Welcome to race #28 of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season (and race #2 of the Playoffs)! With the incredibly awful “condensed” schedule this weekend, NASCAR Fantasy players couldn’t really make picks until after inspection on Saturday afternoon, so I’ll make this intro quick. Let’s get down to the picks for Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway, the final Saturday night race of the season.
Click here for the starting lineup for Saturday night’s race at Richmond Raceway. You can also find the speeds from Practice #1 on Friday by clicking here. For speeds from the second practice (Happy Hour), click here.
*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on Sunday.*
Federated Auto Parts 400 Slingshot Picks
EDIT: After inspection, I decided to go with: Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Ty Dillon, Bubba Wallace
Joey Logano ($12,500) – Here’s the chalk play of the week, so if you’re feeling risky and want to roll the dice, know that Logano is probably going to be the highest-owned driver tonight. That means if you don’t pick him and he has issues, that opens up the door to gain a lot of points on other teams. Of course, if he finishes as expected, Logano is going to be one of the highest-scoring drivers tonight, too. For the record, if you want to pivot off of Joey to someone else, there’s enough money left over with this lineup to grab Martin Truex, Jr. ($13,500), which would be my replacement pick. Anyway, Logano qualified back in 28th this weekend and has four top 5s in the last five Richmond races. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? Personally, I don’t think that this #22 Ford is fast enough for the top 5 tonight, but a top 10 is within reach. And the Fantasy Racing Online algorithm agrees with me. It’s been six years since Logano has had a “bad” finish (outside of the top 15) here at Richmond and I don’t expect that to change this weekend.
Kyle Larson ($11,500) – Believe it or not, Richmond is the site of Kyle Larson’s last Cup Series win. Yep, he went to victory lane in September of 2017 here, so he’s in quite a dry spell if you think about it. Now, I don’t think the #42 Chevrolet is good enough to get back to victory lane here in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400, but I still think Larson has a shot at a top 5. Momentum-wise, Larson is red-hot, with seven of the last nine Cup Series races overall ending with him in 8th or better, and here at Richmond he’s finished 7th or better in three of the last four. Speed-wise, Kyle ranked 8th-best in 30-lap average during Happy Hour on Friday, and he qualified 13th, so he has some room to move up and grab place differential points.
William Byron ($9,300) – William Byron is one of those drivers that I think quite a few people are going to overlook tonight. But with his 7th-place finish at Las Vegas last weekend, Willy B now has back-to-back top 10 finishes and has also ended up inside that range in four of the last seven overall races. As far as Richmond goes, Byron ran 13th here in April and also has a 12th-place finish on his resumé. The #24 Chevrolet was 25th-fastest in qualifying here on Friday and if Byron can eek out another top 10 on Saturday night, you’re looking at a huge Slingshot points night out for a driver in this price range. William ranked 9th-best in 30-lap average during final practice on Friday.
Ryan Newman ($9,000) – Another guy that looked very good on the long runs during practice on Friday was “The Rocketman,” Ryan Newman. This #6 team keeps chugging along with good finish after good finish, and I’ve long said that flat tracks are where the Roush-Fenway cars are at their best. Newman started 24th and finished 9th here at Richmond back in April, his first start here with RFR, and over the last five races at this track, he has just one result worse than 15th. Newman qualified 19th this weekend and should be able to get a decent chuck of positive place differential points on Saturday night.
Ty Dillon ($6,600) – Here’s a guy that has quietly found his groove back. Ty Dillon was one of the most reliable low-tier drivers in the NASCAR Fantasy world last season, but kind of got off to a rough start this year. Now, with their 16th-place finish at Las Vegas last weekend, this #13 team has five straight top 20 finishes in Cup Series action, with a decent shot at grabbing a sixth in a row. Looking at recent Richmond races, Ty Dillon has finished between 20th and 22nd in three of the last four. The #13 Chevrolet qualified 31st-fastest here on Friday so there’s some good place differential potential there as well, especially at this price point.