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

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Is Bristol Motor Speedway a wild card?

An argument can be made either way with one driver exemplifying both.

Kyle Busch is arguably the best driver to ever compete at Bristol. In 2010 and 2011, he scored five consecutive wins in NASCAR’s three national series. Last August, he swept Bristol again – winning the Truck, Xfinity and Cup races. He won this spring’s Food City 500 and enters this weekend with back-to-back victories in Cup.

But he doesn’t have one of the 10 best average finishes during the past three years because he was involved in three consecutive accidents in 2016-17 – finishing 35th or worse each time.

Bristol is a rhythm track. That is one of the reasons Busch is so great, but the opposite side of that coin is that when a driver loses his rhythm, it can be difficult to get back.

NASCAR’s parity among most teams – prior to this season’s dominance of the Big 3 – has kept all but four drivers from accumulating a three-year average of better than 10th and that could make setting this week’s NASCAR America Fantasy Live roster a little tricky.

1. Kevin Harvick (three-year average: 5.20)
Bristol has not always been one of Harvick’s better tracks. After getting off to a strong start in the early 2000s, he struggled through 13 races from 2009 through 2015 with only a single top 10. He finished second to Joey Logano in the 2015 night race and has not been outside the top 10 since.

2. Jimmie Johnson (three-year average: 9.00)
While this team fought to find the right setup on most tracks this spring, Johnson scored a solid third-place finish at Bristol. Except for one poor showing in spring 2016, he has finished 11th or better since the 2014 night race including a victory in the 2017 Food City 500.

2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (three-year average: 9.00)
Bristol may be Stenhouse’s final opportunity to score a victory and lock the No. 17 team in the playoffs. He has not yet won on the half-mile bullring, but has a pair of second-place finishes in 2014 and 2016 to indicate he is capable of doing so if the strategy plays out just right.

4. Joey Logano (three-year average: 9.40)
With a six-race streak of results 13th or better, Logano has been one of the most consistent drivers at Bristol in recent years. Only two of these were top-fives, but one earned maximum points when he won the 2015 night race. He won that same event in 2014, which suggests he has a great setup under the lights.

5. Denny Hamlin (three-year average: 10.00)
If one had to venture a guess, it would be that Hamlin will finish third this weekend. That is where he’s finished in each of the last three years during the August race, so the 14th earned by the No. 11 this spring at Bristol is less predictive than it otherwise might be.

6. Trevor Bayne (three-year average: 11.80)
Bayne is anything but a safe choice this week, but for fantasy NASCAR players who need to take a big risk, he could be the best differentiator. Entering this spring’s Food City 500, he had a four-race streak of results 12th or better. He was involved in a crash this spring and finished five laps off the pace in 24th, so he’s going to need a little luck this weekend.

7. Jamie McMurray (three-year average: 12.80)
McMurray will not be a good choice for this week’s Fantasy Live game, but he is a great utility driver in other games. In the last eight Bristol races, his best finish was an eighth, but before this spring, he had a perfect record of top-15s. He missed that mark in the Food City 500, but still finished in the middle of the pack with a 19th. He won’t earn maximum points, but he’s not going to cost a lot either.

8. Ryan Newman (three-year average: 13.40)
Newman is another great dark horse pick. He is not going to get a lot of attention before the race begins and is unlikely to get a top five, but the odds are in his favor that a top 10 is in the offing. In the last 18 races at Bristol, he has finished in the top 10 in 55.6 percent of the races and earned a top 15 72.2 percent of the time.

9. Clint Bowyer (three-year average: 13.60)
Bowyer has been stronger in the spring than fall in recent years. His last three attempts in that race ended in top 10s, while his August races under the lights have netted only one top 10 in the past five years. His overall average since 2011 has been 11.3 with only three results outside the top 15 in 13 races, so he should be on fantasy owners’ radar screens when practice begins.

10. Chase Elliott (three-year average: 14.60)
Elliott deserves attention less for his Bristol record than the recent momentum he brings to the weekend. In five starts on the bullring, he has only one top five and another top 10. Meanwhile, his last two attempts have ended in results outside the top 15. He has momentum on his side, however, with a four-race, top-10 streak to his credit that includes his first Cup win at Watkins Glen two weeks ago.

Bonus Picks

Pole Winner: Joe Gibbs Racing or an affiliated driver has won the last six Bristol races for which time trials were run. Kyle Larson took the top spot in spring 2017 based on NASCAR’s rule book. JGR’s strength is a good indication that they will lead the field to green again this weekend. Busch has the advantage. If he shows speed in practice, last summer’s pole winner Erik Jones is also a good choice.

Segment Winners: In three races at Bristol since the advent of segment points, Brad Keselowski is the only driver to win a stage more than once. He swept the segments this spring. Those were the only times that Keselowski finished among the top 10 at the end of a segment, however, so it is difficult to make him a top choice to sweep the stages again this week. Larson and Johnson are the only drivers to score points in all six stages. The Gibbs’ guys Busch (earning points in 4 stages) and Jones (5) are not far behind and they have a lot more momentum on their side this week.

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

Sioux Chief to sponsor ARCA Showdown, East Series to race at Nashville Fairgrounds

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ARCA announced Saturday that Sioux Chief Manufacturing will be the entitlement sponsor of its 10-race ARCA Menards Series Showdown in 2020.

Sioux Chief Manufacturing is a Missouri company that designs and manufactures rough plumbing products, parts, and accessories for residential, commercial, industrial and government applications

Sioux Chief has been involved in ARCA since 2015 as a race event sponsor and special awards program sponsor and sponsored ARCA’s former Short Track Challenge.

As part of the deal, a newly increased point fund, combined with race purses, owner plan, and contingency awards, will offer teams a chance to compete for a share of over $920,000 in posted awards throughout the series.

The Sioux Chief Showdown will bring together the best drivers from the ARCA Menards Series, the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West, formerly known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Those events, held on oval tracks 1.25-miles in length and under and road courses, offer drivers who may not be able or eligible to run the full 20-race ARCA Menards Series schedule the opportunity to run for a championship. Combined with the overall ARCA Menards Series championship, and the East and West championships, drivers will have four separate championships to compete for in 2020.

The announcement was made at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis. Also present was promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises, who announced that the ARCA Menards Series East would compete at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on May 2.

The Tennessean reported this week that the Nashville Fairgrounds was negotiating with Sargent to promote at least three races at the short track in 2020. Sargent’s involvement in the track comes after Nashville’s Fair Board voted to terminate its agreement with Formosa Productions to run the track over outstanding debt.

The ARCA Menards Series has competed at the Fairgrounds the last five seasons. The ARCA Menards Series East, formerly known as the K&N Pro Series East, competed there from 2007-08.

GMS Racing reveals full-time driver-crew chief lineup, number assignments

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GMS Racing has announced its full-time driver-crew chief lineup for the 2020 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season and number assignments for its trucks:

– Chad Norris has been named crew chief for Brett Moffitt and the No. 23 Chevrolet team. Moffitt drove the No. 24 in his first season with the team. Norris has been with GMS Racing for two years and directed the effort that delivered the team its 2018 Xfinity Series win at Talladega.

– Chad Walter will lead Tyler Ankrum and the No. 26 team. 2020 will be Ankrum’s first season with GMS Racing. Walter served as an engineer for Ankrum this season at DGR-Crosley. Walter has five wins and 42 top fives in 208 Xfinity Series starts as crew chief.

– Kevin “Bono” Manion is paired with Zane Smith on the No. 21 Chevrolet. 2020 will be Smith’s first full-time Trucks season after competing part-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. Manion has 24 wins as crew chief across all three national series since 2003. He led Martin Truex Jr. to his two Xfinity Series titles.

– Jeff Stankiewicz will remain as the crew chief for the No. 2 team piloted by Sheldon Creed.

Social Roundup: How NASCAR drivers are spending their offseason

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NASCAR’s Champion’s week is now behind us and we are firmly in the offseason.

Well, sort of.

The NASCAR world never really stops, which is evident simply due to the continued announcements for the 2020 season.

But with Joey Logano testing the Next Gen car at Phoenix earlier this week and Dale Earnhardt Jr. helping clean up North Wilkesboro Speedway for iRacing, it’s been anything but quiet.

Here’s a look at what else happened in the NASCAR community this week.

Someone needs to check in on Jimmie Johnson, he could be in his own version of Mr. Mom.

Chris Buescher is home again.

The 2015 Xfinity Series champion is back at Roush Fenway Racing for the 2020 Cup season and he’s got the firesuits and cars to prove it.

Brad Keselowski recently became father to a second daughter.

He’s now learning some important life lessons.

Former Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft is now off the market after getting married to his fiance, Jordan. Now they’re on their honeymoon.

 

Matt DiBenedetto showed off one of the perks of being a Wood Brothers Racing employee.

Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace went somewhere warm to start their holiday.

Joey and Caitlin Gase welcome twin sons

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Xfinity Series driver Joey Gase and his wife Caitlin are now parents to twin boys

The babies were born on Wednesday. Their names are Jace and Carson.

More: Brad and Paige Keselowski welcome second daughter