The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stops at Richmond International Raceway for the 26th race of the 2013 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 and secure the final spots in The Chase for the Sprint Cup. 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 7, 2013; 7:44 p.m./et.
Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 82; wind out of the NNE at 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is zero.
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 Toyota Owners 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.
44 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick won at RIR this spring and has finished in the top 12 in 16 of the last 18 races at RIR. A top five finish is expected.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has been terrific at RIR lately. This is a great weekend to use the No. 15 ride.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has run excellent at RIR during his career. He dominated three of the past four spring races and has 11 top five finishes in 16 career starts at the track.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin missed the spring race at RIR due to injury, but he is usually a force at the track. Use him active in all leagues.
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 13 races at venue. We all know J.J. drives just a little faster once the nighttime air gets a little cooler.
6 to 10
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has three career wins at RIR. He was fast last year and should bring the heat again this trip to Virginia. Look for No. 88 to finish in the top five this weekend and easily make the Chase.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth led the most laps at RIR this spring on his way to a seventh place finish. Look for the crafty veteran to use his skill for another top 10.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has finished inside the top 14 in 10 of the past 11 races at Richmond. He is an excellent pick.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards finally appeared to figure out RIR in 2011. He should have the Double-9 sled back inside the top 10.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has 11 top five finishes and 17 top 10 finishes in 38 career starts at RIR. The Virginia Native is a solid pick this week.
11 to 20
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has finished in the top 10 in seven of the last 17 races at RIR. He is a fine pick this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has finished ninth or better in seven of the past 18 RIR races. The Biff is a solid second driver in all leagues this week.
No. 14 Mark Martin: Martin has averaged an 11th place finish in 53 career starts at RIR. He will have Tony Stewart’s No. 14 inside the top 20 this week.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has had just one solid race at RIR in his brief career. Even though Keselowski needs a terrific finish to make the Chase there are better options to anchor your squad this week.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has been very successful at RIR in the past. He is worth taking a chance on.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: RIR is one of Truex's favorite tracks. He is a good pick this weekend.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano drove a smart race at Richmond this spring. He is a decent pick.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has solved Richmond’s tricky configuration. He should have the No. 42 car just inside the top 20 on Saturday.
No. 78 Kurt Busch: Busch won the fall race at RIR in 2005 and has finished in the top 10 in eight of the past 13 races at the track. A top 25 finish should be expected.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola notched an eighth place finished at RIR earlier this season. We like his chances.
21 to 30
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has been terrific in all but one of his first eight Cup races at Richmond. The Terrific Tasmanian is worth using in most leagues this trip to the track.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard was awesome at RIR the past three spring races. He is a great fourth driver in most leagues.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse was very average at Richmond earlier this season. We expect he will improve this trip to the track.
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers has averaged a 26th place finish at RIR during his career. He is an okay choice to fill-out your roster.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: This is one of McMurray's worst tracks. Avoid him!
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears has averaged a top 22 finish the past eight years at RIR. He is a fine sleeper.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: A.J. has averaged a 21st place finish at RIR during his career. There are far worse choices.
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 20th place finish at RIR during his career. He should have the No. 34 inside the top 30 when the checkers fly.
No. 83 David Reutimann: Rudy has struggled this season. He isn’t much of an option.
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 51 Ryan Truex
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 7 Dave Blaney
No. 33 Tony Raines
No. 32 Ken Schrader
No. 35 Josh Wise
No. 36 J.J. Yeley
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 95 Reed Sorenson
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 19 Mike Bliss
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Clint Bowyer
B. Kyle Busch
B. Jeff Burton
C. David Ragan