It’s time for some Saturday Night short track racing under the lights at Richmond! Last week, the playoffs started with Kevin Harvick grabbing his first playoff win this year – his eighth of the season. You would think Harvick (+450) would be an immediate favorite this weekend but Martin Truex Jr. comes in as the top-dog at +330.
Truex went back-to-back last year by winning both races at Richmond with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and Toyota winning the last four races at the track. The two wins before Truex’s double came from teammate Kyle Busch who also pulled the double in 2018.
Denny Hamlin, also a JGR teammate, comes in at +350 with Kyle Busch at +450. That puts three JGR drivers at the top of the favorites list. Here are the favored drivers to win the Federated Auto Parts 400 outright +800 and under.
It’s round two of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and there was a big change after last week's race. Ryan Blaney plummeted down the points list following a penalty. He’s now the last driver in Playoff points and sits at the bottom of the cut list. Only twelve Championship eligible drivers move onto the next round with four falling below the line.
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Denny Hamlin
3. Joey Logano
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Alex Bowman
6. Martin Truex Jr
7. Chase Elliott
8. Austin Dillon
9. William Byron
10. Kyle Busch
11. Kurt Busch
12. Aric Almirola
13. Clint Bowyer
14. Cole Custer
15. Matt DiBenedetto
16. Ryan Blaney
2020 Federated Auto Parts 400 Preview
Track: Richmond Raceway, Henrico County, Virginia
Type: 0.75 miles, oval
Banking: Turns 14°, front 8°, back 2°
Race Distance: 400 laps, 300 miles
Defending Track Winner: Martin Truex Jr
TV/Radio: NBC-SN / MRN
Start Time: Saturday, September 12, at 7:30 PM Eastern
Wins by manufacturer: Chevrolet 37, Ford 30, Toyota 14, (Dodge 17, Pontiac 11, Plymouth 10, Buick 2, Chrysler 2, Oldsmobile 2, Thunderbird 2.)
Denny Hamlin has been stronger than Martin Truex Jr all season so Hamlin gets my top spot. The driver of the No. 11 for JGR has three Richmond Cup Series wins and he’s never crashed out. He comes in with seventeen top-ten and thirteen top-five finishes at the track.
Kevin Harvick +450
I almost faded Kevin Harvick some this week since Toyota has dominated Richmond over the last several years. Since 2009, Toyota drivers – mostly JGR drivers to be exact – have won 14 of 22 races. However, Harvick has been dominating Toyota all season long with the lone exception of Denny Hamlin who has six wins compared to eight for Harvick.
Brad Keselowski +800
Taking Brad Keselowski is somewhat of a stretch since he has not won at this track since 2014. But he has raced well at Richmond since. He’s notched eleven top-ten runs and captured the pole twice. Keselowski should have a good pit stall selection on Saturday and that will help.
Others I like
Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch: Both of the Busch brothers have won at Richmond. Kyle has six and Kurt has two checkered flags. Kyle has not shown the consistency to be my best bet but both he and his brother run good at Richmond and both are due for another win.
One Fantasy Driver
I was asked by a reader to start offering a Fantasy driver selection. I’ll start adding a pick in for that from now on. This week, my fantasy points driver would have to be Ryan Blaney. Look for him to go full barrel to try and make up ground after last weeks slide down the points list. Depending on how your fantasy league works – Blaney could make a ton of points with passes and where he finishes in stages.
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