Loading scores...
Denny Hamlin
Getty Images
NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet

Federated Auto Parts 400 Cheat Sheet

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: September 18, 2019, 6:02 pm ET

Last year the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a chaotic affair, so the drivers calmed themselves before the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway. Despite a couple of teams making mistakes, last week’s playoff opener was quite a bit more sedate. That could mean the emotions get racketed up this week.

The short tracks are drivers’ tracks. They can take a few more chances on them and rely on skill to keep out of trouble. That will be good news for the drivers on the cusp of 12th because they enter the weekend believing they can make a difference.

Richmond is a short track that races like a speedway. It is unique among short tracks, but typically success at Martinsville Speedway (another flat track) and Bristol Motor Speedway (the remaining course less than a mile in length) is a good predictor of who will run best on this .75-mile oval.


1. Kevin Harvick
Eight of Harvick's last 10 races at Richmond ended in top-five finishes. His most recent victory on this track came in 2013. He's overdue.

2. Joey Logano
Since the beginning of the 2014 season, Logano has been almost perfect at Richmond with two wins, two more runner-up finishes, and top-10s in all but one race.

3. Martin Truex Jr.
Truex surprised quite a few people in race trim last week because he was not overly fast in Vegas’ practice. At Richmond, he enters with two consecutive top-fives and the defending winner from this spring.

4. Chase Elliott
Fantasy players will want to wait until practice is in the books to fully commit on Elliott since he finished 15th at Richmond this spring - but he swept the top five on this track last year and could be one of the top values.

5. Brad Keselowski
Keselowski should factor into the storyline this week, but he has not scored a top-five on this track since 2017. His last three efforts landed in the top 10.

6. Kyle Busch
Busch won this race last year as part of a sweep of Victory Lane, but he doesn't like the new aerodynamic package and finished only eighth this spring.

7. Denny Hamlin
The past few weeks have not been particularly kind to Hamlin, but all of that can be forgotten with a top-five at Richmond. He's finished sixth or better in seven of his last eight attempts there. Notably, his single exception to that was a 16th in this race last year.

8. Clint Bowyer
He has too much ground to make up in the points to be playoff relevant, but Bowyer has been consistent on short tracks for the past two years. All but three of his efforts ended between sixth and 10th along with a victory at Martinsville last year and a third at Richmond this spring.

9. Kyle Larson
Larson's sixth-place finish last week at Vegas is about where we expect him to land at Richmond. He finished seventh in both races there last year.

10. William Byron
Byron has not yet cracked the top 10 at Richmond, but he came close on a couple of occasions with a 12th and 13th in the past two spring events. He was 20th last fall.

11. Kurt Busch
In his last eight attempts on short tracks, Busch has alternated a finish inside the top 10 with one outside that mark. If the pattern holds he is due to finish in the low-teens in the Federated 400.

12. Ryan Blaney
If you are planning to rest Blaney in the playoffs, this is the week to do so. Richmond is his worst track in terms of average finishes (26.7) and he's never cracked the top 15.

13. Daniel Suarez
Dating back to last year's Martinsville race, Suarez has finished between eighth and 10th in five short track starts. His outlier is a 25th this spring at Richmond.

14. Jimmie Johnson
His 12th-place finish in this spring's Toyota Owners 400 was the 10th consecutive top-12 for Johnson at Richmond.

15. Erik Jones
This is not one of Jones' better tracks. He has never seriously challenged for a top-five and four of his five results there ended outside the top 10.

16. Ryan Newman
Newman is fighting an uphill battle to get to the next round of the playoffs, but he should finish well this week. He has three top-10s and a 15th in his last five Richmond starts.

17. Austin Dillon
If he practices well, disregard this handicap and go with your gut. Dillon has back-to-back sixth-place finishes at Richmond. Unfortunately his nine races previous netted only two other top-15s and an average of 21st.

18. Matt DiBenedetto
Short tracks are drivers' courses and nearly winning at Bristol a few weeks back is still firmly in DiBenedetto's mind. He hopes lightning strikes twice.

19. Alex Bowman
Don't get overly enthused about Bowman this week. A 12th-place finish in this race last year is the only time he has cracked the top 15 at Richmond.

20. Ty Dillon
Keep a close eye on Dillon this week. His first two short track attempts this year ended in the top 15 and he slipped only a little bit at Richmond with a 21st.

21. Ryan Preece
Three of Preece's four short track attempts this year ended in top-20s and he has a worst effort of 25th on this track type.

22. Paul Menard
Menard was one of the brightest dark horses this spring at Richmond with a 10th-place finish. Last year he landed in the 20s in both races, however.

23. Chris Buescher
Buescher finished 22nd at Richmond this spring. That is his worst result on a short track in 2019 and he should contend for a top-20 in the Federated 400.

24. Aric Almirola
Almirola finished fifth in this race last year. He seemed to pick up where he left off on the flat track of Martinsville with an 11th last fall and ninth this spring. Unfortunately he has not cracked the top 20 on a short track since.

25. Daniel Hemric
After it was announced Hemric would not return to RCR's Cup effort in 2020, Hemric proclaimed he still has goals to meet this year.

26. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Richmond was a high note this year for Stenhouse on short tracks. He finished 16th in the Toyota Owners 400, but was 25th or worse in the other races on courses less than a mile in length.

27. Bubba Wallace
Wallace finished 25th in his first Richmond attempt. His last two races ended in 27th-place results. That kind of consistency is important when handicapping a racer.

28. David Ragan
Ragan had a three-race streak of 20-something finishes on short tracks before he crashed out of the Night Race at Bristol.

29. Matt Tifft
Tifft has been consistent on short tracks this year with results of either 27th or 29th in four races. His Toyota Owners 400 result was a 29th after starting 36th.

30. Landon Cassill
Cassill has finished on the cusp of 25th in three of his four short track races this year. Unfortunately, his worst result came in the Toyota Owners 400 this spring with a 35th.

31. Corey LaJoie
LaJoie got off to a rough start on short tracks with a pair of mid-30s finishes at Martinsville and Bristol. He turned that around in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond with a 26th and followed with a 24th in the Bristol Night Race.

32. Ross Chastain
He has been a solid value on a number of courses, but with an average finish of about 30th on short tracks, Chastain can be left in the garage this weekend.

33. Quin Houff
In three starts on short tracks, Houff has finished between 30th and 34th. His worst of those efforts came this spring at Richmond.

34. Michael McDowell
Strategy plays an important role in NASCAR races and McDowell has not gotten it right on short tracks this year. He's been in the high-30s in his last two races there, including a 36th at Richmond.

35. Reed Sorenson
Sorenson has made only one start this year on a track less than a mile in length. He finished 38th at Bristol under the lights.

36. Garrett Smithley
Smithley became an unwanted part of the storyline last week when he was run over from behind by the No. 18. He'll probably keep a low profile this week.

37. Austin Theriault
Theriault has two previous starts on flat tracks this year with a 35th at New Hampshire and a 34th at Pocono.

38. Spencer Boyd
With only one start under his belt that ended in an accident at Michigan, it is impossible to accurately handicap Boyd's odds.

 

Drivers Most Accurately
Predicted This Year

 

Avg.
Difference

Times Within 3

 

Landon Cassill

4.6

14

Ross Chastain

4.7

13

Matt Tifft

4.7

15

David Ragan

4.9

10

Martin Truex Jr.

5.5

11

Paul Menard

6.0

10

Ty Dillon

6.0

12

Ryan Newman

6.3

10

Chris Buescher

6.3

9

Denny Hamlin

6.4

17

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 15 years with a little help from his >600,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.