Richmond Fantasy NASCAR
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Kyle Busch – Kyle Busch is always tough to beat at Richmond, especially in the spring race. Over his 12 spring races he has 4 wins, 10 top fives, a 5.2 average finish and a 6.5 average running position. Over the last five overall Richmond races Busch has been impressive. In those events he has the best average running position (6.0), the 2nd best driver rating, and a slightly misleading 7.6 average finish. Last fall Busch had a solid showing and came home with a 9th place result. In the race he won Stage #1, finished 10th in Stage #2, earned the 3rd best driver rating and had a 6th place average running position. Performance wise he was really about 6th place good but the late cautions cost him positions. Last spring Kyle Busch had a great car but walked away with a misleading 16th place finish. Performance wise he was likely 2nd place good but late in the race while he was running in 2nd he got a commitment cone violation. In fall 2016 he had a strong car and finished 9th. It should be noted he was better than his result. He used pit strategy late that wasn’t to his benefit. Until the final caution came out he was running in 3rd. Additionally in the race he earned the 5th best driver rating and had a 6th place average running position. In spring 2016 he had a great car and if Carl Edwards didn’t nudge him out of the way he would’ve won. In addition to his second place result he earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 3rd place average running position and led 78 laps. In fall 2015 Busch also finished runner-up. Phoenix is a similar track and earlier this year at that venue he earned the best driver rating, finished 2nd and led a race high 128 laps.

Kevin Harvick – Kevin Harvick an elite performer at Richmond who’ll be a favorite. He’s a three-time winner who’s finished in the top five in 5 of the last 7 races. Last fall he didn’t have an incident free race and made a time-consuming pit stop at the end of Stage #2 to repair some damage to his nose. Prior to getting that damage “Performance Wise” he looked about 8th place good. When the checkered flag waved he finished 15th and had a 13th place average running position. In the three races prior to that he finished 5th. Last spring Harvick was a consistent front runner. In the race he earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 4th place average running position and finished 5th. Additionally he finished 4th in Stage #1 and 3rd in Stage #2. In 2016 he had a great season. He scored the second most points and was the only driver who swept the top five. In fall 2016 had a strong showing and when the checkered flag waved he finished 5th. That’s impressive when you take into account he got a speeding penalty. In spring 2016 he started on the pole, finished 5th, earned the 3rd best driver rating, had a 3rd place average running position and led 63 laps. Phoenix is essentially a reverse Richmond and earlier this year at that venue Harvick raced his way to victory lane, earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 3rd place average running position and led 56 laps. On Saturday night I would look for Harvick to finish in the top five and compete for the win.

Denny Hamlin – Denny Hamlin is a shorter-flat track master who’ll be a favorite. Richmond ranks as one of his best tracks and in recent races he’s consistently performed at a high-level. In his career at Richmond he’s a three-time winner who’s finished in the top five 43% percent of the time and in the top ten 61% percent of the time. Currently at Richmond he has five straight top 6 results. Over that stretch he has the best driver rating and the best average finish (4.2). Last fall Hamlin ran well. He started 2nd and finished 5th. It should be noted prior to the late caution coming out with 4 laps to go he was in 12th. Following the late caution he had a quick stop and wrecked Martin Truex Jr. who was running in 2nd. Last spring Hamlin was one of the best. When the checkered flag waved he finished 3rd, earned the 3rd best driver rating, had a 6th place average running position and has led 59 laps. In fall 2016 Hamlin had a great car and raced his way to victory lane. From the event it should be noted he started on the pole, earned the best driver rating, had a second place average running position and led 189 laps. In spring 2016 he ran well and finished 6th. Additionally he earned the 7th best driver rating and had an 8th place average running position. It should also be noted he had to overcome adversity. During the first round of pit stops under caution while he was running in 3rd he was penalized for having an uncontrolled tire. That dropped him from 3rd to 17th. At Phoenix this spring Hamlin finished 4th, earned the 5th best driver rating and had a 6th place average running position.

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