2023 Bass Pro Shops Night Race Preview and Picks

2023 Bass Pro Shops Night Race Preview and Picks

Jay Horne
Date: September 16, 7:30 pm
Location: Bristol Motor Speedway

Betting Odds

Date: Saturday September 16th, 2023
Location: Bristol Motor Speedway


The opening round of the NASCAR playoffs will conclude inside The Last Great Colosseum this Saturday with the running of the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Despite winning the regular season crown, one of the overall favorites going into the playoffs by way of Martin Truex Jr. is among those drivers that are currently under the cutline and in jeopardy of not advancing in the playoffs. In fact, the points battle for the cutoff position for the Round of 12 is razor-thin and will provide an intriguing storyline throughout Saturday night’s race at the half-mile bullring known as Bristol.


For bettors, Bristol Motor Speedway has often been a difficult track to handicap. On the one hand, there are certain drivers that clearly excel at Bristol Motor Speedway, which favors those drivers with excellent car control. On the other hand, track position is extremely important at Bristol, and this race can often be altered from performance on pit road or simply by avoiding mistakes throughout the night. Last year, Chris Buescher delivered one of the biggest upsets at Bristol in recent memory, and Buescher is among the hottest drivers in the Cup Series with three wins in the last two months. Perhaps another surprise winner could emerge this Saturday, but something tells me we should look at the recent performances at Bristol to decide where the sharp money should be placed.

Bristol Motor Speedway: Fast Facts

  • Kyle Busch leads all active drivers with eight career wins at Bristol.
  • Kevin Harvick (3), Brad Keselowski (3), Denny Hamlin (2), Joey Logano (2), Kyle Larson, and Chris Buescher are also former winners at Bristol.
  • Chase Elliott has the best average finishing position (12.3) among all active drivers through 12 career starts at Bristol.
  • Kyle Larson has produced an incredible 126.3 driver rating over the last three starts at Bristol, which is by far the best among all drivers.
  • Kevin Harvick has finished 3rd or better in 3 of his last four starts at Bristol while sporting an impressive 120.6 average rating during those events, the 2nd best mark behind Larson.
  • Kyle Busch has three wins in his last nine starts at Bristol.
  • William Byron has finished 3rd in each of his last two starts at Bristol, which are the only two races at Bristol in the Next Gen Car.
  • Ford drivers have won 3 of the last four races at Bristol.
  • There have been a minimum of 8 cautions in 18 of the last 19 races at Bristol.

In analyzing recent performances at Bristol, Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick clearly stand out among the competition, even with the transition to the Next Gen Car. Despite just recently (2021) getting his first win at Bristol, Larson has been a frontrunner in most of his starts and has two additional runner-up finishes in his last six starts. Meanwhile, Kevin Harvick deserves some dark horse consideration this week as well. Harvick is completing the last stretch of his farewell tour in the Cup Series and is winless on the year. Honestly, Harvick has not shown the speed that we have expected from his name brand this year, but he has also been at his best at the shorter tracks. If there is a place where Harvick could turn back the hands in time, Bristol could be that place.

The good thing about Bristol is the fact that track position will be extremely important this week and could make the difference in the overall outcome. Therefore, bettors should explore betting on a couple of dark horses this week that yield sufficient ROI. A few good options in the dark horse category include teammates Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski, who have both been performing at an extremely high level in recent weeks. Both drivers have incredible talent, and the improvements from the RFK organization have been producing strong results. Don’t be surprised if Buescher is in the hunt again this week, and also the same for team owner Keselowski. Buescher and Keselowski can be targeted with confidence in all betting formats.

Check out my picks below, and for more NASCAR betting advice visit NASCARWagers.com 

Jay's Picks

Betting Odds courtesy of Bovada

Favorite: Kyle Larson +600
Dark Horse: Kevin Harvick +2000

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