This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.
Toyota Owners 400
Location: Richmond, Va.
Course: Richmond Raceway
Format: 0.75-mile oval
Joe Gibbs Racing picked up its second win in as many weeks when Kyle Busch battled back from an early incident to win his eighth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was his third win of the season and fifth of the year for JGR. He held off brother Kurt who was looking to even the Bristol win tally between the pair, with Kurt openly admitting he would have wrecked Kyle to get past for the win. Kurt will have to continue working to find his first win of 2019 and first with Chip Ganassi Racing. He sits eighth in points with four top-10s from the last five races. Additionally, Penske Racing continued to impress with all three drivers leading last week. Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney each led more than 100 laps but didn't have enough to catch Busch at the finish. While Kurt was the highest-placing Chevrolet, the Hendrick Motorsports surge from Texas looks to be real after Jimmie Johnson grabbed a top-10 last week. Chase Elliott was right behind him in 11th and also led 38 laps. Everyone will be working to catch up to the ultra-hot Kyle Busch this week in an attempt to stall his momentum into next week's short break.
Key Stats at Richmond Raceway
• Number of previous races: 125
• 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 fall - Kyle Busch
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
Richmond will be the third short track the series has visited so far this season. It is a wide tri-oval configuration where emphasis will be on mechanical grip, track position and tire wear. The high banks of Bristol produce significantly different racing than experienced at Richmond, but the close quarters and short lap distance will make getting through traffic efficiently an advantage. Quick drivers with well-balanced cars can end up dominating at this circuit. Managing tire wear throughout a fuel run and making the right calls on pit road to gain or preserve track position will also figure heavily into the outcome Saturday night. Kyle Busch swept both victories at the circuit last season but winning four of the last six races will be a tall order for the former champion.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Kyle Busch is the obvious favorite this week considering his current momentum and past track history. Fantasy owners will pay a premium for that, and it should be worth the price. Kyle Larson, on the other hand, needs something to go his way this season. He has struggled to produce top results, but he led the opening Richmond practice on Friday and is a past winner. Those high-priced drivers pave the way for a bargain in Daniel Suarez. He has Stewart-Haas Racing equipment now and has turned in excellent Richmond races in his brief Cup history with two top-10s from four starts. While Ryan Newman wasn't overly impressive on Friday, he has been racing significantly better. He and teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are in playoff positions in the standing, and Newman has three top-15 finishes in the last five races. Hendrick Motorsports has also received a boost in performance in recent weeks. At Texas, the entire team was racy and that carried through in Bristol as well. William Byron has an average finish of 16.0 from his two Richmond starts last season, but current momentum coupled with his price this week make him a desirable pick. Finally, Chris Buescher was the true surprise in Friday practice. His third-quickest time in the session was nothing short of impressive.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Not choosing Kyle Busch this week enables much greater flexibility in options. and there are plenty of them. Joey Logano won this race in 2014 and 2017, and also led 92 laps on his way to a fourth-place finish last season. Pairing him with Busch's teammate Denny Hamlin makes for a very strong opening roster at Richmond. Hamlin has three Richmond wins and is already a two-time winner in 2019. Clint Bowyer is another option fantasy owners should consider from the SHR stable. Bowyer has two Richmond victories and finished both races there in the top 10 last season. Teammate Aric Almirola was getting top Richmond finishes even before joining SHR, and that makes him a definite driver to pay attention to this week. Paul Menard finally got something to smile about last week when he finished sixth at Bristol. That finish could be a sign that he and the team are starting to click, but he could be a risky play, having no top-20s at Richmond since 2015. Similarly, Ryan Preece has absolutely shown his pace at times this year but hasn't put together a full race yet. He was 16th at Martinsville, though. That should translate well for success this week, too.