The Cup Series will begin the short track portion of the schedule when they compete this week at Richmond Raceway. This race will be the first of three short track races in a row (Richmond, Martinsville and Bristol). The Fantasy Live picks need a good race Sunday. If it was not for bad luck, the picks would have no luck at all. OK… enough of the excuses… It is time to get to the picks for Richmond and get this sinking ship afloat.
FANTASY LIVE STRATEGY
So how do we construct our lineup this week? Do we use the drivers who typically run up front at Richmond or do we use the drivers who have been dominating this season. Joe Gibbs Racing dominated the races at Richmond in the previous car but they have not looked good in 2022. Ryan Blaney, Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain and Chase Briscoe have been up front in every race but these drivers do not have the best stats at Richmond. So what do we do?
Joe Gibbs Racing has not looked like they have in the past but maybe they found something. Many of the Toyotas ran upfront in practice so I will take a chance with some of the JGR drivers Sunday. You did not think the Toyotas would be slow in the Toyota Owners 400, did you? This is the signature race for Toyota and I expect their cars to be fast Sunday. I will be mixing the drivers who ran upfront at Phoenix with some of these Toyota’s Sunday.
Here are my picks for the Toyota Owners 400…
FANTASY LIVE LINEUP
RYAN BLANEY (7): Blaney was fast at Phoenix and he looked fast in practice. Blaney led a race-high 143 laps and finished fourth at Phoenix. The No. 12 car posted the fastest speed in practice on every short and long-run speed chart. Blaney won the pole too. Blaney should lead a lot of laps, score a lot of Stage Points and finish in the top-five Sunday.
KYLE BUSCH (10): Busch has been a lot faster than the results show this year. He has a series-high six wins at Richmond and Rowdy has not finished outside the top-10 at this track since 2017 (8 races). Busch posted the fastest speed and qualified third. Busch should score a lot of Stage Points and finish up front Sunday.
MARTIN TRUEX JR (10): Truex has been the best driver at Richmond over the last three seasons and it has not even been close. Truex finished 1st, 5th, 2nd, 1st and 1st in his last five races at Richmond. So can he run that well in the Gen-7 car? Truex posted the fourth-fastest speed on the long-run speed chart and the No. 19 car qualified sixth. This is the best track for Truex so I will take a chance with the No. 19 car Sunday.
KEVIN HARVICK (9): Harvick had his best race of the season on the short, flat track at Phoenix. He started 16th and he finished sixth. Harvick has been good at Richmond in his career. He has finished six of his last seven races at this track in the top-10. Harvick typically does not post fast speeds in practice, but when he does, the No. 4 car is usually fast in the race. Harvick posted the fifth-fastest long-run speed in practice and he starts seventh Sunday. Harick should score a lot of Stage Point and finish in the top-10.
CHRISTOPHER BELL (9): It is tough to trust Joe Gibbs Racing this year but it looks like they have fast cars this week. Richmond is one of the best tracks for Bell. He finished third and fourth in the two races at the track last year. Bell looks fast again this week. Bell posted the third-fast long-run speed in practice and qualified ninth. I had a hard time deciding between Bell and Chastain, but I will go with Bell based on practice speed and past history at the track.
Garage Driver: JOEY LOGANO (6): Logano has been one of the most consistent drivers at Richmond. He has a fifth-place average finishing position at Richmond since 2013 (15 races). That is a lot of success at a track. Logano has been fast this year and he looked fast in practice. Logano posted the sixth-fastest long-run speed and qualified 11th. I will have Logano in the Garage as an insurance policy 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…
Alex Bowman vs. Kyle Busch (My Pick: Kyle Busch)
Ross Chastain vs. Tyler Reddick (My pick is Ross Chastain)
Martin Truex Jr. vs. Kyle Larson (My pick is Martin Truex Jr.)
Denny Hamlin vs. Joey Logano (My pick is Joey Logano)
Good Luck this week!
*Stats from Fantasy Racing CheatSheet Pro
* Team Information from Jaysky.com
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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