Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Odds & Picks
Race: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
Date: Saturday August 17, 2019
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Time: 7:30pm ET
What Did We Learn From Last Weekend?
Kevin Harvick knows what’s up! He managed to snag the win this weekend at Michigan for the second year in a row. This is actually his second win of the season and his 47th career win. He’s in no danger of not making the playoffs this year, but overall, his performance hasn’t been what we’re used to seeing. Harvick mentioned that he thinks his team is peaking at the right time. He definitely made a few fans nervous, but he seems to be picking up some momentum now that we’re closing out the regular season. He will have some work to do in the playoffs, but if continues to perform at this level, he might just walk away with another championship.
Harvick really was the class of the field at the end of the race. He finished well over a second ahead of Denny Hamlin. The biggest gap, though, was Kyle Larson finishing 3rd, nearly a whopping 16 seconds behind Harvick. Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five. Perhaps the most disappointing finish came from Brad Keselowski, who finished 19th after starting on the pole. He’s always wanted to win here being that this is what he considers his home track. He will have to wait until next year for another opportunity, though. Another driver with some frustration is Jimmie Johnson, who finished 34th after making contact with the wall on lap 15, damaging his right rear quarter panel. The only grace he got was when Clint Bowyer suffered catastrophic damage, ending his race after contact with Paul Menard. Bowyer ended his race in 37th spot. That almost bumped him from his 16th spot in the playoffs. There are a lot of drivers sitting on the bubble, so I imagine that competition will be fierce moving forward.
Where Are We Headed This Weekend?
Moving forward, we are headed to Bristol, where it is inevitable that tempers will flare. Short track racing tends to bring out the worst in drivers, especially this close to the end of the regular season. The drivers often get stuck in lap traffic as well, making things a touch more complicated. Bristol, especially since repaving, has been much more forgiving than some of the other short tracks, but that’s not to say that there still won’t be some serious competition. I think that we will still see plenty of cautions, dented fenders, and tire rubs throughout the race. Bristol is a 0.533-mile concrete oval with variable banking in the turns from 26 to 30 degrees and also variable degree banking on the straights from 6-10 degrees. Bristol is a track that tends to fight hard against tires. Concrete also plays a role in that because it wears differently than asphalt does. Tires will likely be the biggest battle for the teams this weekend, but pit strategy is also important as these guys will likely be working on one of two strategies. We’re looking at 4 tires or 2 tires. Fuel probably won’t be as big of an issue as we will see more pit stops than we do on the intermediate tracks. This will give the drivers more frequent opportunities to stop for fuel, as we won’t have as many long green flag runs.
When it comes to picking a winner here, it’s almost a no-brainer. With Kyle Busch winning 3 or the last 4 races here, he’s bound to have another successful night. At 5-2 odds, he’s very clearly the favorite as well. He’s done very well over the last few weeks, and although victory lane has eluded him, he’s been competitive and strong each and every race. There are going to be a lot of drivers fighting Kyle, though. We have our typical drivers like Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. that are going to give him a run for his money, but I think that Busch will prevail. He’s got nothing to lose and everything to gain in terms of where he stands in the points. Jimmie Johnson is not in the same boat, however, and will have to decide to be cautiously aggressive if he intends to make himself a contender. Johnson has a very good Bristol record, and this may be the best opportunity he has at a win this season. He’s had a total of 8 top 10 finishes in his last 10 races at this track, and with his playoff spot in danger right now, I think that we’re going to see Johnson really fighting this weekend. If the team can get him setup well, I believe that Jimmie will be racing up front for a good portion of the race. Let’s take a look at your potential winners heading into Bristol:
Favorite: Kyle Busch (5-2)
Middle of the Road: Clint Bowyer (20-1)
Dark Horse: Kyle Larson (8-1)
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Larson is coming off a third place finish at MIS. The team has been more consistent as of late, so I expect that trend to continue. I also anticipate a solid finish with him having 2 runner up finishes here in both races last year. Larson is going to be one to watch. Another driver to keep your eyes on is Clint Bowyer. With 20-1 odds, Bowyer is far from the favorite, but he’s got success on the short tracks, and he will be a good payout if things work in his favorite. I would definitely put some money on Bowyer being strong this weekend. After being a target of misfortune at MIS, Bowyer is looking to bounce back. He has accrued a total of 6 top 10 finishes in his last 8 starts here. He’s got to do something to either get that win or have a really strong finish if he plans on being in the playoffs this year. MIS wasn’t kind to him with regards to the points standings. Let’s take a look at where all of the drivers are at after the race at Michigan.
Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Odds
- Kyle Busch (5-2)
- Joey Logano (7-1)
- Kevin Harvick (7-1)
- Denny Hamlin (12-1)
- Martin Truex Jr. (8-1)
- Brad Keselowski (12-1)
- Chase Elliott (20-1)
- Kurt Busch (20-1)
- Ryan Blaney (18-1)
- Alex Bowman (40-1)
- Aric Almirola (30-1)
- William Byron (50-1)
- Kyle Larson (8-1)
- Erik Jones (20-1)
- Ryan Newman (100-1)
- Clint Bowyer (20-1)
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Jimmie Johnson actually fell to 18th in the points after last weekend. He’s got a lot of work to do. The drivers are sure to be beatin’ and bangin’ throughout the night. With this being a night race, we will also see lower temperatures, which bring higher speeds. The night races tend to also bring a little more excitement with them as well. Stay tuned for a great Saturday night of short track racing at Bristol Motor Speedway!