Richmond has earned the moniker, “The Action Track.” It’s an extremely racy venue and on Sunday we’ll see drivers all over the track, running low and high. Historically the low-line has been the way to win and on Sunday that’s where the winner will run.
At Richmond starting up front is very important. The last five races have been won from a top four starting position. When you go about looking for a driver to win, make sure their starting near the front (click here for the full starting lineup).
Practice is very important this weekend. Between the two sessions Happy Hour is by far the more important practice of the two. Make sure you check out our practice notes from both sessions (Practice #2 – Happy Hour). Also make sure you check out practice speeds (Practice #2 – Happy Hour). One tool you can use to compare practice speeds between the two sessions is our Speed Cheat Sheet.
One quick way to find all practice data is to check out our Practice Notes / Practice Speeds Center.
NOTE: This is a combined Post Practice Predictions / Confidence Rankings Picks post. Regular posts will resume next weekend.
1) Kyle Busch (Starting – 7th)
Richmond Fantasy Spin – Picking Kyle Busch in the Spring Richmond race is one of the most sure things in fantasy NASCAR. In this particular event he’s only once finished lower than 4th. In practice he had a stellar car and had the best 30 lap average. Being good over long runs will be crucial on Sunday and in practice nobody was better than him at that. When it comes to racing at shorter flat tracks Kyle Busch is one of the premiere performers in the series. I view Phoenix as essentially a reverse Richmond and earlier this year at that venue he had the dominant car (best driver rating, led 114 laps) and was a lock to win if a late caution didn’t come out. On Sunday look for Kyle Busch to run extremely well, finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Richmond Track History – Richmond is a great track for Kyle Busch and its home to his second best average finish (6.9). Over his career at “The Action Track” he has 4 wins, has finished in the top five 65% percent of the time and in the top ten 74% percent of the time. Over the last three Richmond races Busch has a 4.3 average finish and a 4.3 average running position. Last fall at Richmond Kyle Busch finished 9th but if there wasn’t a late caution he would’ve finished 3rd. In spring 2016 he had a great car and if Carl Edwards didn’t nudge him on the last lap he would’ve won. Additionally in the race he earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 3rd place average running position and led 78 laps. In fall 2015 he finished 2nd, earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 4th place average running position and led 9 laps.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,600
2) Martin Truex Jr. (Starting – 3rd)
Richmond Fantasy Spin – Martin Truex Jr. has a 20.5 average finish at Richmond, but don’t let that scare you away. He’s run very well here recently and has finished in the top ten in 3 of the last 4 races. In all of his incident free races since fall 2013 he’s finished in the top ten. On Sunday I expect him to run very well and compete for a top five. In practice his car looked really good in the corners.
Richmond Track History – Martin Truex Jr. has performed at a high-level at Richmond and when he’s avoided problems he’s been very good. In 2016 he had a great year at “The Action Track” scoring the 3rd most points and being one of seven drivers who finished in the top ten both races. Last fall a solid case could be made that he had the best car. In that race he finished 3rd, earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 3rd place average running position and led a race high 193 laps. That’s even more impressive when you take into account he got a speeding penalty. In spring 2016 he finished 9th but I’ll note he might’ve had top five potential if his race played out smoother for him. In fall 2015 he finished 32nd but it should be noted his race wasn’t incident free. While he was running in 14th on lap 38 he got into the wall and damaged his car. In spring 2015 he had a strong showing. When the checkered flag waved he finished 10th, had a 6th place average running position and earned the 6th best driver rating.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $9,100
3) Kevin Harvick (Starting – 6th)
Richmond Fantasy Spin – Kevin Harvick should be on your short list of favorites at Richmond. It’s a great track for him and it ranks as one of his best. In 4 of the last 5 races at RIR he’s finished in the top 5, you have to love that level of fantasy production. On Sunday I would look for him to compete for another top five. One attribute I like about Harvick is that his team is starting to perform better and he’s entering the weekend with back to back top 4 finishes. In practice he wasn’t a “stop watch standout” but I’m sure he’ll be just fine on Sunday. Late in a run he had really quick lap times.
Richmond Track History –Richmond is a good track for Harvick that ranks as one of his best. At RIR he’s a three-time winner who’s finished in the top ten 63% percent of the time. Last year at Richmond Harvick had a strong season and was the only driver who swept the top five. Last fall he ran well and finished 5th despite having to overcome a speeding penalty. In spring 2016 he was a consistent front runner. That afternoon he finished 5th, earned the 3rd best driver rating, had a 3rd place average running position and led 63 laps. In August 2015 he was likely in R&D mode and finished 14th. In the two races prior to that he had results of 2nd and 5th.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,400