NASCAR Weekly Content
- NASCAR DFS: Toyota Owners 400 Preview
- Fantasy NASCAR Rankings
- XFINITY Series DFS: ToyotaCare 250 DraftKings Preview
- FanDuel Preview
If you read my Fantasy Picks article for tonight’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway prior to post-qualifying inspection, you can pretty much forget all of it. I should have known better than to feel confident in my lineups with an inspection looming because sure enough, there was a rash of failures during inspection that has several big names starting in the back.
Erik Jones, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Daniel Suarez will all forfeit Top 10 starting spots tonight, and Aric Almirola and Denny Hamlin will also join them in the back of the pack. I had some of these drivers penciled into my Fantasy Live and Driver Group Game lineups, but after dropping to the back, I have to make some changes.
I also have to make some changes to my Slingshot lineup. I was originally going to lean on the bigger names lurking just outside the Top 10, hoping to grab some stage points and some differential points. Now that there are so many heavy hitters starting, I am going after all those place differential points. I have four drivers in my lineup who have a legitimate chance at gaining 25-plus spots tonight.
Check out all of my updated Fantasy NASCAR picks for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway.
NASCAR.com Fantasy Live
Keselowski has put together a strong resume at Richmond, finishing 11th or better in nine of the last 10 races here. He kind of got blocked on his qualifying lap in the final round, but starting eight after inspection failures, he’s close enough to the front to get into position for plenty of points in Stage 1. I haven’t used Keselowski much this year, so I don’t mind using him as one of my anchors.
Martin Truex Jr.
No driver has spent more time at the front of the field at Richmond the last couple of years than Truex. He has led more than 120 laps in four of the last five races here, and he earned points in all four stages here a year ago, sweeping both stages in the fall race. Truex also finished in the Top 5 in three of the four stages at Richmond in 2017. Starting fifth, he should add to his hefty stage point total.
Busch has been fast all year, and he always seems to be a threat at the short tracks. Following a third-place effort in qualifying that turned into a spot on the front row thanks to inspection issues for others, it looks like business as usual this weekend. Busch has eight Top 15s in the last nine races at Richmond, picking up a win and six Top 10s. He also finished in the Top 5 in three of the four stages here last year.
I had Chase Elliott locked into this spot, but after he failed inspection, I made the switch to Bowyer. The two-time Richmond winner is now starting 14th, and he picked up Top 10s in both races here a year ago. Bowyer has also shown Top 5 muscle in both short track events so far this year. I’m fully expecting some stage points out of him tonight.
I really wanted to save a start from him tonight, but with Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola and Elliott all failing, I’m not going to take a flier on someone I don’t trust just for the sake of saving a start. Busch will now start fourth, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sweep both stages and win the race. After all, he won both races at Richmond last year and has six wins here overall.
Garage Driver – Kevin Harvick
I was hoping to use these back-to-back short track events to save some starts from guys like Harvick, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, but with all three starting in the Top 5 and some of my favorite alternatives failing inspection, I think having some exposure is my smartest play. Harvick leads all drivers with seven Top 5s in the last 10 races at Richmond, and after grabbing the pole, he could be headed for a dominating night. I want him available in case he ends up winning the first two stages.
Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet Driver Group Game
Joey Logano (A)
I went back and forth between Logano and Martin Truex Jr., but in this format, I think Logano’s reliability makes him the better play. He leads all drivers with nine Top 10s and a 5.4 average finish in the last 10 races at Richmond, and he has a couple of wins in that stretch. Starting third, he should be back in the mix for another victory Saturday night.
Daniel Suarez (B)
I was set to use Denny Hamlin in this spot, but I flipped to Suarez after his Top 10 qualifying effort. Well, both drivers ended up failing inspection, so I guess I will stick with Suarez. He has an 11.5 average finish in four starts at Richmond, and he’s been running in the Top 10 on a routine basis recently. I am hoping he can come from the back.
Clint Bowyer (B)
Jimmie Johnson was going to be my pick for this spot, but Clint Bowyer turned out to be my only Group B driver who didn’t fail inspection. On the plus side, Bowyer has been excellent at short tracks, and now that he starts 14th, he has a decent shot at some stage points. After inspection, I don’t feel I have much of a choice.
Ty Dillon (C)
Naturally, both my Group C picks originally qualified outside the Top 25, so this could be a case of damage control. I’m going to hope that Dillon can continue his success at shorter tracks this season, especially now that he moves up a bit following all the post-qualifying inspection failures. He has finished in the Top 15 at Phoenix, Martinsville and Bristol in 2019. I’d be more than happy with a Top 20 Saturday night.