DraftKings NASCAR: Federated Auto Parts 400
DraftKings NASCAR: Federated Auto Parts 400

This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.

Federated Auto Parts 400

Location: Richmond, Va.
Course: Richmond Raceway
Format: 0.75-mile D-shaped oval
Laps: 400

Race Preview

Brad Keselowski became the third driver this season to win three races in a row with his clutch playoff victory last week in Las Vegas. The Penske Racing driver rode his wave of momentum straight through to the first round of the playoffs and earned the first spot in the second as a result. The afternoon was a rough one for most of the championship contenders, as more than half of the playoff field had various problems during the race. Those issues for everyone else gave Keselowski the golden ticket to hold off Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. to grab the first spot in the second round of playoffs. This week the series returns to Richmond Raceway where the short oval will host its first playoff event under the lights Saturday night. The race had traditionally been the final race of the regular season until a schedule change this year put it into the playoffs. This week's race may also be the best chance playoff drivers will have to get into the next round with a win since another schedule twist next week takes the teams to the road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the first time ever. Those drivers who missed their opportunity last week will be anxious to get the job done Saturday.

Key Stats at Richmond Raceway

Number of previous races: 124
Winners from pole: 23
Winners from top-5 starters: 71
Winners from top-10 starters: 96
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 11
Fastest race: 109.047 mph

Last 10 Richmond Winners

2018 spring - Kyle Busch
2017 fall - Kyle Larson
2017 spring - Joey Logano
2016 fall - Denny Hamlin
2016 spring - Carl Edwards
2015 fall - Matt Kenseth
2015 spring - Kurt Busch
2014 fall - Brad Keselowski
2014 spring - Joey Logano
2013 fall - Carl Edwards

Richmond Raceway is a tight oval that features close racing and often ignites tempers as drivers battle through the constant traffic for 400 laps. Kyle Busch won there earlier this year, but Truex has been one of the fastest at the circuit recently. The wide turns offer plenty of room for drivers to find a line that suits their handling, but managing traffic and restarts will likely be factors. The circuit doesn't seem to favor one manufacturer over another, but qualifying up front will be very important. Busch may have won from the 32nd position here earlier this season, but he represents just one of four drivers to have started outside of the top 10 to win at Richmond in the last 12 races. Seven of the last eight Richmond races have been won by a driver starting in the top five. The 400 scheduled laps means fantasy owners should seek a driver who will spend a lot of time in the lead, too. The pressure to perform this week will force mistakes, and drivers and teams will need to make sure they execute on their strategies to maximize their chances to advance in the playoffs.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $12,200
Kyle Busch - $11,800
Martin Truex Jr. - $11,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Kyle Larson - $10,500
Brad Keselowski - $10,200
Denny Hamlin - $9,600
Clint Bowyer - $9,100

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Joey Logano - $8,700
Aric Almirola - $8,300
Alex Bowman - $7,700
Matt Kenseth - $7,100

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

William Byron - $6,800
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,400
Regan Smith - $5,700
David Ragan - $5,400

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Martin Truex Jr. - $11,000
Clint Bowyer - $9,100
Joey Logano - $8,700
Jimmie Johnson - $7,900
William Byron - $6,800
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,400

Truex heads to Richmond hoping to come away with a top result that will enable him to relax at the road course next week. He has a good chance at making that a reality, too. In the last four Richmond races he has led more than 100 laps three times, and only needs to close the deal to get his first win at the circuit. Backing him up is Bowyer, who is in a similar situation. Bowyer was quick in Friday's opening practices, and has typically been very good at Richmond. He has two wins at the track and finished ninth in the spring. Logano will be anxious to emulate the success of his teammate, and doing so would give him his third Richmond victory. Logano hasn't finished outside of the top 10 at Richmond since 2013, and all signs point to him having a good night for fantasy owners. The biggest question in this roster option is Johnson. He couldn't close out his top run last week in Las Vegas and seemed slow in practice on Friday. Still, the flashes of speed the team has been showing have been encouraging and make him a gamble worth taking. Teammate Byron had a good run to 12th here earlier this season, and Stenhouse should also confidently turn in a top-20 performance with upside potential.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $11,800
Denny Hamlin - $9,600
Kurt Busch - $8,500
Jamie McMurray - $7,300
Matt Kenseth - $7,100
David Ragan - $5,400

Kyle Busch and teammate Hamlin are two of the best short-track racers in the series, and that is why they lead this lineup option. It doesn't hurt things when after practice many drivers say Kyle Busch would be one of the top drivers to beat on Saturday, too. The pair have eight track wins between them, and fantasy players add two more when putting in Kurt Busch. Kurt is sixth in the playoff standings after Las Vegas and only has two Richmond finishes outside of the top 10 in the last eight visits. McMurray stumbled last week in Las Vegas but has been a consistent contender for top-15 finishes at Richmond. After a 12th-place finish at Indianapolis, Kenseth is looking for another top-15 finish in his part-time journey. Richmond should be a venue that makes that a possibility. Saturday's race will be his first visit to a short track this season, though. Lastly, Ragan is an appetizing pick this week, too. He has a pair of top-five finishes at the track and has shown speed at the track despite his inconsistent finishes. If he can avoid mistakes this weekend he should have the potential for a top-20 result.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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