The NASCAR Cup Series will travel to Richmond Raceway Sunday for the Federated Auto Parts 400. There are only three races left before the playoffs begin. The teams who have a win will be trying to score as many playoff points as possible. The teams who have not been to Victory Lane this year will be using every strategy possible to get their driver to the front and earn a win in Sunday’s race. It should be fun to watch and it should be fun for our DFS contests. The Federated Auto Parts 400 can be seen Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network.
PRACTICE SPEEEDS AT RICHMOND
The Cup Series had their regular practice schedule this week. The teams were broken down into two groups and they had 20 minutes to dial in their cars for the race. Richmond is a .75-mile flat track. Most of the teams had time to make some long-runs in practice. That is important because the drivers who can maintain their speed over a long run will be up front. The cars were impounded after qualifying so the speed the cars had in practice is the speed the teams will start the race with Sunday.
Here are the practice speeds from Saturday’s practice at Richmond…
AVERAGE DFS POINTS ON SHORT FLAT TRACKS (2022)
The Gen-7 car has made handicapping the Cup Series races difficult this year. That should not be the case Sunday. The Cup Series competed at Richmond in April and they have raced on five short, flat tracks this season. There is plenty of data to use to predict which drivers will be fast Sunday. I will look at the DFS points scored by the drivers in the races at Phoenix, Richmond, Martinsville, Gateway and New Hampshire to help predict who will run up front this week.
Here are the average DraftKings and FanDuel Points on the short, flat tracks (2022)…
DFS STRATEGY FOR RICHMOND
The race this week is scheduled for 400 laps (300 miles). That means there are 100 points available for leading laps and 180 points available for fastest laps (280 dominator points) in DraftKings contest. There are 40 dominator points available in FanDuel contests. That is a lot of dominator points and we need to capture as many of them as possible Sunday.
The trend at Richmond is for two main dominators in the race. One driver leads roughly 130 laps and scores 30 fastest laps (46 dominator points) and the second driver leads roughly 120 laps and scored 30 fastest laps (43.5 dominator points). A third driver leads roughly 80 laps and scores 24 fastest laps (30.8 dominator points). We must have the top two dominators in our lineup if we want to win any cash this week. We will win some serious cash if we are able to have all three dominators in our lineups and score the 120 dominator points they will earn in the race.
My strategy is to pay up for the drivers who were fast in practice and qualified up front. These drivers will have the best chance to lead the most laps Sunday. I am not worried about place differential points in this race. It is all about laps led and fastest laps this week.
My top dominators for the race Sunday are Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.
DRAFTKINGS MODEL (PREDICTIONS BASED ON STATS)
Finish = Finishing Points PD = Position Differential Fastest = Fastest Laps Led = Laps Led
* The number in front of the driver is his projected finishing position based on stats.
FANDUEL MODEL (PREDICTIONS BASED ON STATS)
CORE DRIVERS FOR RICHMOND
TOP-TIER DRIVERS: Kyle Busch ($11,400), Denny Hamlin ($11,100), Chase Elliott ($10,800), Martin Truex Jr. ($10,600), Kyle Larson ($10,300), Ryan Blaney ($9,900), Christopher Bell ($9,600), Joey Logano ($9,300), Kevin Harvick ($9,100)
VALUE DRIVERS: Tyler Reddick ($8,800), William Byron ($8,600), Alex Bowman ($8,400), Austin Cindric ($7,500), Aric Almirola ($6,800), Justin Haley ($6,000)
PUNT PLAYS: Harrison Burton ($5,800), Corey LaJoie ($5,200)
DRAFTKINGS CASH CONTEST LINEUP
* My strategy for the Cash Contest lineup is to pay up for two of the top dominators and pair them with four drivers who have a good chance to score a lot of place differential points. The lineup will look a lot like the Tournament Contest lineup.
DENNY HAMLIN ($11,100): Hamlin is my top dominator for the race Sunday. His car had good speed in practice and he starts up front. The only thing that can stop Hamlin from dominating this race is Denny Hamlin. Every time he comes to pit road I will close my eyes and pray that the penalty police do not send him to the back of the field.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. ($10,600): It is always fun to see how athletes react when they are backed into a corner. That is where Truex is this week. The No. 19 team is in a “must win situation” and I expect Truex to be very aggressive and do everything possible to get to the front and dominate this race. He knows his chances of winning at Daytona are slim and his chances at Watkins Glen are not as good as they have been in the past. Truex has a good chance to do what Kevin Harvick did when he was backed into a corner last week.
CHASE ELLIOTT ($10,800): The most popular play in Cash Contests will be Kyle Busch. Rowdy is a great pick but who do you trust more right now? Chase Elliott or Kyle Busch? I trust Elliott. You could squeeze both drivers in your lineup but then you would have to sacrifice a dominator in your lineup. I want two dominators so I will pivot from Busch and use Elliott.
ARIC ALMIROLA ($6,800): Almirola is a lock for all Cash Contests from the 32nd starting position. We all know Almirola is at his best on the flat tracks. His No. 10 car showed up with speed this week. Almirola posted the second-fastest speed on the 10-lap speed chart. He also had the fastest car on the 15, 20 and 25-lap speed charts. The longer the car ran better the cr got compared to the rest of the field. Almirola got loose in qualifying and that is the only reason he is starting in the back.
HARRISON BURTON ($5,800): You can never go wrong with a Burton in your lineup in Virginia. Ward, Jeff and now Harrison have all had success at this track. Burton posted the 12th fastest speed in practice with the eighth-fastest long-run speed. Burton was one of the first drivers to go out in qualifying and the track had no grip at the time. That is the only reason he is starting 30th. Burton finished 18th at Richmond in April. He will score well this week if he can finish inside the top-20.
B.J. MCLEOD ($4,800): McLeod will be my “punt play” in my Cash Contest lineup. All I need McLoed to do is “stay out of the way.” He is really good at that. The rest of the field is competing in the Federated Auto Parts 400 and B.J. McLoed is out for a Sunday joy ride. That is OK though, as long as he stays on the track and other drivers crash or have mechanical failures.
DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP
* My strategy for my Tournament Contest is to play a “Stars and Scrubs” lineup. I want the three top dominators and three drivers with a good chance to score positive place differential points.
DENNY HAMLIN ($11,100): Death, taxes and Hamlin dominating at Richmond are about the only sure things in this world. Hamlin posted the sixth-fastest speed in practice with the fifth-fastest long run speed. Hamlin starts third so he has the track position to get to the front and lead a lot of laps Sunday.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. ($10,600): Joe Gibbs Racing has a habit of running well at Richmond so I will play their top two drivers to give me two strong dominators at the top of my lineup. Truex knows he must win this race. The No. 19 team will be aggressive to get Truex to the front. He has a lot of upside this week.
ROSS CHASTAIN ($10,100): My top-three dominators for the race Sunday are Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Ross Chastain. I just need Kyle Larson not to screw it up. The races at Richmond typically have three drivers lead a combined 330 laps. This lineup will score well no matter what the rest of the lineup does if Hamlin, Truex and Chastain can lead all of the laps Sunday.
ARIC ALMIROLA ($6,800): I will play Almirola in both the Cash and Tournament Contest lineups this week. His car is too fast and his history on the short, flat tracks is too good to pass up. Almirola will be popular, but I will eat the chalk this week.
CHRIS BUESCHER ($6,600): Buescher is a great sleeper pick this week. I doubt many people will be playing Buescher, but he has been pretty good on the short, flat tracks this season. Buescher finished 10th at Phoenix, 15th at Richmond and 17th at New Hampshire. Buescher should be able to move up a few spots from his 18th-place starting position.
J.J. YELEY ($4,700): I will use J.J. Yeley as my “punt play” this week. I do not expect much from Yeley, but he could move up five-eight spots Sunday. Yeley finished 29th in his last race on a short, flat track at New Hampshire. Yeley starts 35th so he is guaranteed to score at least five points. This play is more about his price that his upside in the race.
FANDUEL CASH CONTEST LINEUP
FANDUEL TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP
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