Fantasy NASCAR Rankings: Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway

Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking reveals the top drivers gearing up for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway!

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Between Mother Nature and the action on the track, last weekend’s race at Bristol provided some of the best racing and one of the more surprising finishing orders of the season. With a second straight short track race on tap this weekend, we could be in for a repeat performance at Richmond Raceway Saturday night.

The 0.75-mile, low-banked track will host the Toyota Owners 400, and after recommending using some middle-tier and sleeper drivers in your season-long fantasy contests at Bristol, I’m touting a similar strategy again this weekend.

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Heading into Bristol, I mentioned that some drivers are just naturally better at short tracks and that short tracks tend to have more attrition than normal, allowing some unexpected drivers to deliver solid finishes. Well, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Alex Bowman grabbed Top 5 finishes at Bristol, David Ragan finished in the Top 15, and Darrell Wallace Jr., A.J. Allmendinger and Landon Cassill picked up Top 20s.

I think you will be able to find some similar value among the midrange and lower-end end drivers again at Richmond, so Saturday’s race is going to be another great opportunity to save some starts from the elite options in a lot of fantasy contests. Your Group B and Group C options in the Driver Group Game (DGG), in particular, are great places to save, and I’m also going to try to use at least two mid-tier options in NASCAR Fantasy Live.

Season-long fantasy NASCAR games are a marathon, not a sprint. Taking a big picture approach at short tracks like Richmond is going to pay off in the long run.

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1. Kyle Busch, #18 M&M’s, Joe Gibbs Racing

Busch is going for his third win in as many weeks, and he has already amassed an impressive resume at Richmond, including a series-best 7.4 average finish. He’s also a four-time winner at the track, and he has finished in the Top 5 in 15 of his 24 starts. Busch is one of the best to ever get behind the wheel, and riding the hot hand is not a bad strategy.

2. Kevin Harvick, #4 Jimmy Johns/Busch Beer, Stewart-Haas Racing

He’s shown the ideal blend of consistency and upside at Richmond. Harvick has finished in the Top 15 in his last 11 starts at the track, and he has six Top 5s in that stretch, including three in his last four starts and five in his eight starts with Stewart-Haas Racing.

3. Denny Hamlin, #11 FedEx, Joe Gibbs Racing

He has run hot and cold and his home-state track over the years, but Hamlin has been locked in lately. He’s reeled off five straight finishes of sixth or better, picking up his third win at the track in the fall of 2016. This could be the perfect track to use him for Fantasy Live and as a Group A pick in the Driver Group Game.

4. Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Team Penske

Yes, his win here last spring was encumbered, but that doesn’t change the fact that Logano has been excellent here. Over the last 10 races, he leads all drivers with nine Top 10s, and his two wins and 6.1 average finish in that span are also tops in the series. Logano should be an excellent play in all formats.

5. Martin Truex, Jr., #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing

Short tracks usually aren’t Truex’s bread and butter, but he has figured out Richmond the last couple of years. He has three Top 10s in his last four starts at the track, and he has led more than 190 laps in two of the last three races here. Don’t sleep on Truex, especially at DraftKings.

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