Loading scores...
NASCAR Fantasy Live Preview

Fantasy Live: Toyota 400

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway will be the third short track event in the last four race weekends. And while fantasy owners might think there is an advantage to having a short track season, all three of NASCAR’s little tracks are distinctly different.

Martinsville Speedway is a paperclip, Bristol Motor Speedway is a bullring, and Richmond almost defies description. This .75-mile doglegged oval behaves almost as much like one of the unrestricted, intermediate speedways as it does a short track. That means a wide variety of drivers tend to find the front of the pack.

It shares one thing with the other short tracks, however, and that is drivers are constantly in traffic, but unlike Bristol the groove is wide and smart drivers can see trouble developing ahead of them and avoid it.

Joey Logano
This is where Joey Logano’s 2017 season began to unravel. He won the Toyota Owners 400, but a penalty stripped him of all the value for that victory. His performance slowly declined and he has one last shot at getting a berth in the playoffs by winning the regular season-ending Federated Auto Parts 400. He fell a position short and finished second – which was his eighth consecutive top-10 on this track. This is his best opportunity to win during the spring, but even if he doesn’t, a top-10 is in the offing.

Denny Hamlin
Fantasy players can think of Denny Hamlin as a co-favorite along with Logano. The Southern Virginia tracks have been perfectly suited for him during his career as he performs in front of the hometown crowd. He hit a bad patch from 2012 through 2015, but his last five efforts have all been sixth or better – including a win in fall 2016. He needs to rebound from three sub-10th-place results in the past month and is almost certainly going to do so.

Kyle Busch
With his second consecutive Bristol Motor Speedway victory last week, Kyle Busch mounted a late-race charge on Kyle Larson that was reminiscent of the move he put on Erik Jones last fall. That victory was also his second win of the year and it gives him six consecutive top-three finishes this season. No one has more momentum and a top-five is as close to being guaranteed as a fantasy player can expect.

Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick turned what might have been a disastrous weekend into something good at Bristol. He broke something in the suspension in the first practice session and was forced to head to the tail of the field in a backup car. His seventh-place finish might seem like a bit of a disappointment on the heels his earlier victories and top-fives this season, but there is no reason to believe his momentum is gone.

Jimmie Johnson
Last week was the first time this season that we saw any real strength from the No. 48. Bristol is a track that is typically kind to Jimmie Johnson and he charged to the front after going to the back with a tire change. Better still, once he was established with the leaders, he managed to stay with them. Even while he struggled on other tracks in the past couple of years, Richmond has been one of the places he comes to feel good about his performance. He enters the weekend with a seven-race streak of results 11th or better.

Garage Pick

Clint Bowyer
This track has not always been great to Clint Bowyer, but it is the venue that includes some of his highlights. He won a rain-plagued race in fall 2012 and followed that up with a second the next spring. In nine races since then, he has earned only one more top-five and three top-10s. That keeps him from being an automatic starter, but it does make him one of the best garage picks of the Toyota Owners 400.

Red Flag

Martin Truex Jr.
Last week’s 30th-place finish was not Martin Truex Jr.’s fault. Strictly speaking, neither was his 37th at Texas Motor Speedway since it was occasioned by a tire problem, but even unfortunate events can rob a driver of momentum. Moreover, Richmond is not necessarily one of his better tracks with three results of 20th or worse in his last eight attempts. If a fantasy owner was going to rest him for a week, this would be the time to do so. 

 

Driver

Segment
Points

Segments
earning
points

Segment
Wins

Brad Keselowski

100

14

3

Kyle Busch

98

13

2

Kevin Harvick

76

11

4

Kurt Busch

72

13

2

Joey Logano

63

12

 

Martin Truex Jr./p>

60

9

2

Kyle Larson

58

10

 

Ryan Blaney

52

6

2

Clint Bowyer

50

10

 

Denny Hamlin

48

10

1

Jimmie Johnson

24

6

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr./p>

24

5

 

Erik Jones

23

6

 

Chase Elliott

20

6

 

Aric Almirola

20

5

 

Michael McDowell

17

3

 

AJ Allmendinger

14

3

 

Paul Menard

13

4

 

Alex Bowman

13

2

 

Ryan Newman

9

1

 

Darrell Wallace Jr./p>

5

2

 

Ty Dillon

5

1

 

Austin Dillon

4

2

 

Trevor Bayne

4

2

 

Jamie McMurray

4

1

 

Kasey Kahne

2

1

 

Daniel Suarez

1

1

 

William Byron

1

1

 

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 20 years with a little help from his >650,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.