The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Richmond, Virginia this week for the Toyota Owners 400. The race can be seen Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on Fox. Be sure to test your knowledge of NASCAR by competing in Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing.
Richmond is one of the best tracks on the circuit. It is a D-shaped track that is .75-mile in distance. The extra quarter-mile and the shape of the track provide for high speeds for a short track. While drivers had to run the bottom of the track at Martinsville and the top at Bristol, they will have an opportunity to move around since there are multiple grooves to race this week. The teams with a savvy crew chief will run well Sunday.
Richmond is different in size and shape than the previous two short tracks (Martinsville and Bristol), but the results will likely be the same. The drivers who ran well in the first two short track races will be the drivers fantasy teams will want to build their teams around this week.
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Kurt Busch led 291 of the 400 laps on his way to Victory Lane in the spring race at Richmond in 2015. The fall race was dominated by Matt Kenseth. He led 352 of the 400 laps. Both of these drivers will be good options for your Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing team this week.
Here are the results from the two races at Richmond International Raceway in 2015:
2015 Toyota Owners 400 Results
- Kurt Busch
- Kevin Harvick
- Jimmie Johnson
- Jamie McMurray
- Joey Logano
2015 Federated Auto Parts 400 Results
- Matt Kenseth
- Kyle Busch
- Joey Logano
- Aric Almirola
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Qualifying will not be as important this week as it was at Bristol. Carl Edwards won the pole and led most of the laps last week. There will be more passing in the race Sunday, so selecting drivers who start deeper in the field will be important. The scoring system for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing rewards drivers who improve their position in the race more than the drivers who lead the most laps. Fantasy teams should select the top drivers who qualify outside the top 10 in the Toyota Owners 400.
Pick to Win
Kyle Busch ($13,100) had a rough race at Bristol, but I expect the No. 18 team to bounce back this week and make their way back to Victory Lane. Busch leads the series in wins at the track (4) and he finished second in the last race at Richmond. Busch should be motivated this week after the tire issues in the last race.
Kevin Harvick ($14,100) has won two races at Richmond and he has run well at the track since joining Stewart-Haas Racing. Harvick has finished the last four races at Richmond in the top 14 and has led laps in three of them. He has the fifth-best average finishing position and the fifth-best driver ranking in the last two seasons at the track. Harvick will likely be up front Sunday.
Joey Logano ($11,700) has been the best driver at Richmond the last two years. He won the pole for both races in 2015 and finished five of the last six races at the track in the top six. Logano has a series-best average finishing position and the second-best driver ranking in the last four races at Richmond. He is the safest pick in the field this week.
Brad Keselowski ($11,100) has been very consistent in the last five races at Richmond. His average finishing position in these races is 9.4 and Keselowski has led 648 laps in the races. Keselowski has a series-best driver ranking in the last four races at the track. The Blue Deuce should easily finish in the top 10 Sunday.
Matt Kenseth ($8,200) has led laps in every race this season but he continues to be struck by bad luck. Sooner or later his season has to turn around and it could happen this week at Richmond. Kenseth has finished six of his last seven races at the track in the top seven. Kenseth is too cheap and offers too much upside this week to avoid at his current price.
Aric Almirola ($8,700) has not had much luck on the two short tracks this season, but he should run well at Richmond. Almirola qualified 24th and raced his way to a fourth-place finish in the last race at the track. Almirola has finished three of the last six races at Richmond in the top 10. The No. 43 should run inside the top 15 this week.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,900) has been one of the surprise drivers of the 2016 season. The No. 17 car continues to run in the top 15. Last week he qualified 32nd and finished 16th. Stenhouse actually raced better than his finishing position suggest. Fantasy teams should expect another solid run from Stenhouse at Richmond.
Chase Elliott ($6,100) is by far the best value pick in the Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing game. His price finally went up $1,100 this week, but Elliott is still significantly underpriced. Elliott has the fourth-best average finishing position in the last five races and will enter Sunday's race after back-to-back top-five finishes. Elliott should be on every fantasy team this week.
Ryan Blaney ($5,200) has never competed in a Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond but he has finished all four of his races in the Xfinity Series in the top 10 at the track. Blaney is a quick learner and his alliance with Team Penske should help him this week. Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski are two of the best drivers at the track and they work well with Blaney. He is a great pick for the near minimum price.
Here are my picks for the Toyota Owners 400 for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing:
Driver 1: Kyle Busch $13,100
Driver 2: Kurt Busch $11,500
Driver 3: Brad Keselowski $11,100
Driver 4: Matt Kenseth $8,200
Driver 5: Chase Elliott $6,100
FOX Fantasy Auto Resources
And don't forget - prizes are on the line each race of the fantasy season! First, second and third place each win a prize. Plus, each race builds your point total for larger segment and season prizes.