowed to attend the Cup, Xfinity and Truck playoff races there.

“To say we’re disappointed that we will conduct the South Point 400 playoff weekend without fans would be a gross understatement,” said Las Vegas Motor Speedway President Chris Powell. “Our staff has been working – many of them remotely – since the February Pennzoil 400 to prepare the speedway for our playoff tripleheader.

“But we must adhere to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directive that limits gatherings due to COVID-19.  While we disagree with this policy, we have no choice but to oblige.  We certainly regret this situation for the thousands of race fans who won’t be able to attend our NASCAR-weekend events.”

Nevada’s re-opening plan does not permit fans at sporting events, concerts. Groups are limited to 50 or fewer people.

The Las Vegas Raiders announced last month that they would not have fans at any of the team’s home games in its inaugural season there.

The Truck playoff race will be at 9 p.m. ET Sept. 25 on FS1. The Xfinity playoff opener will be at  7:30 p.m. ET Sept. 26 on NBCSN. The Cup playoff race will be 7 p.m. ET Sept. 27 on NBCSN.

Fans holding tickets for those events will be contacted by the speedway ticket services department to discuss credits for future races or refunds.

Pit crew change for Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson teams

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Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson each will have a pit crew change for Saturday night’s playoff race at Bristol.

The change is the result of an injury to one pit crew member.

Dustin Lineback, jackman for Bowman’s team is out with an injury, the team stated. Kyle Tudor, who has been Johnson’s jackman, moves over to that role for Bowman’s team. Eric Ludwig, a backup for Hendrick Motorsports, moves up to be the jackman for Johnson.

MORE: Saturday Cup race at Bristol: Start time, forecast, lineup

Bowman enters the elimination race 27 points ahead of teammate William Byron, the first driver outside a transfer spot to the second round. Bowman opened the playoffs by finishing sixth in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. He followed that by placing ninth at Richmond. Bowman was collected in a crash and finished 37th in the May Bristol race.

Johnson, who is in his final full-time Cup season, seeks his first victory of the season. He finished third at Bristol in May.