The NASCAR Cup Series will travel back to Richmond Raceway this weekend. This will be the 24th race on the schedule and that means there are only three races left in the Fantasy Live regular season. So how is your team doing? The picks would be doing a lot better if our top-two drivers from the race at Pocono did not have their points taken away (Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch). We lost 100 points because of the DQ and we have been playing catch up ever since. We will need a great race this week to climb to the top of our league standings. The Federated Auto Parts 400 can be seen Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network.
STRATEGY FOR RICHMOND
There is no reason to save allocations anymore. There are only three races left on the Fantasy Live schedule and that includes the race at Daytona. We can use just about any driver at the Superspeedway and we can use drivers like AJ Allmendinger, Austin Cindric and Chris Buescher next week at Watkins Glen. So that means this is the last race where we must use our studs. Simply play the best drivers possible this week.
Here are the picks for the Federated Auto Parts 400…
FANTASY LIVE LINEUP
KYLE LARSON (2): I have two allocations left with Larson and I know I am not using him at Daytona. That means I can use one allocation this week and one next week at Watkins Glen. Larson has not been a dominating driver like he was last year, but he has still be good. Larson starts on the pole so he should score a lot of Stage Points and have a good chance to finish in the top-five Sunday.
ROSS CHASTAIN (3): Some of the shine that Chastain had in the first half of the season is starting to wear off. He has finished his last three races outside the top-20, but it wasn’t because the car did not have speed. The No. 1 car looks fast again this weekend. Chastain posted the fastest speed in practice and qualified second for the race. The No. 1 car looked like the fastest car in the field Saturday.
DENNY HAMLIN (2): The rule is Fantasy NASCAR is to select Hamlin for your lineup whenever he races at the flat tracks in his home state of Virginia. Hamlin has been awesome at Richmond. He won the race in April at this track and he finished second in both races last year. Hamlin will have a good chance to run up front, score a lot of Stage Points and finish in the top-five Sunday.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. (2): Truex has the fourth-most points this season and he has the most Stage wins in 2022. Truex does not have a win so he is the first driver outside the playoffs. The No. 19 team needs a win and they may get it at Richmond. Truex has been a beast at this track since he joined Joe Gibbs Racing. Truex has finished 4th, 1st, 5th, 2nd, 1st, 1st and 3rd in his last seven races at Richmond. He is in a “must win situation” so Joe Gibbs Racing have a lot of eyes on the No. 19 car this week to help Truex run up front.
CHRISTOPHER BELL (2): Richmond is a great track for Joe Gibbs Racing and an argument can be made that Bell has been the team’s best driver this year. Bell won the last race on a short, flat track at New Hampshire. Bell also led 63 laps and scored 14 Stage Points in the race at Richmond in April. He starts deep in the field but I expect the No. 20 car to get to the front before the end of Stage 1.
GARAGE DRIVER: CHASE ELLIOTT (2): Elliott has been awesome this summer. He won the races at Nashville, Atlanta and Pocono. He also finished second at Road America and New Hampshire. The stats for Elliott at Richmond are not great but he always runs better in the second race. Elliott finished fourth in this race last year, fifth in 2020 and fourth in 2019. Elliott posted the eighth-fastest speed with the third-fastest long run speed. Elliott should be a good insurance policy to have in the Garage Sunday.
Fantasy Live has a new Bonus Picks section this year. Instead of selecting the winning team or manufacturer, we will earn 10 bonus points for selecting the driver who finishes the best in a Head-to-Head matchup. Here are my picks for the matchups…
KEVIN HARVICK vs. DENNY HAMLIN (My Pick: DENNY HAMLIN)
KYLE BUSCH vs. MARTIN TRUEX JR. (My pick is MARTIN TRUEX JR.)
RYAN BLANEY vs. JOEY LOGANO (My pick is RYAN BLANEY)
CHASE ELLIOTT vs. CHRISTOPHER BELL (My pick is CHASE ELLIOTT)
Good Luck this week!
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