Austin Dillon – Richmond is one of Austin Dillon’s worst tracks. In 7 of his 8 starts he’s finished in the twenties. In 3 of his last 4 races he’s finished in the low-twenties. Over those four events he has an 18.5 average finish and a 16.5 average running position. Last fall he was simply a low-twenties performer. When the checkered flag waved he finished 21st, earned the 21st best driver rating and had a 20th place average running position. Last spring Austin Dillon wasn’t competitive and finished 20th. Additionally he had a 19th place average running position and earned the 19th best driver rating. In fall 2016 he had his most successful RIR race and when the checkered flag waved he finished a career best 13th. His average running position in that event was 12th. In spring 2016 he ran well but finished a misleading 20th. He looked 10th to 15th place good but with 96 laps to go he made an unexpected pit stop that dropped him from 14th to 27th, one lap down. On Sunday I think he’ll probably be about a 15th to 20th place driver.
Paul Menard – I’ve never been a fan of picking Paul Menard at shorter flat tracks. They just don’t seem to fit his driving style and his fantasy ceiling isn’t very high. Richmond is one of the last tracks I would pick him. It’s home to his worst average finish (24.6) and he’s only had a result in the top twenty 27% percent of the time. At Richmond, Paul Menard hasn’t been competitive. Over the last five races minus an accident all of his results are between 22nd and 28th. Last fall he didn’t run well. He earned the 23rd best driver rating, had a 23rd place average running position and finished 28th. Last spring Paul Menard was really bad. He finished 25th, had a 26th place average running position and earned the 28th best driver rating. In fall 2016 his race wasn’t incident free and he finished dead last in 40th. On lap 265 while he was running in 15th Stenhouse dive-bombed him in the corner and the result wasn’t good for Menard. In spring 2016 Menard was simply a low-twenties driver. In the race he finished 22nd and had a 24th place average running position.
Trevor Bayne – Don’t overlook Trevor Bayne at Richmond. In 3 of the last 4 races he’s finished in the teens. Over the last four events he has a 17.3 average finish and an 18.5 average running position. I will note his stinker performance last fall weighs him down in those stats. Last fall he had his worst Richmond race and finished 25th. Additionally he had a 26th place average running position and earned the 24th best driver rating. He just didn’t run well. Last spring Bayne finished 13th, had an 18th place average running position and earned the 19th best driver rating. Performance wise I would say he was slightly worse than his result. In fall 2016 he finished 14th, had a 13th place average running position and earned the 13th best driver rating. In spring 2016 he started 17th and finished 17th.