1) Joey Logano (Starting – 1st) (Odds To Win – 7/1)
What you need to know about him – Joey Logano will be a good fantasy NASCAR pick to win at Richmond. On Sunday he’s starting on the pole. Last fall this race was won from that position. Since he’s driven for Penske at Richmond he’s been to victory lane once and has ranked as one of the strongest performers. In the last three races here he’s the only driver who’s finished in the top six every race. In practice Logano wasn’t a standout on the stop watch but he did have the 11th best ten lap average in Happy Hour.
Richmond History – Joey Logano has been very strong at Richmond recently. In 4 of the last 5 races he’s finished in the top six. This spring he had a great car and was at his best in the first quarter of the event. He finished 5th, led 94 laps and earned the 3rd best driver rating. Last September he was a consistent front runner. He finished 6th, had a 6th place average running position and earned the 6th best driver rating. In spring 2014 he didn’t have the best car but he was able to race his way to victory lane thanks to how the end of the race played out. In that race he was extremely good over short runs and if it wasn’t for late cautions there’s no way he would’ve won. In the race he had a 4th place average running position, earned the 3rd best driver rating and led 46 laps. The fall 2013 Richmond race was a complete debacle for him and he buckled under the Chase pressure and finished 22nd. In his first race in Penske equipment at Richmond he finished 3rd.
Recent Similar Track Trends – This year at shorter-flat tracks Logano has scored the 3rd most points, is one of four drivers who have finished in the top ten every race and has a 5.7 average finish. Also at these venues he has a 5.7 average running position and has led 141 laps.
Momentum – Joey Logano currently has a four race top ten streak. Over the last eight races Logano has scored the most points, has 2 wins, has finished in the top five 75% percent of the time and has only had one result outside of the top ten. His one result outside the top ten came at Pocono where he ran out of fuel while leading.
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2) Brad Keselowski (Starting – 3rd) (Odds To Win – 5/1)
What you need to know about him – Brad Keselowski will be tough to beat at Richmond. He has a great car and over long runs in Happy Hour he really liked his speed. His ten lap average in that session ranked #1 by .2. When he likes his car the competition should be very nervous because he’s looking pretty good in all the other key attributes you want in a fantasy pick at Richmond. He has momentum, a great track record and at similar tracks he’s ranked as one of the strongest performers. After Happy Hour he tweeted, “Very pumped about the speed we have this weekend.” I think it’s pretty safe to say you’ll probably be happy with the outcome if you pick him. On Saturday night he’s starting 3rd, that’s the position this race was won from this spring.
Richmond History – Richmond has been a great track for Brad Keselowski and he’s recently ranked as one of the best drivers. Over the last five races he has the best driver rating, best average running position (5.8), led the most laps (648) and has a misleading 14.4 average finish. This spring he had one of the best cars but walked away with a misleading 17th place result due to losing a cylinder around lap 257 while running around 3rd. If his race would’ve been incident free I think he was a lock for a top five. Last fall he was dominate and the only question I have about him is how he didn’t earn a perfect driver rating. He started first, finished first, had a first place average running position and led 383 laps. His car was unchallenged and over long runs he was the class of the field. In spring 2014 he was good enough to win but Matt Kenseth held him up at the end. When the checkered flag waved he earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 3rd place average running position, finished 4th and led 114 laps. In fall 2013 he had a good car and his 17th place result isn’t reflective of how well he performed. In that event he started 3rd, had a 4th place average running position and led 142 laps. In that race while he was running in the top five he was burned by a caution during the pit cycle which dropped him to the mid-teens.
Recent Similar Track Trends – Since 2014 at shorter-flat tracks Keselowski has a 5.0 average finish, 3.9 average running position and has led 877 laps. In the other two races on this sub-track type this year he’s finished 2nd (New Hampshire) and 6th (Phoenix).
Momentum – Brad Keselowski has lots of momentum entering Richmond. He currently has an 8 race top ten streak. Over this stretch he has a 5.5 average finish and has scored the 3rd most points.
Further Recommended Reading – Richmond Predictions (another fantasy take), Richmond Speed Cheat Sheet (helpful member exclusive), Starting Lineup, Happy Hour Notes, Happy Hour Speeds, Practice #1 Notes, Practice #1 Speeds, PROS Rankings, Scouting Report, Fantasy Value, DraftKings Points From The Last Race
3) Kevin Harvick (Starting – 6th) (Odds To Win – 9/2)
What you need to know about him – Kevin Harvick is one of the drivers to beat week in and week out and Richmond will be no different. He has a fast car and over long runs he has great speed. In practice #1 his ten lap average ranked as the 2nd best and in Happy Hour it ranked as the 4th best. This week there’s really nothing to dislike about Harvick. He has momentum, a great track record and nobody has been better than him at shorter-flat tracks this year.
Richmond History – Richmond has been a great track for Kevin Harvick. He’s won here three-times, has a 10.7 average finish and has led nearly a thousand laps. One attribute that should be noted about him is how safe of a prospect he’s been. In only 3 of his 29 Richmond starts has he finished outside the top twenty. Over the last five Richmond races Harvick has a 6.0 average finish, 6.6 average running position and the 3rd best driver rating. This spring he had a great car but never really had anything for teammate Kurt Busch. In the race he finished 2nd, led 2 laps and earned the 2nd best driver rating. Last fall he was very strong and was the only driver not named Keselowski who led any laps. In that race he finished 5th, had a 3rd place average running position and led 17 laps. It should be noted in that race he was focused heavily on running the high line and at the end his car dropped off a little. In spring 2014 he used the race as a test session. He finished 11th but he was better than his result. In the race he had a 5th place average running position, earned the 5th best drive rating and led 23 laps. In fall 2013 he had one of the best cars but finished a misleading 11th. In that race he was burned by a late caution during the pit cycle while he was running in 2nd and it dropped him back to the teens.
Recent Similar Track Trends – This season at shorter-flat tracks nobody has been better than Harvick. He’s scored the most points and has results of 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Also in these races he has a 3.7 average running position, has led 285 laps and has run 218 fastest laps.
Momentum – Kevin Harvick has four consecutive top five finishes. In only three races this season has he finished outside the top ten and in all three of those races he was running in the top three at the time he had trouble.