Daily Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview & Picks for DraftKings - Toyota Owners 400
Chris Durell will be bringing you his weekly race breakdown, top trends, and pre-qualifying targets to help you cash on DraftKings and FanDuel. You can also grab a copy of his free DFS NASCAR Cheatsheet that includes a ton of stats and a customizable model.
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Toyota Owners 400
Richmond International Raceway
Track - .75 Mile D-Shaped Oval Short Track
14° of Banking
This week the Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Richmond, another track with a long history in NASCAR. It started back in 1953 with Lee Petty winning the inaugural race and has seen legend Richard Petty win a record seven straight here and stretch where he won nine of 10 here from 1970 to 1975.
This will be the second straight short track race so that means the same rules package as Bristol with the 750 HP tapered spacer and taller rear spoiler. From a fantasy perspective, we have seen one driver lead 100 or more laps in each of the last six races and only once have there been two drivers to lead 100+. There have also been at least three drivers to lead 50+ laps in four straight five of the last six races. Moving through the field is not as tough here and we have seen at least six drivers pickup double-digit place differential in five straight races here.
Let's jump in and take a look at some race trends and some of the top drivers to target this week.
Last Six Winners at Richmond
- Kyle Busch(started 11th, led 92 laps)
- Kyle Busch(started 32nd, led 32 laps)
- Kyle Larson(started 4th, led 53 laps)
- Joey Logano(started 5th, led 25 laps)
- Denny Hamlin(started 1st, led 189 laps)
- Carl Edwards(started 4th, led 151 laps)
Track History at Richmond
Guess who? Kyle Busch coming off his third win of the season now returns to Richmond where he won both races in 2018 starting outside the Top 10 in both races. He has also tallied Top 10's in six of his last seven trips and leads all active drivers with six career wins here. It appears the Top 10 streak will continue!
While Kyle has won the last two races here, Joey Logano has been a touch more consistent with a win, three Top 5's, and a 5.3 average finish in the last four races. Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin join Logano as the only other two drivers with three Top 5's in the last four races and they have identical 6.8 average finishes and both have three career wins at the track.
This is definitely not Martin Truex Jr's best track as he owns a 19.2 average finish in 26 races but he has come close lately. He has just two Top 10's in his last four race here but has led 100+ laps(482 total) in three straight races with a series-leading 4.0 average running position in those races.
Kyle Larson has three straight Top 10's here including a win which is his last win in the Cup series.
From a value perspective, I will once again be watching Daniel Suarez closely on Friday through practices and qualifying. Hw has now raced here in the Cup Series four times with two Top 10's and an 11.5 average finish.
Track Type History(Short Tracks)
Kyle Busch added to his short track dominance last week with a win at Bristol and has now won the last two races at both Bristol and Richmond. He has finished Top 5 or better in nine of his last 11 short track races with six wins and 814 laps led.
Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski are the only other drivers with multiple wins on short tracks since the start of the 2017 season. Logano has been the more consistent of the two with eight Top 5's and a 7.8 average finish in that time(Keselowski - 12.2 avg fin).
Other drivers who stand out are Denny Hamlin with three straight short track Top 5 finishes, Clint Bowyer with Top 10's in both short track races this season and Top 10's in eight of his last nine short-track races overall.
From a value perspective, rookie Ryan Preece stands out as he has Top 25 finishes in both short track races this season. He also won two(Iowa, Bristol) of his last three short track races in the Xfinity Series.
Leading the way is none other than Kyle Busch who picked up his third win of the season last week. It was also his 10th straight Top 10 finish and fourth win since the Phoenix race in November. He is the only driver in the Cup series with a Top 10 in every race and he also leads all drivers with six Top 5's in the first eight races. Finally, he is absolutely dominating from a fantasy perspective with an average of 86.8 DK/82.4 FD points per race.
Right in his teammates rearview is Denny Hamlin who has two wins on the season(Daytona 500, Texas) and is second to Busch in both Top 5's(5) and Top 10's(7). He has been a much better play on FanDuel in the early going as he has yet to lead 100 total laps and always qualifies well so doesn't get the place differential points.
Looking at wins, Team Penske teammates Joey Logano(1) and Brad Keselowski(2) remain the only other drivers to win a race in 2019. Keselowski has two wins, they both have four Top 5's but Logano has the slight edge with a 9.9 average finish(Keselowski - 11.5).
Former teammates Kurt Busch(8.6 average finish) and Kevin Harvick(9.2 average finish) have had solid starts to the season despite not winning. Each has three Top 5's and six Top 10 finishes in the first eight races.
Post Qualifying Targets
Kevin Harvick/Kyle Busch
It is a limited sample size of practice, but Busch and Harvick look to be the cars to beat this week.
Kyle Busch saw his price go up again but hard to argue with the run he is on with 10 straight Top 10's with four wins going back to the Phoenix race in the playoffs. He also won both races here last year and leads all active drivers with six career wins at the track.
Kevin Harvick has yet to win in 2019 but has been very consistent with six Top 10's in his last seven races since Daytona. He has also finished Top 5 here at Richmond in two straight and five of his last six trips. The #4 starts from the pole and will have a good shot at leading a ton of laps early and also has winning upside.
It has been quite a roller coaster ride for Blaney in the early season as he has finished outside the Top 20 four times but has Top 5 finishes in the other four races. He has not been very good here at Richmond with a career-best 18th place finish but is starting 18th this week and gives us a ton of place differential upside as he showed Top 10 speed in practice. His best value comes on FanDuel where he is the 10th most expensive driver.
This one feels like a huge buy-low on DraftKings in the sub $9K range. Hamlin is second in the points standings with two wins and is second to teammate Busch in Top 5's and TOp 10's through eight races. He also returns to Richmond with three career wins and has Top 10's in six of his last seven races here.
Suarez has quietly been very consistent lately as he enters this week coming off three straight Top 10 finishes at Bristol, Texas, and Martinsville. He now returns to Richmond where he has two Top 10's and an impressive 11.5 average finish in four races. Starting 9th, however, I will be limiting most of my exposure to FanDuel where finish position is much more important than dominator points.
In the punt range, one of my favorite values is Michael McDowell who is starting 25th but showed us Top 20 speeds in both one-lap and 10-lap averages in the only practice. His track history isn't great but he has finished better than this week's starting position in three of his last five trips.
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for five years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is an active player in NFL, MLB, NHL, PGA, and of course NASCAR. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jager_Bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any NASCAR questions or how he copes with the winters up north.
- NASCAR Phoenix Auto Racing: (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)