The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stops at Richmond International Raceway for the 26th race of the season, the Federated Auto Parts 400. This event will be one of the most exciting races of the year as it is the final race of the regular season on 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 12; 7:43 p.m./et.
Weather: Scattered showers with a high around 83; wind out of the SE at 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
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. A good indication as to who will be fast this weekend is to look at who was successful at Richmond earlier this year Phoenix, and New Hampshire. Kurt Busch won at RIR earlier this year, Kevin Harvick dominated at Phoenix, and Joey Logano won at NHMS.
45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch dominated at RIR earlier this year. He will be tough to beat.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick dominated at Phoenix this season and he will run fast again this weekend. There is a great chance he will find victory lane again.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski won at RIR last spring and is driving a very fast sled right now. He should be in the mix all night.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Has four career wins at RIR. Get him active in all leagues.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano won at RIR last fall and led 94 laps at the track this year. He is a great pick.
6 to 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 17 races at venue. We all know J.J. drives just a little faster in the cool nighttime air.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has driven well the past month and is no stranger to top finishes at RIR. Look for the crafty veteran to notch another top 10.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon hasn’t won at RIR since 2000, but he finished second in both races last year. He will be fast again.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has three career wins at RIR. Look for No. 88 to finish near the top 10 this weekend.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne needs a win to make the Chase so he will be racing very hungry. A motivated driver is always worth taking a chance on.
11 to 20
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson is another driver that needs a win to make the Chase. He is a great second driver on all fantasy teams this weekend.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has been terrific at RIR lately. He should have no issue cracking the top 15.
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.: RIR is one of Truex's favorite tracks. He is a great pick this weekend.
No. 19 Carl Edwards: Edwards drove a great race last weekend at Darlington and he should have the No. 19 sled back inside the top 15.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin is usually a force at RIR, but he has struggled at the track lately. We don’t like him as anything but a top 15 driver this weekend.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman has been very successful at RIR in the past. He is worth using.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: This has been terrific at RIR the past four races. He is a solid sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: A.J. has been terrific at RIR during his career. Use him in most leagues.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: RIR is one of “Smoke’s” best tracks and he seemed to find some speed during practice at Darlington last week. This is a good weekend to sneak him onto his roster.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has finished ninth or better in seven of the past 22 RIR races. The Biff isn’t a great option this weekend.
21 to 30
No. 6 Trevor Bayne: Bayne notched a 24th finish at RIR earlier this year. We project he will be a little faster this visit to Richmond.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Danica has been decent at RIR the past few years she is not a bad choice to round-out your roster.
No. 55 David Ragan: Ragan has two top five finishes at RIR the past 11 starts at the track. He should be able to get the No. 55 back inside the top 20 with a little luck.
No. 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon hasn’t been great at RIR during his career. He should just miss the top 20 this trip to the track.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard was awesome at RIR in four of the past four spring races. He is a great fourth driver in most leagues.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola notched top 20 finishes at RIR the past three races. We like his chances.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse has had one good race at RIR and three mediocre races at the track. He is just an average pick this weekend.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears has been very average at RIR during his career. This isn’t the weekend to take a chance on him.
No. 51 Justin Allgaier: The “Riverton Rocket” surprised with a top 20 finish at RIR earlier this year. He is a decent fourth or fifth driver.
No. 40 Landon Cassill: Cassill cruised to a 26th place finish at Richmond earlier this season. He is a deep sleeper pick.
No. 7 Alex Bowman
No. 9 Sam Hornish Jr.
No. 23 Jeb Burton
No. 26 J.J. Yeley
No. 30 Josh Wise
No. 32 Jeffery Earnhardt
No. 33 Brian Scott
No. 34 Brett Moffitt
No. 35 Cole Whitt
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 46 Michael Annett
No. 62 Reed Sorenson
No. 83 Matt DiBendetto
No. 95 Michael McDowell
No. 98 Timmy Hill
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
B. Kasey Kahne