The NASCAR Cup Series will start the short track portions of their schedule when they race at Richmond Raceway Sunday. The Cup Series will use the new short track aero package. It is the same aero package used at Phoenix earlier this season. The cars will have 30% less downforce and the cars will be tougher to hold onto. It should produce some exciting racing and a good opportunity to win some cash in our DFS contests. The Toyota Owners 400 can be seen Sunday at 3:30 pm ET on FS1.
The Cup Series was schedule to have a short practice, followed by qualifying Saturday morning. Mother Nature did not cooperate, so the practice and qualifying was canceled. The starting lineup was set “per the rulebook” and it put Alex Bowman on the pole. We do not have any on track data use to predict which drivers will be fast today, so I will focus on the data from the race at Phoenix and past track history at Phoenix for the picks.
CUP SERIES STATS ON SHORT FLAT TRACKS
The race Sunday is scheduled for 400 laps (300 Miles). That means there are 100 points available for leading laps and 180 points available for fastest laps (180 total dominator points). This is a short race and track position is very important. We need to pay up for the dominators today.
The trend at Richmond is for the race to be a three dominator race. One driver leads roughly 128 laps and scores 34 fastest laps (47.3 dominator points). Another driver leads 112 laps and scores 31 fastest laps (41. dominator points). A third driver leads 80 laps and scores 31 fastest laps (33.95 dominator points). We will score roughly 125 dominator points if this race plays out as scheduled and we have the top-three dominators in our lineups.
The drivers with the best chance to dominate the race Sunday include Alex Bowman, William Byron, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick
The drivers with the best chance to score place differential points are Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon, Ryan Preece and Ty Dillon
DRAFTKINGS MODEL (Prediction 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 (Prediction Based on Stats)
CORE DRIVERS FOR RICHMOND
TOP-TIER DRIVERS: WILLIAM BYRON ($11K / FD $14K), KEVIN HARVICK ($10.8K FD $13.5K), KYLE LARSON ($10.6K FD $13K), CHRISTOPHER BELL ($10.3K FDK $11.5K), DENNY HAMLIN ($10.1K FD $12.5K), MARTIN TRUEX JR. ($9.9K / FD $12K), KYLE BUSCH ($9.7K FD $11K), JOEY LOGANO ($9.4K FD $10.5K), ALEX BOWMAN ($9.2K FD $8.5K), TYLER REDDICK ($9K FD $9K)
VALUE-TIER DRIVERS: RYAN BLANEY ($8.8K FD $9.5K), ROSS CHASTAIN ($8.7K FD $10K), BRAD KESELOWSKI ($8.3K FD $8.2K), JOSH BERRY ($7.9K / FD $7.8K), CHASE BRISCOE ($7.8K FD $7K), ARIC ALMIROLA ($7.6K FD $7.5K), TY GIBBS ($7.3K FD $6.2K), AUSTIN DILLON ($7.2K FD $6.5K), RYAN PREECE ($6.4K FD $5.2K)
PUNT PLAYS: NOAH GRAGSON ($5.8K FDK $5K), JUSTIN HALEY ($5.5K FD $3.5K)
DRAFTKINGS CASH CONTEST LINEUP
WILLIAM BYRON ($11,000): I need a driver who starts up front that can lead some laps. Byron has been the most consistent driver at dominating races in 2023, so I will use the No. 24 car as my dominator in the Cash Contest lineup. Byron led 64 laps and won the race at Phoenix earlier this year. He also led 122 laps and finished third in the spring race at Richmond last year. Byron should be a safe pick to score us a lot of points Sunday.
CHRISTOPHER BELL ($10,300): Bell is a lock for all Cash Contest lineups this week. Richmond is one of his best tracks. He has three wins at Richmond on his Xfinity Series resume and his Cup Series stats are outstanding too. Bell finished 2nd, 6th, 3rd and 4th in his last four races in Richmond. Bell starts 21st Sunday. He has a good chance to lead the series in place differential points and be one of the top-three dominators in the race this week.
RYAN BLANEY ($8,800): Team Penske has a history of running well at Richmond, so I wanted one of their drivers in my lineup. I used Blaney over Logano because of his price. Blaney led 128 laps and finished seventh in the spring race at Phoenix last year. He also finished second at Phoenix in the short track aero package earlier this year. Logano and Blaney are both great picks, but I will take the discount with the No. 12 car.
ARIC ALMIROLA ($7,600): Almirola probably wish he would have retired at the end of the 2022 season as planned, because the 2023 season has not been good to him. Most of his poor finishes have more to do with bad luck; then they have to do with bad driving. There is little risk in using Almirola since he starts 33rd Sunday. His average finishing position in his last five races at Richmond is 11th. Almirola will score 54 DK Points if he can simply finish near his average.
AUSTIN DILLON ($7,200): A-Dillon is pretty much the same driver as Aric Almirola. He has had a poor 2023 season, but his stats at Richmond are good. Dillon starts 27th Sunday and his average finishing position in his last eight races at Richmond is 10th. Dillon will score 51 DK Points if he can finish 10th Sunday.
TY DILLON ($4,700): I will take a chance with T-Dillon as a “punt play” this week. Dillon is the minimum price and he starts 36th. His average finishing position this year is 31st and his average finishing position at Richmond is 23rd. Dillon will score 15 DK Points if he can finish 31st *His 2023 Average) and Dillon will score 32 DK Points if he can finish 23rd (His Richmond Average). Not bad for $4,700.
DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT SINGLE-ENTRY CONTEST
KEVIN HARVICK ($10,800): There is a lot to like about Harvick this week. He finished second in the spring race at Richmond last year and then won the second race at the track. The No. 4 car also looked blazing fast in the current aero package at Phoenix. Richmond is one of the best tracks for the No. 4 team, so I will pay up for Harvick Sunday.
JOEY LOGANO ($9,400): The two safest drivers in DraftKings Contest this week are Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano. I am playing both of them in this lineup. Logano has finished 14 of his last 17 races at Richmond in the top-10. It should have been 15 of the last 17, but the No. 22 team dropped the jack in the pits last year and that caused Logano to finish 17th. He did come back in August and led 222 laps at Richmond. Logano should be an excellent pick for the 18th starting position.
TYLER REDDICK ($9,000): Reddick is on a hot streak right now. He finished 1st (COTA), 5th (Atlanta) and 3rd (Phoenix) in his last three races. His stats at Richmond are not very good, but Denny Hamlin said on his pod cast this week that he spends a lot of time with Reddick in the simulator preparing for the races. I am sure Hamlin taught Reddick a trick or two about turning fast laps at Richmond. I will take my chances with a lower-owned Reddick this week.
ROSS CHASTAIN ($8,700): I have heard a lot of talk about a lot of drivers this week, but no one seems to be thinking there will be a watermelon smashed in Victory Lane Sunday. Chastain led 80 laps in the last race at Richmond. I do not see any reason why he cannot do it again. While everyone is loading their lineups with the Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske drivers; I will pivot to Chastain.
TY GIBBS ($7,300): We knew sooner or later the Gen-7 car would click with Gibbs and he would start running up front. Has it happened already? Gibbs has finished ninth in his last two races. Maybe he has figured out how to run up front in the Cup Series. Gibbs won the Xfinity Series race at Richmond last year. He should be a good play Sunday.
TY DILLON ($4,700): Do I have too many shares of Ty Dillon this week? Probably, but I want to pay up form some dominators and the best drivers to score place differential points. The only way to do that is by using a “punt play.” Dillon is the best cheap driver on the slate Sunday.
DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT MULTI-ENTRY CONTEST
There has been a lot of talk in the Fantasy NASCAR industry about the driver’s stats at Richmond. I think it is important to look at those stats, but it is also important to focus on what has happened in the aero package and tire combination that was used at Phoenix and again Sunday at Richmond. Hendrick Motorsports dominated the race and place all four of their drivers in the top-10. I will build my Tournament Contest lineup off the same results.
WILLIAM BYRON ($11,000): Byron dominated the race at Phoenix using the same aero package that will be used this week and he dominated the spring race at Richmond last year. Byron starts third, so he has the track position to take and early lead and score a lot of points Sunday.
KYLE LARSON ($10,600): Most of the Fantasy NASCAR industry is talking about Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske this week. The sportsbooks list William Byron and Kyle Larson as the favorites and I agree with them. Larson led 201 laps in the current aero package at Phoenix. He has not dominated many races at Richmond, but he typically finishes up front. Larson should be a good pick for the ninth starting position Sunday.
ALEX BOWMAN ($9,200): Consistency has paid off for Bowman this year. He has finished five of the six races in the top-10, so now he will start on the pole Sunday. The track position should allow the No. 48 car to lead some laps, score some fastest laps and stack the dominator points in your DraftKings lineup. Bowman won the race at Richmond two years ago, so he proved he can run up front when he has a fast car. The Hendrick Motorsports cars have been fast this year, so I will play Bowman from the top starting position.
JOSH BERRY ($7,900): Berry will be back in the No. 9 car for Chase Elliott Sunday. Berry looked good in the current aero package at Phoenix. He started 17th and finished 10th. That was good enough for 42 DK Points. Now Berry starts 30th. I do not need him to finish 10th again. Berry will score 43 DK Points if he can simply finish 15th Sunday. I think he can do it.
RYAN PREECE ($6,400): The best race for Preece this year was at Phoenix. That should not surprise us because Stewart-Haas Racing is at their best on the short, flat tracks and Preece is a short track specialist. He starts 32nd Sunday. Preece will be a good pick if he can simply finish inside the top-20 at Richmond.
TY DILLON ($4,700): Dillon will be my “punt play” in this lineup too. There are drivers who can score negative points Sunday if they crash. Dillon is not one of those drivers. He starts 36th, so he is guaranteed four points. I think he will score a lot more than that though.
FANDUEL CASH CONTEST LINEUP
FANDUEL TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP
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