Fantasy Live Picks for Richmond


The NASCAR Cup Series will travel to Richmond Raceway this week. This is one of my favorite tracks because the racing is typically pretty good at this .75-mile flat track. NASCAR is adding street courses and placing dirt on Bristol. If they really want to improve their product, they should make more short tracks like Richmond (In my opinion). Maybe we will get lucky and Auto Club will be similar to Richmond. The Toyota Owners 400 can be seen Sunday at 3:30 pm ET on FS1.



Just think how well the Fantasy Live picks would be doing if it wasn’t for the Garage pick. I have been burned twice by Ryan Blaney running like shit at the end of Stage 2 and then rebounding for a top-five finish. It happened again last week. Kyle Busch was running 22nd at the end of Stage 2 and then Brad Keselowski brought out the caution with four laps in the race. All of the drivers pitted, except Kyle Busch and a few others. The huge leap in track position gave Busch 25 spots on the track and allowed him to finish up front, while he was in my Garage. Sooner or later this Garage pick will work out well.


Richmond Raceway is similar in size and length as Phoenix Raceway. Both tracks are D-shaped, flat tracks. Phoenix is .25-mile longer in length, but the drivers who ran up front in the desert, should be the drivers up front Sunday.

NASCAR is using the new short track aero package this week. It is the same package used at Phoenix earlier this season. Hendrick Motorsports knocked it out of the park when William Byron and Kyle Larson led 265 of 317 laps at Phoenix. Alex Bowman and Josh Berry also finished in the top-10 at Phoenix, so it is obvious that HMS has the advantage with this new aero package. I plan to have a lot of the HMS drivers in my lineup Sunday.

Here are the picks for the Toyota Owners 400…

WILLIAM BYRON (7): How can you fade Willy-B right now? He has been the best driver in the Cup Series through the first six races. He dominated the races at Las Vegas and Phoenix and went to Victory Lane. Byron also dominated this race at Richmond last year. He led 122 laps, score nine Stage Points and finished third. He also qualified second, so he scored bonus points for qualifying too. Byron should be a great pick for the third starting position.

KYLE LARSON (8): The race Sunday should be a replay of what we saw at Las Vegas. William Byron and Larson were the top-two lap leaders in both races. While Byron won both races, Larson finished second (Las Vegas) and fourth (Phoenix). The No. 5 team nailed the setup in the new short track aero package. Larson won the pole, scored 19 Stage Points and led 201 laps at Phoenix. He also won the pole, scored 17 Stage Points and led 11 laps in the last race at Richmond. Larson should be a threat to win Sunday.

KYLE BUSCH (8): Busch was good, but not great at Phoenix. He started ninth and finished eighth. Rowdy should be good this week, because he always is in the spring at Richmond. Busch has a Cup Series high six wins at Richmond. Five of those wins came in the spring race. Busch starts on the front row and has one of the premium pit stalls Sunday. Richmond is one of Rowdy’s better tracks, so I will use an allocation with the No. 8 car Sunday.

KEVIN HARVICK (7): There is a lot to like about Harvick this week. He finished second in this race last year and then he came back to Richmond in August and won the race. Harvick also had a great chance to win the race at Phoenix this year in the new aero package. Harvick started 15th, led 36 laps, scored 11 Stage Points, and finished fifth. He is the only driver who could make passes at the bottom of the track at Richmond last year. His “Harvicking” style of races makes the No. 4 car a serious threat to go to Victory Lane Sunday. This is a good race to use an allocation with Happy Harvick.

ALEX BOWMAN (9): This pick is more about the car than the driver. Hendrick Motorsports has a clear advantage with the new aero package. Bowman proved he can run well at Richmond when he has a fast car. Bowman won the race at Richmond two years ago. He has also finished five of his six races in the top-10 this year (his seventh-place average finishing position is the best in the Cup Series). Bowman starts on the pole and has the No. 1 pit stall Sunday. I will use an allocation with Bowman while he is on a hot streak.

(GARAGE PICK) CHRISTOPHER BELL (10): The fastest way around Richmond is at the top of the track, up against the wall. The drivers with a dirt track racing background typically excel in this type of racing. Bell has finished 2nd, 6th, 3rd and 4th in his last four races at Richmond. He also ran well at Phoenix in the new aero package. Joe Gibbs Racing has a history of running well at Richmond and Adam Stevens has been one of the best crew chiefs at this track. Bell starts deep in the field, but I will have him in the Garage just in case he makes his way to the front like I think he will.


Good luck and be sure to follow me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCARI will send out a Tweet during the race to let you know if I plan to swap out one of my drivers for my Garage pick.