Fantasy NASCAR Picks for Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will travel to Richmond, Virginia, this week for the Federated Auto Parts 400.
The race Saturday night will be the last chance for drivers to secure their place in the Chase. With so much on the line, the race at Richmond could end up being the best race of the season.
The Sprint Cup Series competed at Richmond in April. Joey Logano and Kurt Busch dominated the race. Logano won the pole and led 94 laps on his way to a top-five finish. Busch qualified third and led 291 of the 400 laps, securing his first win of the season. These two drivers should be the favorites Saturday night.
The drivers from Joe Gibbs Racing (Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards) and Team Penske (Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski) have been hot over the summer. Each of these drivers has their spot clinched in the Chase, but they would love an extra three bonus points for a win entering the playoffs. Any of these drivers would be excellent choices for your fantasy team this week.
Here are my picks for the Federated Auto Parts 400.
Yahoo Group A Picks
The drivers from Group A of Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing have had a lot of success at Richmond. They have 21 combined wins at the .75-mile D-shaped track. I expect the winner of the race Saturday night to come from this group.
Kevin Harvick is a great choice for the race at Richmond. He has a series-best average finish position and the third-best driver rating. Harvick qualified on the front row and finished fifth in the last race at the track. He would be on my team if I had more than three allocations left with the No. 4 car.
Jeff Gordon is my sleeper pick in Group A this week. He needs another good finish Saturday night to secure his spot in the Chase. Gordon has two wins at Richmond, and last year he started second and finished second in this race. I would not be surprised to see Gordon add another top-five finish to his Hall of Fame resume this week.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group A.
Joey Logano (7)
Logano was the best driver from Group A in the last race at Richmond. He has not always been good at Richmond, but he has two consecutive top-five finishes. Logano has also won two of the last four races. The No. 22 car will be up front Saturday night and is my pick to win the race.
Kyle Busch (5)
The second choice for Group A came down to a choice between Matt Kenseth and Busch. Kenseth is the safer pick, but Busch has a better chance to lead the most laps and finish in Victory Lane.
Busch did not compete in the first race at Richmond, but I am not holding that against him. He knows his way around this track. Busch has four wins and 13 finishes in the top five at the track. Busch is a great choice for your team this week.
Other good choices: Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon
Yahoo Group B Picks
Usually the best picks in Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing are in Group A, but that is not the case this week. There are many good choices in Group B this week as well. Fantasy teams need to take into consideration how many allocations they have left with the drivers in this group because the choices will become more difficult in the last 10 races of the season.
My sleeper pick in Group B is Kasey Kahne. He needs a win to make the Chase, and I expect Hendrick Motorsports to give him the best car it has Saturday night. Kahne proved he could run well at Richmond in the last race at the track. He started 40th and drove his way through the field to a sixth-place finish.
Here are the four drivers I selected for Group B.
Kurt Busch (2)
Like most fantasy NASCAR players, I am running low on allocations with Busch, but I am not worried. He dominated this race in April and his stats at Richmond are very good. He has two wins and 11 finishes in the top 10 at the track. This will be one of the best races to use your final start with Busch.
Clint Bowyer (4)
Bowyer is very good at Richmond. His stats would be even better if he did not edgily spin out on purpose in 2013. Bowyer is 16th in the point standings, so he may need a top-10 finish to make the Chase.
Bowyer has one win and 15 finishes in the top 12 at Richmond. He has been heating up during the summer races this season. Bowyer has finished four of the last six races in the top 10. He will earn his spot in the Chase Saturday night if he is able to finish in the top five.
Jamie McMurray (6)
McMurray is one of the most underrated drivers in the Sprint Cup Series. He does not win races, but he consistently finishes in the top 15.
McMurray ran well in the April race at Richmond. He qualified ninth and led four laps on his way to a fourth-place finish. McMurray has two consecutive top-five finishes at Richmond. He should be on every team this week.
Kyle Larson (5)
I really wanted to use Carl Edwards in Group B this week, but I only have one start left with the No. 19 team. I plan to use my final start with Edwards at the race next month at Charlotte. Larson is a good replacement driver.
Larson has competed in three races in the Sprint Cup Series at Richmond. He has one pole and finished each race in the top 16. Larson needs to win the race Saturday to make the Chase, so the No. 42 team will take every chance possible to get its driver to the front.
Other Good Choices: Carl Edwards,Martin Truex, Paul Menard and Kasey Kahne
Yahoo Group C Picks
There are many good drivers to choose from in Group C this week. Brian Scott will be in the No. 33 car and Jeffrey Earnhardt will be in the No. 32, but neither driver is worth a roster spot this week.
The three drivers to consider are Danica Patrick, David Ragan and Justin Allgaier. I suggest using the two drivers you have the most allocations with this season.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group C.
Justin Allgaier (7)
Allgaier has been a good short-track racer in his career. He has finished three of the four races in the top 18 on the short tracks this season. In April, he qualified 22nd and finished 18th at Richmond. Most fantasy NASCAR players would gladly take another top-20 finish from Allgaier Saturday night.
Danica Patrick (5)
The last choice for Group C came down to a choice between David Ragan and Patrick. I only have one allocation left with Ragan and I plan to use it at Martinsville in November. Patrick has not been great at Richmond, but she should be able to finish in the top 25.
Patrick has competed in five races at Richmond and she has only finished two of the races in the top 25. The good news is her two best finishes came in her last two races at the track. Patrick started 21st and finished 25th in April. Last year she was able to finish inside the top 20. I expect a top-20 finish from her this week.
Other Good Choices: David Ragan and David Gilliland
Fantasy Live Picks
The strategy for Fantasy Live this week is to select as many drivers starting up front as possible. There are 400 laps and 200 bonus points available for the leading laps. The fantasy teams who are able to score the most bonus points will finish at the top of their league standings this week.
Three drivers to watch this week are Kurt Busch and Joey Logano. They led 385 of the 400 laps in the April race at Richmond. They will be the favorites to lead the majority of the laps Saturday night.
Here are the five drivers I selected for Fantasy Live for the race at Richmond:
Driver 1: Joey Logano $28.00
Driver 2: Kurt Busch $27.25
Driver 3: Carl Edwards $21.50
Driver 4: David Ragan $10.00
Driver 5: Justin Allgaier $10.25
Pick to Win: Joey Logano
* Driver prices based on prices at Darlington
Fox Fantasy Racing
The best way to score well in Fox Fantasy Racing is to select drivers who start in the back with a good chance to make their way to the front Saturday night. The game only rewards one point for leading a lap, so picking drivers who start up front will not help your team. Fantasy teams can earn one point for each position gained in the race so these bonus points will be needed to take your team to the top of your league standings.
Here are my selections for Fox Fantasy Racing for Richmond:
Driver 1: Matt Kenseth $11,200
Driver 2: Kyle Busch $9,500
Driver 3: Jeff Gordon $10,300
Driver 4: Carl Edwards $9,100
Driver 5: Clint Bowyer $9,700
* Driver prices based on prices at Darlington
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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