The NASCAR playoffs are rolling on, with the Round of 16's finale taking place under the bright Saturday night lights at Bristol Motor Speedway — the Bass Pro Shops Night Race.
Kyle Larson continues to lead the NASCAR Cup Series odds, as he does for Saturday's race. Having already bagged a postseason victory, will he allow another driver to sneak into Victory Lane?
Find out as we break down the field's Bass Pro Shops Night Race odds, and unwrap our best betting picks for this September 16 event.
Odds to win 2023 Bass Pro Shops Night Race
|Martin Truex Jr.||+1,400||+1,400||+1,600|
Odds as of September 14, 2023.
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Bass Pro Shops Night Race field
Kyle Larson tops the odds board once again, a familiar spot for the 2021 Cup Series champ. He's found himself the favorite more often than not this season, winning four races on the campaign. He won this race in 2021 and finished fifth last year — don't put too much stock in his 35th earlier this season on the Bristol dirt track.
Tailing him as the second choice are William Byron and Denny Hamlin, the latter a two-time Bristol champ. Hamlin's also been hot of late, with a slew of Top-3 finishes to close the summer, shifting into high gear in search of that elusive Cup Series title. While Byron's never taken the checkered flag at Bristol, he's finished third in this race each of the past two seasons and has a Cup Series-leading five wins in 2023.
Overall, we're seeing very similar odds distribution to the previous two playoff races, with a tight and crowded tier of favorites, plenty of viable contenders in the +1,000 to +2,000 range, and a very steep dropoff in prices beyond the playoff drivers.
Despite last year's rash of early non-playoff winners, the odds remained relatively firm in their predictions, and that's held true, with playoff qualifiers going 2-for-2 so far in 2023.
Bass Pro Shops Night Race picks and predictions
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Odds listed below courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook, September 13, 2023.
Bass Pro Shops Night Race pre-qualifying favorites
Kyle Larson (+550)
Two wins (Richmond, Martinsville), and four Top-4 finishes in six short track starts this season. At Bristol, Larson has seven Top-10 finishes in his last eight tries including four Top-6's in the last five. He was runner-up in both 2018 races and won this race in 2021. He's also led 202, 70, 200, 17, 0, 62, 175 and 34 laps in his last eight Bristol races. He has a pair of Top-4 finishes in as many playoff races thus far too.
William Byron (+750)
He has three Top-8's in his last four races here, three Top-8’s in the last four races on the season, and was third and fourth, respectively, the last two times at Bristol in general. While he won Phoenix and was fourth in Dover, he also has finished 21st or worse in four of the last five short track races too.
Denny Hamlin (+750)
Four straight Top-7 finishes on short tracks, ninth the last two years and four Top-10 finishes in his last six Bristol starts. That includes a win here in 2019. He has five Top-3 finishes in his last eight starts on the season, and a week after leading the most laps in Darlington, he was a few laps away from winning in Kansas.
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Bass Pro Shops Night Race sleepers
Chris Buescher (+1200)
He won last year, won Richmond this year. Worth a look. Four Top 6s in his last five Bristol starts puts him on this list. He has five Top-7 finishes in the last seven weeks of the season, including three victories.
Joey Logano (+1400)
Prior to being 27th last year, Logano had been stout at Bristol lately. He had seven Top 10s in his last 12 Bristol starts, and if not for late race contact with Chase Elliott in the spring of 2020, he would have won or at the very least finished second then too. He has finished 11th, seventh, second, 31st, second, and fourth on short tracks this season. He has three Top-10 finishes in the last five weeks of the season as well.
Kevin Harvick (+1400)
He won in 2020, was runner-up in 2021, and was 10th last year. Why not here? He has four Top-10 finishes, three in the Top 5, in six short track starts this season. While he has no Top-10 finishes this postseason, if not for an unlucky caution in Darlington, he was on target for a win. Last week in Kansas, he had a car capable of a better finish than 11th. Harvick’s luck seems due to change.
Erik Jones (+6000)
Has a pair of Top-10 finishes in the playoffs thus far. Won a playoff race as a non-postseason participant last year and was third last week. In this particular race itself, he’s finished second, fifth, 22nd, third, eighth, and 21st, respectively. He also has two Xfinity Series wins on this track as well.
Bass Pro Shops Night Race fades
Christopher Bell (+800)
His last 3 Bristol finishes were 28th, 29th, and fourth, respectively. However, on short tracks this season, he's also finished sixth, fourth, 16th, sixth, 29th, and 20th. He has just one Top-5 finish since Easter, which was his last win. That was here, but on dirt.
Kyle Busch (+1200)
Busch has three Top 2s in his last six starts on the concrete, including four Top 4 finishes in his last six races. Also, Busch finished runner-up in the 2020 All-Star race here, and won on dirt last April for his only win of the season.
However, he was 34th in this race last year, and calls short tracks his worst this season with four of his last five finishes on them being 14th or worse. He has two seventh-place results in the last three weeks but just one Top 5 in the last nine races overall.
Martin Truex Jr. (+1400)
Two wins and four straight Top-7 finishes on short tracks this season. However, he finished last a week ago, was last here last season, and has had only two Top-10 finishes in his last 19 Bristol tries. He’s been 20th or worse in 14 of the last 17 here.
Ross Chastain (+1400)
Sixth last year but 13th or worse in four of six short track races this season. Just two Top-10 finishes in the last 11 races and only two Top-5 finishes in the last 16.
Bass Pro Shops Night Race prop pick: Martin Truex Jr vs. Chris Buescher
Not sure why this is even a matchup on DraftKings, so take it while it’s there.
Bristol is one of Truex’s worst tracks. He’s had bad luck in each of the last two races on the season. He finished last on Sunday in Kansas and last in this race last year.
Buescher, meanwhile, is the defending race winner, won the most recent short track race of the season in Richmond, and is as hot as any driver in the sport right now.
Pick: Buescher (-115 at DraftKings)
Bristol Motor Speedway track analysis
This race is completely different from the spring race in the fact that the Easter weekend event is run on dirt. Yes, they bring in truckloads of dirt and cover the entire .533-mile concrete racing surface with dirt for one race weekend. Afterwards, they move it off and it’s back to normal Bristol, a paved track for this weekend’s race.
Bristol is a high-banked concrete short track. Most similar to Dover, although this track is half the size. Multiple grooves settle in as the race goes on. Can risk pit strategy here. Lapped traffic plays a key role in determining the outcome on this track.
Last year, the Fords dominated but tires played a key role as the bigger tire with this Next Gen car and the vertical loading in the corners by turning faster speeds caused them to blow out. We could see a similar occurrence this time around.
Bass Pro Shops Night Race trends
- Starting spot is key. Four of the last five winners came from a Top 5 starting spot. Chris Buescher started 20th last year. This year's short track winner starting spots: third, ninth, 19th, 17th, second, 26th.
- We’ve had five different teams win the last five Bristol races. JGR and Penske won in 2019, SHR in 2020, HMS in 2021, and RFK Racing last year.
- Chevy has three wins in the last 17 races at Bristol.