Race No. 2 of the NASCAR Playoffs will take place at Richmond Raceway. The Cup Series was supposed to compete at Richmond in April but the pandemic put a stop to that. This will be the first race at the track but we can still look at what happened at Richmond last year to help us prepare for the race Saturday night.
Richmond: Federated Auto Parts 400 (2019)
– The Track: Joe Gibbs Racing used the short tracks as their playground in 2019 and the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond was no different. Martin Truex Jr. was looking for a sweep of the races at the track last year and he got it. He was followed to the finish line by his teammate’s No. 2 Kyle Busch and No. 3 Denny Hamlin. (Erik Jones finished 4th but his car was disqualified when it failed post-race inspection). It was a wise choice to fill your Fantasy NASCAR lineups with JGR drivers at the short tracks last year.
The race only had 3 caution flags for accidents. It was very important for the drivers to have a car that could maintain speed over the long runs. The drivers who had the best 10 and 15-lap average speeds in practice performed well in the race.
– The 10 drivers who looked the best in the race: Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson
Race Rewind at Richmond: Federated Auto Parts 400 (2019)
Stage / Race Results
|Stage 1||Stage 2||
|1. Martin Truex Jr||1. Kyle Busch||1. Martin Truex Jr.|
|2. Kyle Busch||2. Martin Truex Jr.||2. Kyle Busch|
|3. Brad Keselowski||3. Denny Hamlin||3. Denny Hamlin|
|4. Denny Hamlin||4. Brad Keselowski||4. Brad Keselowski|
|5. Kevin Harvick||5. Ryan Newman||5. Ryan Newman|
|6. Clint Bowyer||6. Kevin Harvick||6. Kyle Larson|
|7. Matt DiBenedetto||7. Chase Elliott||7. Kevin Harvick|
|8. Chase Elliott||8. Clint Bowyer||8. Clint Bowyer|
|9. Jimmie Johnson||9. Jimmie Johnson||9. Daniel Suarez|
|10. Kurt Busch||10. Kyle Larson||10. Jimmie Johnson|
– Martin Truex Jr. absolutely dominated the first race at Richmond and he did it again in the playoffs. Truex had one of the best cars in practice and that speed translated into race speed. Truex qualified 8th and immediately went to the front. The No. 19 car won Stage 1 and finished 2nd in Stage 2. Truex had a 2.22 average running position, led 109 laps and went to Victory Lane for the 2nd time at Richmond.
– Kyle Busch had the best car in the field but he did not have the long run speed at the end of the race to catch his teammate Martin Truex Jr. Busch qualified 4th and finished 2nd in Stage 1 and won Stage 2. Busch lead a race-high 202 laps and had a race-best 2.12 average running position. The No. 18 car finished 2nd in the race.
– Denny Hamlin entered the race in a great playoff position (29 points above the cut-line) and he was excited to compete at his home track where he has 3 trips to Victory Lane. The No. 11 car qualified 6th and spent the entire race running in the top 10. Hamlin finished 4th in Stage 1 and 3rd in Stage 2. He had a fast car and finished the race in the 3rd position.
– Erik Jones had a fast car in practice and the No. 20 was fast in the race. Jones qualified 16th and quickly made his way inside the top 10. Jones had a 7.68 average running position and made his way inside the top 5 at the end of the race. Unfortunately, the No. 20 car failed inspection and was credited with a 38th place finish.
– Brad Keselowski entered the race at Richmond with the most laps led on the short tracks in 2019. He needed another solid to race in order to advance in the playoffs. Keselowski won the pole and took the early lead. The No. 2 car led 89 laps, finished 3rd in Stage 1 and 4th in Stage 2. His 4th-place finish was a good bounce-back race after having trouble the week before in Las Vegas.
– Joey Logano has a trend of running well in the spring at Richmond and just “OK” in the fall. The trend continued last year. Logano finished 2nd in the spring race at Richmond and he had a lot of problems with the car in practice. Logano qualified 28th, did not score any Stage points but clawed his way to an 11th place finish.
– Ryan Blaney has not been good at Richmond in his career. He has 8 starts in the Cup Series at the track and his average finishing position is 25.5. Blaney finished 25th in the spring race at Richmond so the No. 12 team was looking for a much better performance. Blaney qualified 15th, had a 15.03 average running position (17th best) and finished 17th.
– Kevin Harvick had a fast car but after the race he said, “Those JGR Toyota’s were in another zip code tonight. We had nothing for them.” Harvick had a lot for the rest of the field though. He qualified 2nd, finished 5th in Stage 1, 6th in Stage 2 and 7th in the race. He has 3 wins at Richmond on his resume.
– Clint Bowyer has been pretty good at Richmond in his career. The track ranks as his 5th-best track and he had another solid run in the playoffs at Richmond last year. Bowyer qualified 5th, finished 6th in Stage 1, 8th in Stage 2 and 8th in the race. Not too bad for the No. 14 car.
– Aric Almirola finished 23rd in the spring race at Richmond so the No. 10 team brought a completely different setup to the track in September. The new setup helped a bit, but not enough to make Almirola a top-10 driver. Almirola qualified 7th and fell out of the top-10 early. He did not score any Stage points or lead any laps. Almirola finished the race in the 16th position.
– Chase Elliott said before the race, “Richmond was one of my favorite tracks when I was competing in the Xfinity Series but I cannot seem to find any success at this track in my Cup car.” Elliott qualified 3rd and his car was fast on the short runs but Elliott was “cooking the brakes”. He finished 8th in Stage 1 and 7th in Stage 2. Elliott had to nurse the car home to a 13th place finish to prevent the brakes from being completely gone.
– William Byron has 4 starts in the Cup Series at Richmond and his average finishing position is 17.25. He did not have a good night under the lights at the track last year. Byron qualified 25th and had a hard time moving through the field. Byron had a 23.49 average running position (23rd best) and finished the race in the 24th position.
– Alex Bowman had a horrible car in practice so crew chief Greg Ives changed everything but the seat before the race. Bowman qualified 20th and battled a tight racecar all night. The No. 88 car was involved in an accident on lap 113 with Paul Menard and Austin Dillon. This put Bowman 2 laps down and he finished the race in the 23rd position.
– Jimmie Johnson has 3 wins at Richmond on his resume and he has been one of the most consistent drivers at the track. Johnson has an 8th-place average finishing position in his last 11 races at the track (that is outstanding). Johnson had another top-10 finish last year. The No. 48 car qualified 10th, finished 9th in both Stages and finished 10th in the race.
– Kurt Busch has not had a top-10 finish at Richmond since 2017 (4 races). Busch did not have a good race in his last trip to the track. The No. 1 car qualified 9th, had a 14.03 average running position and finished 18th in the race. Richmond ranks as the 17th best track (out of 23) for Busch, so there are better races to use him at.
– Ryan Newman has always been known as one of the best drivers on the short, flat tracks. Newman finished 9th in the spring race at Richmond and he ran even better in the fall. The No. 6 car qualified 19th, finished 5th in Stage 2 and 5th in the race. Newman scored 14 place differential points and was one of the best picks for your DFS lineup.
– Ricky Stenhouse Jr. only has one finish in the top-10 at Richmond since 2013. He finished 16th in the spring race and his car had nearly the same speed in the fall. Stenhouse qualified 18th, had a 14.21 average running position (15th best) and finished 15th. Stenhouse scored 3 place differential points so he was a decent cheap driver for your DFS lineups.
– Chris Buescher had a poor race in the spring when he qualified 7th and finished 22nd (he scored negative 15 place differential points in DFS contests). His performance in the fall was even worse. Buescher qualified 23rd and most people thought his starting spot was far enough back in the field to make him a good pick in DFS contests. Buescher finished 31st and scored negative points for your DraftKings lineup.
– Austin Dillon has a history of running well at Richmond. The track ranks as the 3rd-best track for Dillon. The No. 3 car entered the race with back-to-back 6th place finishes at Richmond. Dillon did not have the same success in the fall. He qualified 17th, had a 22.14 average running position (21st best) and finished 22nd. His poor performance had a lot to do with a penalty on pit road.
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