Bass Pro Shops Night Race -Analysis & Value Picks
Race: Bass Pro Shops Night Race
Date: Saturday September 16, 2023
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Time: 7:30 pm ET
What Did We Learn From Last Weekend?
Kansas sure proved to be an “enemigo,” as Daniel Suarez would say. Suarez’ day wasn’t a complete loss, but a 16th-place finish definitely isn’t where they want to continue to settle. They gambled late in the race by not pitting, which bit them in the butt. The team managed better than many, though. For Martin Truex Jr., it was a bad day from the beginning. A cut tire sent him into the wall only three laps in, ending his day almost before it even started. That puts him in a very precarious position. Bubba Wallace also suffered a similar fate after running in second place. It was definitely a heartbreaker for him to have to sit on pit road for more than 5 minutes while his crew rushed to repair the damaged tow link on the car. While they managed to fix it, it still left him with a 32nd-place finish. That just can’t happen in these playoff rounds. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Michael McDowell join Truex Jr. and Wallace below the cutoff line, with their 23rd and 26th place finishes, respectively.
Denny Hamlin had a very strong run, finishing second only to another Toyota. He actually looked like the car to beat before the late race caution caused by Chris Buescher. The yellow flag was all it took for Hamlin to lose it all. Reddick made a four tire stop while everyone else took 2. He was able to drop to the apron and power around everyone, going three wide in OT to win the race. It was a great day for the #45 of Tyler Reddick. Although his teammate suffered while cutting a tire running in 2nd, Reddick never let up and was able to come home victorious, securing his spot in the round of 12. Erik Jones was 3rd behind Hamlin for a fantastic finish for that team. Kyle Larson and Joey Logano rounded out the top 5 spots. Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Christopher Bell, Brad Keselowski, and Alex Bowman finished out the top 10 spots.
Where Are We Headed This Weekend?
With the season seemingly closing out quickly, we are headed to Bristol Motor Speedway to put a cap on the first round. The results of this race will give us the four driver that are going to be eliminated. And what a place to figure that mess out! Bristol isn’t as unpredictable as it used to be, but it definitely can still put a wrench in things. As mentioned above, McDowell, Stenhouse, Wallace, and Truex Jr. are desperately trying to gain enough points to stay in contention. Their best bet is obviously to win, but this track can prove a difficult place to do so. This concrete oval is 0.533 miles with 24 to 28 degrees of banking, 5-9 degrees through the frontstretch, and 4-8 through the backstretch. Bristol used to be a notorious short track and a tremendous amount of competition throughout the race. It’s similar to many of the short tracks now, though, with the recent repaves, newer cars, etc., with cars only being able to successfully run one line. Track position is going to be very important, and much like Kansas, we will likely see tires playing another large role. I don’t think that we’re going to see the same level of turmoil with the tires in terms of casualties, but it will definitely be a strategic factor in maintaining track position. For Reddick, it won him the race at Kansas.
Odds and Value Picks
Will Reddick be so lucky again this weekend? I’m not so sure about that. He’s still a bit green on this track compared to many of the other drivers. Bristol requires experience. Again, it’s not as unpredictable as it used to be. This is now a place where a driver is either good or he isn’t. There isn’t much middle ground. When it comes to picking a winner, there are a few drivers that really stick out. Kyle Larson is one of the top guns heading into the race this weekend. He’s a driver that is more of a wheelman than most anyone we’ve seen in recent history. He won here back in 2021 and has led a total of 850 laps over his career. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Other than Dover, this is where he’s led the most laps, and Dover is another high-banked short track. Other than Larson, there are a couple of other drivers that stand out. Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin are veterans with great records here. Busch has the personality, as does Hamlin, to make it through the race and move other drivers out of their way. That’s really what it takes, especially at a place where lap traffic is prominent and the laps tick off quickly. Let’s take a look at your potential winners heading into this weekend’s race with betting odds from Bovada Sportsbook:
- Winner: Kyle Busch +1100
- Mid-Range Pick: Ty Gibbs +4000
- Dark Horse: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. +10000
Ty Gibbs has a pretty impressive record for his first full season in the Cup season. He’s finished in the top 15 in 14 of the 28 races so far. He’s got 7 top-10 finishes, with Bristol being one of them. Although he’s not competing for the championship, he’s definitely trying to make a name for himself. This might be his weekend. Stenhouse Jr. used to be pretty good at Bristol. While he’s definitely nose-dived in the last few years at this track, this is his last shot at moving on to the next round and staying in contention for the championship. Bristol plays into ego and aggressiveness, both of which Stenhouse have a good grasp on. He will be chasing the ego of Kyle Busch, though, for the checkered flag. I think that Larson and Hamlin are definitely going to be strong contenders this weekend, but my gut tells me it’s going to be Busch at the front of the pack when it matters most. He doesn’t have to win to move on, but he’s looking to improve and looking for some momentum heading into the closing races. Currently sitting in the 7th spot, Busch is looking to capitalize to remain safe as these rounds dwindle down. Let’s take a look at where everyone stands heading into the final race of the first round:
- Kyle Larson
- Tyler Reddick
- Denny Hamlin
- William Byron
- Brad Keselowski
- Ryan Blaney
- Kyle Busch
- Ross Chastain
- Chris Buescher
- Christopher Bell
- Joey Logano
- Kevin Harvick
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Bubba Wallace
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Michael McDowell
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We all know that McDowell is likely dropped, but Stenhouse is 22 points outside the top 12, so he (along with Wallace and Truex Jr.) still have a shot to point their way in. It’s a long shot, but it’s possible. Harvick and Logano are going to start feeling the pressure if they haven’t already. These rounds move quickly. It’s hard to believe that we’re already getting ready to drop four drivers out of contention. Bristol will be a place of many decisions. Who is going to take the risk for the win? Will the bottom four risk it all? Will anyone in the top spots do that same? They really have nothing to lose. Bristol is going to be a place where many decisions are made, where the drivers and teams are stretched to the max to determine what the right decisions are. Who will come out on top? Stay tuned for a wild night of racing at Bristol as the drivers settle the spots for the upcoming round of 12!