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NASCAR DFS: Food City 500 Picks

NASCAR heads back to Bristol for more short-track racing! And better yet, we don’t have to account for dirt. The randomness of a dirt race at Bristol is gone. It was kind of fun the first year. But even then, they were changing re-start rules during the race. Christopher Bell laid claim to his first win of the season last week at Phoenix. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like targeting a driver a week after they win, you could be mistaken. Bell, and the other JGR drivers, should thrive. As should Kyle Larson. Larson has dominated Bristol, especially in the NextGen era. We do have some extra notes to consider prior to building our lineups. Here are this week’s NASCAR DFS Food City 500 picks on DraftKings and FanDuel!

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Before we dissect qualifying we should at least acknowledge practice. It was… Odd. As excited as we are to not race on dirt, NASCAR laid down a new resin compound on Thursday. This is meant to help increase grip on the track, similar to PJ1, a compound they used in years past. The resin was meant to increase tire rubber being laid down on the track. In turn, that would increase grip. But unfortunately, there wasn’t enough track time for the drivers. They weren’t sure what groove to run. Martin Truex Jr. voiced his frustration with the bottom lane. I’m hoping this doesn’t ruin Sunday’s race. But when the drivers are saying they learned nothing during practice, it’s a little concerning.

Food City 500 Picks: The Top 10

  1. Ryan Blaney (#12 Team Penske)
  2. Josh Berry (#4 Stewart-Haas Racing)
  3. Denny Hamlin (#11 Joe Gibbs Racing)
  4. Joey Logano (#22 Team Penske)
  5. Chase Elliott (#9 Hendrick Motorsports)
  6. Chase Briscoe (#14 Stewart-Haas Racing)
  7. Michael McDowell (#34 Front Row Motorsports)
  8. William Byron (#24 Hendrick Motorsports)
  9. Bubba Wallace (#23 23XI Racing)
  10. Kyle Larson (#5 Hendrick Motorsports)

Ryan Blaney did lay down the fastest lap in practice. He also had the best 10-lap metric as well. So at least he won the pole on pure speed. He should have no trouble getting the jump on Josh Berry for the early lead. But we do have some secondary and tertiary dominators to consider. Denny Hamlin has a win on his resume at Bristol. Joey Logano was also fast in practice, similar to Blaney. We also have three Hendrick drivers in the top 10. Larson will be incredibly popular. He cracked the Food City 500 Preview earlier in the week. He’s been dominant here and can win from P10. Michael McDowell is also an intriguing play. He’s a good value play at $6,800 on both DraftKings and FanDuel. We just need him to hold on for a top 10 and he should be a low-owned Tournament play.

Which Value-Priced Food City 500 Picks Got A Points Movement Bump?


  • Alex Bowman – $7,500; Starting P29
  • Daniel Suarez – $7,000; Starting P28
  • Noah Gragson – $6,700; Starting P22
  • Ryan Preece – $5,900; Starting P25
  • Carson Hocevar – $5,800; Starting P35


  • Ross Chastain – $8,500; Starting P36
  • Alex Bowman – $7,500; Starting P29
  • Carson Hocevar – $6,500; Starting P35
  • Noah Gragson – $6,200; Starting P22
  • Daniel Suarez – $6,000; Starting P30
  • Ryan Preece – $4,500; Starting P25

There are some additional drivers in the value range that I just couldn’t list. I can’t include everyone in the article. So I stuck with the ones that stood out. Bowman and Suarez are in good enough equipment to move up and stay on the lead lap. The same can be said for Gragson and Preece. Preece was my preferred SHR value play in the Food City 500 Preview article. Hocevar is the kind of play that likely loses the lead lap. But he’s okay to punt this low if you absolutely need it. He is good enough, as is the equipment, to maybe do enough to move up 10 spots and finish 25th. He won’t break the slate but can do enough for Cash games to gradually move up throughout the race.

Which Higher-Priced Drivers Got A Similar Bump?

  • Chris Buescher – Starting P34
  • Brad Keselowski – Starting P17
  • Ty Gibbs – Starting P19 (FanDuel)
  • Tyler Reddick – Starting P23
  • Ross Chastain – Starting P36 (DraftKings)

Chris Buescher is a Cash game lock on both sites. He’s won here before in the NextGen car. So you might as well just lock him in and forget it. On DraftKings, you can easily plug him in with Chastain, although the Watermelon Man is easily a better value on FanDuel. The other three drivers are relatively trendy. Gibbs is working toward a win. Keselowski is coming off a top-five at Phoenix. And he has a great resume at Bristol. Reddick was arguably better racing on dirt at Bristol. But he is still part of a great organization and the Toyotas are coming off a strong week. These drivers will garner exposure, but one or two of them are due to bust.

Food City 500 Picks


  • Christopher Bell – $11,000; Starting P12
  • Ryan Blaney – $10,500; Starting P1
  • Ross Chastain – $8,500; Starting P36
  • Erik Jones – $7,200; Starting P15
  • Michael McDowell – $6,800; Starting P7
  • Ryan Preece – $5,900; Starting P25

I’ll be more than happy to enter this lineup into GPPs. We clearly have two dominators with Blaney and Bell. We’re counting on Blaney to get the early dominator points. Then we count on Bell to get them later on. Chastain is purely an easy grab for position differential points. Preece and McDowell have been discussed. Preece has sneaky top 10 upside. As does McDowell. The latter won’t carry much exposure in DFS contests. And that’s why I will take the risk playing McDowell in the hopes that he can finish right around where he starts. Jones is the one I was hung up on. We could’ve gone with Suarez. But he’ll carry more exposure because of his starting position. Jones is gifted a better spot. He has a chance to maintain track position early on. We just need him to avoid mistakes and gradually creep into the top 10.


  • Kyle Larson – $14,000; Starting P10
  • Ryan Blaney – $12,000; Starting P1
  • Ty Gibbs – $10,500; Starting P19
  • Ross Chastain – $8,500; Starting P36
  • Ryan Preece – $4,500; Starting P25

Initially, I ended up on a similar build to the DraftKings lineup above. That’s not very fun. So I took a different approach. We still go with Blaney, Chastain, and Preece for the same reasons above. There’s position differential to be had. And at a track like Bristol the laps-led points are more valuable on FanDuel as are the laps completed points. So we add in Larson and Gibbs. We get more win equity and a pair of drivers that can finish top five. That’s ultimately my goal when building lineups on FanDuel. I want to fit the winner into my lineup in addition to four other drivers that can finish in the top 10. I think we do just that with this build.

White Flag Thoughts Before You Go

When constructing your NASCAR DFS lineups with the Food City 500 picks, be mindful to not load up too much on drivers starting deep in the field. I’ve touched on it. But it’s worth repeating. Most of the cheaper drivers will lose the lead lap. Some of the more reliable drivers will as well. Some of my early lineups are only comprised of drivers starting in the top 25. But I feel okay about Ross Chastain and Chris Buescher moving themselves up through the field. For Tournaments, you want at least two dominator candidates. For some builds you may want to target three. Best of luck with Sunday’s race! Bristol produces some exciting racing. Hopefully, the resin doesn’t ruin the experience!

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