Austin Dillon – At Richmond, Austin Dillon has typically been about 20th place good. His Richmond average finish is 21.1 and in 4 of the last 8 races he’s finished in either 20th or 21st. For the season at shorter-flat tracks his average finish is 17.7. This spring at Richmond he had his best race of the season at a shorter-flat track. In the race he finished 15th, had a 16th place average running position and earned the 16th best driver rating. In 2017 he was about 20th place good in both races. 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. In spring 2017, 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 Richmond 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 Saturday night I think he’ll probably be about a 15th to 20th place driver.
Matt Kenseth – Richmond is a great track for Matt Kenseth, but I don’t have a lot of faith in him driving the #6. Realistically I’m viewing him as a 15th to 20th place performer. In his old #20 ride he was a super-elite performer at Richmond. Last fall, in his most recent race, Kenseth started on the pole, led 89 laps and looked like a top five contender but an accident coming to pit road ruined his evening. In spring 2017 he had a great car but finished 23rd. In the race he started on the pole, led 164 laps but with 36 laps to go while he was running in 10th he had a cut tire. In fall 2016 he had a great car but he wrecked while running in 6th with 65 laps to go. In spring 2016 he had a very solid showing. He finished 7th and earned the 8th best driver rating. In fall 2015 he was dominant leading 352 laps and racing his way to victory lane. In 6 of the 7 races prior to that he finished between 5th to 7th.
Paul Menard – Shorter-flat tracks aren’t an area of strength for Paul Menard. On Saturday night I would view him as a high-teens to low-twenties driver. I’ll note I’m probably being generous. At Richmond in 5 of the last 6 races he’s finished between 22nd to 28th, in the one race he finished outside of that range he wrecked. This spring he didn’t have a good race. He finished 24th, earned the 24th best driver rating and had a 23rd place average running position. Last fall he didn’t run well. He earned the 23rd best driver rating, had a 23rd place average running position and finished 28th. In spring 2017, 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 he finished 22nd.