Food City 500 fantasy picks   
 

By Taylor Goins
April 22, 2017

BRISTOL, Tenn.—Unfortunately for NASCAR fans, the best fantasy pick for this weekend’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway might be the rain. However, once the rain leaves East Tennessee, there will be 500 laps of short track racing at “The Last Great Colosseum.”

The best picks for the annual Bristol spring race should come as no surprise, as they are drivers who have been fast all year.

WINNING PICK

Chase Elliott
If you’re looking for a pick for the winner of the 2017 Food City 500, look no further than Chase Elliott.

The second-year driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet is still searching for his first career win, but he has shown a great deal of speed and consistency early in his career, as he currently sits at second place in the Cup points standings.

Elliott also has impressed in his two previous Bristol starts at NASCAR’s highest level, as he has an average finishing position of 9.5.

Even though two races is a small sample size, this still leads all active drivers. Elliott posted the fourth quickest time in Saturday’s final practice session, which is even more evidence to prove that this weekend has all the makings of a win for the No. 24 team.

TOP CONTENDERS

Kyle Busch
Busch is the most successful active driver at Bristol Motor Speedway, as he has won five times at the half-mile track in the past. Busch’s dominance at Bristol has slowed in recent years, but he still has speed, and he might have the most speed in the entire field this weekend.

Busch topped the speed charts for the second and third practice sessions and was second in the first. It would be no surprise if Busch brings home the No. 18 JGR Toyota in first place this weekend.

Kevin Harvick
Harvick has always been strong at Bristol, and this weekend he has continued that trend. Harvick is looking for his first win in a Ford for SHR and that may come on Sunday.

He posted the fourth quickest lap time in the second practice and the 7th quickest lap time in Saturday’s final practice. Plus, Harvick knows his way around the Tennessee track already: he is the defending champion of the fall Bristol race, winning in dominating fashion last August.  

SLEEPERS

Erik Jones
Jones is classified as a sleeper pick only because he is a rookie, because the first year driver has a tremendous amount of talent and is very close to coming into his own as a weekly contender in the Cup series.

Even though Jones has just one top-10 finish this season, he has been among the class of the field this weekend.

He finished first in the first practice session, second in the second practice and sixth in the final practice. This may be the weekend the Furniture Row Racing team and Jones put all the pieces together to nab his first career victory.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
When looking for picks to succeed at Bristol Motor Speedway, it is never a bad strategy to go with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The driver of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford is among NASCAR’s best at Bristol, posting an excellent career average of 10.63 at “The Last Great Colosseum.”

This career average is good for second best among active Cup drivers, and he nearly secured his first career victory at Bristol last August, finishing second to Kevin Harvick in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race.

Stenhouse has not been particularly fast this weekend, as he finished 30th in Saturday’s final practice session.  However, he posted a top-10 speed in the opening practice, and he would be a great value pick for any fantasy lineup.

DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. SOURCES Racing-Reference.info IMAGES Daniel Courson/The Racing Experts Jeremy Thompson/The Racing Experts Dante Ricci/The Racing Experts

Which driver will finish highest at Bristol Sunday?
No. 4 Kevin Harvick
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
No. 18 Kyle Busch
No. 24 Chase Elliott
No. 77 Erik Jones
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