The Setup – Federated Auto Parts 400 Race Preview

By Tyler Miller

 

This week, NASCAR visits Richmond Raceway for the Federated Auto Parts 400. This is the second race of the playoffs and NASCAR’s second visit to Richmond this season. Martin Truex Jr. won at Richmond on April 13th, beating Joey Logano by 0.178 seconds. Truex is coming off a win at Las Vegas on Sunday, can he keep the hot streak going Saturday night?

Race Distance: 400 laps. Stage 1 ends on lap 100, Stage 2 ends on lap 200.

Lineup Lock 7:30 pm eastern Saturday

Previous winners – Martin Truex Jr. started 5th (Spring 2019) – Kyle Busch started 11th (Fall 2018)

Previous pole sitters: Kevin Harvick (Spring) – Kevin Harvick (Fall)

Prior race winners: Spring, Fall

2018: Kyle Busch (started 32nd)
2017: Joey Logano (5th), Kyle Larson (4th)
2016: Carl Edwards (4th), Denny Hamlin (1st)
2015: Kurt Busch (3rd), Matt Kenseth (2nd)
2014: Joey Logano (17th), Brad Keselowski (1st)

Las Vegas Recap:

What went right?

Las Vegas was a profitable race. Victory Lane identified the drivers finishing 2-7 in Fan Duel Scoring (Logano, Keselowski, Harvick, Blaney, and Bowman). Corey LaJoie was the right value play finishing 28th, 2 laps down, +5 in differential, and ahead of all the other value drivers. Avoiding Bubba Wallace and Matt DiBenedetto was the right move. I also completely avoided Kyle Busch which ended up working out thanks to multiple incidents throughout the night. The core lineup given in Victory Lane (Logano, Harvick, Bowman, and LaJoie) left players with a decision between Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, and Aric Almirola. The best scenario would have been using Blaney. I personally used Jones in cash lineups and still narrowly cashed in all 50/50 contests even though Jones had mechanical trouble and finished the race 36th. My cash lineup (4, 22, 32, 20, 88) scored 283.2. Using Blaney instead of Jones would have scored 329.6.

What went wrong?

The only driver I really missed was Martin Truex Jr. Truex started the race 24th, led 32 laps and won the race with 84.4 points on Fan Duel. Erik Jones also ended up being a miss, but because of his 26th place starting position, and correctly identifying the rest of the core cash lineup, Jones was not a lineup killer. I also wrote up Ricky Stenhouse Jr. but designated him as a tournament play only. Stenhouse did not work out, finishing the race 26th.

What to watch for in practice/qualifying:

Can Drivers Pass? We had an advantage at Las Vegas because I was correct in assessing that certain drivers set up their cars with higher down force for better handing in the race. These drivers qualified poorly but ran well, perfect for DFS contests. Richmond will not be like that at all. Every team will set up the cars for maximum down force and starting position will largely dictate racing position. Using the pole sitter in DFS may be the right move if drivers are unable to make passes through the field. There may be a few exceptions to this, particularly if drivers fail inspection and have to forfeit qualifying position for a starting position in the 30s.

Lean on Playoff Contenders As the playoffs progress we will need to focus more on playoff drivers. Playoff drivers will likely qualify up front and finish up front at Richmond. Determining the right mix of high salary drivers with the right value play will be key in setting DFS lineups this weekend. The further along we go into the playoffs, the less likely we will find mid-range drivers who will finish up front.

Virginia is for Hamlin Denny Hamlin has strong career stats at Richmond but he is coming off a disappointing race at Las Vegas to open the playoffs. Watch Hamlin during practice and qualifying to see if he is capable of winning the race Saturday night.

What Vegas thinks (via Westgate):

Kyle Busch is the favorite to win on Saturday night. The winner will likely come from the first 6 drivers listed. I like the drivers with 6-1 odds, Hamlin, Truex, and Harvick.

Kyle Busch: 3-1
Denny Hamlin: 6-1
Martin Truex Jr: 6-1
Kevin Harvick: 6-1
Joey Logano: 7-1
Brad Keselowski: 8-1
Kyle Larson: 14-1
Chase Elliott: 16-1
Erik Jones 16-1
Clint Bowyer: 20-1

Driver Ratings at Richmond:

1. Kevin Harvick 110.4
2. Kyle Busch 110.2
3. Denny Hamlin 107.2
4. Brad Keselowski 98.2
5. Kurt Busch 95.3
6. Clint Bowyer 93.9
7. Joey Logano 91.7
8. Martin Truex Jr 89.7
9. Jimmie Johnson 89.1
10. Kyle Larson 88.7
11. Ryan Newman 88.1
12. Chase Elliott 83.3
13. William Byron 79.2
14. Jamie McMurray 79.1
15. Aric Almirola 76.7

Average Running Position at Richmond:

1. Kevin Harvick 7.214
2. Kyle Busch 7.717
3. Denny Hamlin 8.349
4. Brad Keselowski 10.542
5. Clint Bowyer 12.053
6. Kurt Busch 12.420
7. Ryan Newman 12.483
8. Kyle Larson 12.898
9. Joey Logano 13.092
10. William Byron 14.146
11. Martin Truex Jr 14.254
12. Chase Elliott 14.431
13. Jimmie Johnson 14.720
14. Jamie McMurray 16.683
15. Austin Dillon 17.239

2019 Spring top 10:

1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Joey Logano
3. Clint Bowyer
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Austin Dillon
7. Brad Keselowski
8. Kyle Busch
9. Ryan Newman
10. Paul Menard

2018 Fall top 10

1. Kyle Busch
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Chase Elliott
5. Aric Almirola
6. Austin Dillon
7. Kyle Larson
8. Jimmie Johnson
9. Brad Keselowski
10. Clint Bowyer

Stay tuned for updated content following a full day of practice and qualifying on Friday.

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