This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.
Federated Auto Parts 400
Location: Richmond, Va.
Course: Richmond Raceway
Format: 0.75-mile D-shaped oval
Martin Truex Jr. won last week in Las Vegas to secure his presence in the round of 12. Ford cars dominated the night with Joey Logano leading 105 laps and Kevin Harvick spending 47 laps out front but none was fast enough to overcome Truex long runs. The win is another feather in the cap for Joe Gibbs Racing, but Truex is probably the only JGR driver to leave last weekend on a high note. Regular-season champion Kyle Busch had trouble with back markers and made contact with the wall while Erik Jones had a mechanical failure and Denny Hamlin couldn't keep the handling in his machine throughout the night. The rest of the garage will have to regroup for the second of three races in this first segment of the championship. Jones, Las Vegas pole sitter Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, and Ryan Newman are all on the outside looking in at the final spots available to avoid elimination. It could be tough for anyone to make an impact, though. This week the series heads back to Richmond Raceway were Truex led 186 laps to win earlier this season.
Key Stats at Richmond Raceway
• Number of previous races: 126
• Winners from pole: 23
• Winners from top-5 starters: 72
• Winners from top-10 starters: 97
• Winners from 21st or lower starters: 11
• Fastest race: 109.047 mph
Last 10 Richmond Winners
2019 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
2018 fall - Kyle Busch
2018 spring - Kyle Busch
2017 fall - Kyle Larson
2017 spring - Joey Logano
2016 fall - Denny Hamlin
2016 spring - Carl Edwards
2015 fall - Matt Kenseth
2015 spring - Kurt Busch
2014 fall - Brad Keselowski
Richmond is the final short-track race on the 2019 schedule and has been dominated by Toyota in recent years. The manufacturer won six of the last eight races at the track with most of those credited to JGR drivers. Kyle Busch swept the two races there last season and Truex will attempt to match that feat this week after tallying the first short-track win of his career there in April. The D-shaped oval has a wide surface but favors drivers that qualify up front. More than 75% of the 126 series races run at the track have been won by drivers starting inside the top 10 and more than half of the victors have started inside the top five. Getting off to a quick start with a fast lap time will be a good signal for fantasy players as they look for drivers worthy of their rosters. Maintaining corner speed, which is just short-hand for chassis handling and tire management, will be a deciding factor Saturday night. Equally important at a short track is track position. Richmond's short distance doesn't open the door to significant plays on strategy and getting behind the lead lap early will be a long battle to return to the fight. Therefore, there will be a heavy emphasis on staying free of mistakes and making the right calls on pit road.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Kyle Busch has had a hard time returning to Victory Lane the last few months but his speed remains unquestioned. He has six Richmond wins and led more than 30 laps in each of the last four races at the track. He is hungry for a win and might make the breakthrough this week. Chase Elliott led 34 laps in this race last season, finished 15th despite starting 32nd in the spring, and had three consecutive Richmond top-10s before this season. He has only finished outside of the top 10 once in the last six races this season, too. Richmond has been good for Clint Bowyer, and this week's visit could come at the perfect time for him. He is working to climb out of the elimination spots in the playoffs. A top-10 Saturday night would help his cause and it would be his fourth consecutive at the track. Chris Buescher and Austin Dillon might actually have their prices reversed this week, but both could be promising choices for Saturday night. Buescher doesn't have a Richmond top 10 but he continues to deliver top-20 finishes nearly every week this season and was fastest in Friday's practice. Dillon, on the other hand, has recently been a consistent top-15 runner and he has back-to-back sixth-place Richmond finishes heading into this week's race. His teammate Daniel Hemric may not be in Richard Childress Racing's plans in 2020 but he still has something to prove this season and the remaining races could serve as an audition for opportunities to continue in the series next year.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Kevin Harvick lacked the late-run pace to battle for the win last week but he remains one of the drivers with the most momentum this week. He has three Richmond wins and was fifth, second, and fourth in the last three races while starting from pole in the last two. Kyle Larson still hasn't found his breakthrough in 2019 but his average Richmond finish of 12.2 from 11 career starts is a good reason to consider him this week. Alex Bowman is also worth a look after finishing sixth last week. He seeks to prolong his stay in the playoffs and another top-10 this week would go a long way toward making that a reality. A potential substitute in his slot could be Clint Bowyer. Ryan Newman continued his impressive string of good form last week and returns this week to one of his better tracks. He won here in 2003 and was an impressive showing in ninth place earlier this year. Short tracks are one of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s strengths. He was 16th here earlier this season and had a run to fourth place here in 2017. Darrell Wallace Jr. finishes the higher-risk lineup after another respectable outing last week in Las Vegas. He doesn't have the equipment necessary to run at the front but can pull off surprise results despite the handicap. He has an average finish of 26.3 from three Richmond starts.