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March 15, 2024

NASCAR survivor pool: NASCAR.com’s 36 for 36 picks for Bristol


A general graphic saying 36 for 36
NASCAR

NASCAR.com’s 36 for 36 continues at Bristol Motor Speedway.

With 36 races and 36 full-time Charter cars, our players select one car per race, but there’s a simple twist: once they’ve made the pick, they can’t choose that car again for the rest of the 36-race season. Yes, that means every car will be selected exactly once … a survivor pool, by another name.

Follow along weekly as our panel of pickers — Dustin Albino from Jayski, along with Steve Luvender and Cameron Richardson from NASCAR.com — embarks on a season-long journey to think like strategists and prove their picking prowess.

We’ll also feature a fourth “community” 36 for 36 pick each week, as decided by fan vote on the r/NASCAR subreddit. Can the collective vote topple our trio of full-timers?

Standings after Race 4:

RankNamePointsBehind
T-1Steve Luvender284
T-1Dustin Albino284
3Cameron Richardson235-49
4r/NASCAR Community219-65

Race 5 of 36: Bristol

Last week’s race at Phoenix tightened up our 36 for 36 standings with three of four pickers making top-10 selections. Points leader Steve Luvender’s selection of Ryan Preece resulted in a 23rd-place finish, while Cameron Richardson and r/NASCAR’s Chase Briscoe picks netted a solid 30 points after the No. 14 came home ninth. The big winner of the day was Dustin Albino, who boldly picked fifth-place-finishing Ryan Blaney.

Now, Bristol and its treachery awaits. How will our pickers handle the high banks of the concrete bullring?

Jayski’s Dustin Albino: No. 77, Carson Hocevar

Dustin’s pick last week (Phoenix): No. 12, Ryan Blaney
Points earned last week: 41 (fifth-place finish)
Total season points: 93 (second place)

Dustin: Hocevar has been impressive to start his rookie Cup Series season. The No. 77 team rides a streak of three straight top-20 finishes — consecutive top 15s — into Bristol, and made the final round of qualifying last week at Phoenix. When making just his fourth career start in the Cup Series last fall at Bristol, Hocevar drove through the field and cracked the top five on raw speed during the second stage. He ended the night in 11th, which was the best finish of the season for the No. 42 Legacy Motor Club team. With more experience, Hocevar is bound to show more flashes of speed this weekend should he have a clean race.

NASCAR.com’s Steve Luvender: No. 6, Brad Keselowski

Steve’s pick last week (Phoenix): No. 41, Ryan Preece
Points earned last week: 14 (23rd-place finish)
Total season points: 103 (first place)

Steve: For the second week in a row, a late pit stop took away a potential strong run and severely dented my early lead in the standings — Dustin’s just 10 points back now. I’m breaking out the big guns at Bristol and going with Brad Keselowski, a three-time conqueror of the “Last Great Colosseum” (a five-time winner if we’re including the Xfinity Series and Craftsman Truck Series). Keselowski is more than ready to put the 100-plus-race-winless-streak talking point to bed, and momentum is rolling after a pair of RFK Racing top fives last week at Phoenix. Teammate Chris Buescher, of course, won the 2022 Bristol Night Race, and I think it’s finally the boss’s turn to take the checkered flag. (That’s right. I’m picking for a win this week – not just a good points day.)

NASCAR.com’s Cameron Richardson: No. 77, Carson Hocevar

Cameron’s pick last week (Phoenix): No. 14, Chase Briscoe
Points earned last week: 30 (ninth-place finish)
Total season points: 70 (fourth place)

Cameron:
Momentum and confidence are the keys to this week as NASCAR returns to the Bristol concrete this weekend. After one intermediate and one short-track package race, I’m sold on Carson Hocevar, and he’s back where he stole the show last season with an 11th-place showing in the Bristol Night Race. Qualifying will be one of utmost importance for Sunday and if Hocevar can stick with the top-15 starting spots he had at Las Vegas and Phoenix, he’s due for another eye-popping performance at Bristol.

r/NASCAR Community: No. 47, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.


r/NASCAR’s pick last week (Phoenix): No. 14, Chase Briscoe
Points earned last week: 30 (ninth-place finish)
Total season points: 89 (third place)

Debate flowed in this week’s r/NASCAR voting thread, but the subreddit landed on Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for Bristol, narrowly beating out Ty Gibbs. The No. 47 may be a slight gamble: While Stenhouse finished top 10 last August, he failed to finish four of five races prior due to crashes. Ultimately, though, the group decided to save a Joe Gibbs Racing pick for later in the season.

u/Dont_hate_the_8: “This is a great one. He’s solid at Bristol. It’s one of his best tracks.”

u/Quasar_24: “If there’s one thing Ricky is good at, it’s drafting tracks, but if there’s two things he’s good at, the other one is short tracks. I think the real gamble is how good the equipment is and how well the car gets dialed in.”

Check back next week to see how our pickers fared at Bristol as the season-long 36 for 36 journey continues.

And, if you’ve got a competitive itch beyond meticulously managing your Fantasy Live lineup each week, feel free to save or print your own 36 for 36 sheet and see if you can beat our pickers and the Reddit community!

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