The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stops at Richmond International Raceway for the 26th race of the 2014 season, the Federated Auto Parts 400. This event will be one of the most exciting races of the year as drivers attempt to manage the tricky configuration of RIR's "long-short" track. We took a look at past performances, season trends, and talked to NASCAR contacts to shed a light on how the field should finish on Saturday night.
When: Saturday, September 6; 7:46 p.m./et.
Weather: Scattered T-Storms with a high around 94; wind out of the SW at 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
The Track: Richmond International Raceway
Richmondis a .75 mile D-shaped oval. It has fairly flat 14 degree banking in the turns and 8 degree banking on the straights.
Key to Race: SATURDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Saturday night racing seem to bring out the best and worst in NASCAR. Drivers in the Federated Auto Parts 400 will take a few more chances than normal and there should be plenty of bent sheet metal and angry drivers when the checkers fly. Three drivers Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, and Kyle Larson are battling to get in the Chase by points and every other driver without a win will be driving desperate to lock-up a wild card spot.
44 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has been awesome at NHMS and Phoenix this year all tracks similar to Richmond. He is our top pick to win this weekend.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon dominated the spring race at RIR this year, but was passed near the end and took a second place finish. He will be tough again this trip to the track.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick is a three-time winner at RIR and has finished in the top 12 in 18 of the last 20 races at RIR. A top five finish is expected.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano won at RIR this spring. He is a great pick.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has run excellent at RIR during his career. He dominated three of the past four spring races and has 12 top five finishes in 18 career starts at the track.
6 to 10
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has three career wins at RIR. Look for No. 88 to finish in the top five this weekend.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth led the most laps at RIR last spring on his way to a seventh place finish. Look for the crafty veteran to use his skill for another top 10.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson admitted in the past that RIR is a tough track for him, but he has won three of the last 15 races at venue. We all know J.J. drives just a little faster in the nighttime air.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne drove a heck of a race last weekend and secured his spot in the Chase. He has finished in the top 10 in seven of the last 19 races at RIR. He is a fine pick this weekend.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has been terrific at RIR lately and he needs a strong race to make the Chase, but his cars have been slow the past month or so. He will be driving with everything he has this weekend…it unfortunately won’t be enough.
11 to 20
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin is usually a force at the track, but he struggled earlier this season. We don’t like him as anything but a top 15 driver this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards finally appeared to figure out RIR in 2011. He should have the Double-9 sled back inside the top 15.
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch finished second last fall and has notched top 10 results in nine of the past 15 races at the track. A top 15 finish should be expected.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman has been very successful at RIR in the past. He is worth taking a chance on.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has finished ninth or better in seven of the past 20 RIR races. The Biff is the favorite to snag the last spot in the Chase and will likely drive a conservative race to ensure that happens.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: A.J. was awesome at RIR this spring. There are far worse choices.
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.: RIR is one of Truex's favorite tracks. He is a good pick this weekend.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard was awesome at RIR in three of the past four spring races. He is a great fourth driver in most leagues.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: The talented rookie finished 16th earlier this year at RIR. He is a solid choice.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola notched a 17th place finished at RIR this spring. We like his chances.
21 to 30
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Smoke usually is awesome at RIR, but we have to wonder if he can remain focused.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse was great at Richmond last fall, but struggled this spring. We expect he will be okay again this trip to the track.
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers has averaged a 25th place finish at RIR during his career, but he drove a great race this spring. He is an okay choice to fill-out your roster.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has been good in all but two of his first 10 Cup races at Richmond. The Terrific Tasmanian is worth using in most leagues this trip to the track.
No. 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon struggled a bit in his first Cup star at RIR. He should be just a little better this visit.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: This is one of McMurray's worst tracks, but he has been fantastic the past two races. We still can’t recommend him.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears has averaged a top 22 finish the past eight years at RIR. He is a fine sleeper.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Danica should have the No. 10 just inside the top 30 on Saturday.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan has averaged a 21st place finish at RIR during his career. He should have the No. 34 inside the top 30 when the checkers fly.
No. 51 Justin Allgaier: Allgaier has been a bit of a surprise this year. He is a decent fifth driver.
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 23 Alex Bowman
No. 83 Ryan Truex
No. 7 Michael Annett
No. 33 David Stremme
No. 32 Travis Kvapil
No. 66 Joe Nemechek
No. 98 Josh Wise
No. 26 Cole Whitt
No. 36 Reed Sorenson
No. 37 Mike Bliss
No. 75 Clay Rogers
No. 93 J.J. Yeley
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Clint Bowyer
B. Joey Logano
C. Kyle Larson