The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is already eight races into the season and allocations with the top drivers are starting to run out. This week I am giving Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Erik Jones the week off. I plan to use their allocations on the 1.5-mile intermediate tracks since they have run so well at those tracks this season.
Here are my picks for the Toyota Owners 400…
Kyle Busch (7): Well let’s try this again. I was burned by Busch last week and after a lot of words you would not want your children to hear, I am latching my wagon to the No. 18 car again this week.
Busch has by far the best career stats at Richmond. He was also very fast in practice. He had the 2nd-fastest car on the 20-lap average speed and the fastest car on the 30-lap average speed. I expect a lot of green flag laps Sunday and Busch has the best car on the long runs. He just needs to hope he does not have tire issues again.
* Martin Truex Jr. is my #1 driver in this group. I wish I had him on my team. Kyle Busch is #2 followed by Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth
Clint Bowyer (7): Bowyer looked very fast in all the practices and he has a lot of momentum coming into the race. The No. 14 team finished 2nd last week at Bristol and Richmond is a better track for him. Denny Hamlin commented on how fast Bowyer was in practice. That is a good sign for the No. 14 car.
Ryan Newman (8): Do you feel like playing it safe or do you feel like gambling this week? Ryan Newman is the safe pick while Kurt Busch has a lot more risk.
Busch has one of the fastest cars. He was 6th-fastest in final practice. The problem is that the car was firing on 7 cylinders and they fixed a faulty spark plug wire. Then the car had an electrical issue that shut off all of the fans in the car (It will be about 120 degrees in the car Sunday). They fixed that problem too. Busch has a chance to win the race Sunday if their luck to turn around.
After Busch burned me last week, I am playing it safe with Ryan Newman. His car was not nearly as fast as the 41 car but he is a safe pick for a top 15 finish. If everything works out well like it did at Phoenix, Newman could finish in the top five.
* Clint Bowyer is my top choice in Group B. I like Chase Elliott too but I would save the allocation with the No. 24 car. McMurray is the next best followed by Ryan Blaney and Ryan Newman.
Daniel Suarez (8): I was really impressed with Suarez this week. He has the car that won this race last year and you can tell by his performance. Suarez qualified 11th and ran in the top 15 in most of the practices. The Xfinity Series race Saturday should help him on Sunday. The Toyotas are fast this week. I would not be surprised to see Suarez finish in the top 15.
* Erik Jones has the best car in Group C but I am saving him for the 1.5-mile tracks. Daniel Suarez is a great choice and Ty Dillon should finish near the top 20. I would not recommend the other drivers.
Good luck this week!
Follow me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR