This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.
Toyota Owners 400
Location: Richmond, Va.
Course: Richmond International Raceway
Format: 0.75-mile oval
Ross Chastain outmuscled AJ Allmendinger and Alex Bowman to seize his first NASCAR Cup Series victory last week at Circuit of the Americas. The win was his fourth consecutive top-five finish and sends him into this week's visit to Richmond Raceway with significant momentum. The first trip to Richmond of the year kicks off a three-race string of short-track battles that will culminate with a Bristol night race on dirt. Bowman and Martin Truex Jr. won the two Richmond races last season. Truex's victory was his third at the track, but the series leader in that category would be none other than Kyle Busch, who has six Richmond wins on his resume. The former champion is still winless in 2022, though, but all that could change this week with NASCAR's 131st race on the Richmond oval.
Key Stats at Richmond International Raceway
- Number of races: 130
- Winners from pole: 23
- Winners from top-5 starters: 73
- Winners from top-10 starters: 100
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 12
- Fastest race: 109.047 mph
Previous 10 Richmond Winners
2021 fall - Martin Truex Jr.
2021 spring - Alex Bowman
2020 - Brad Keselowski
2019 fall - Martin Truex Jr.
2019 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
2018 fall - Kyle Busch
2018 spring - Kyle Busch
2017 fall - Kyle Larson
2017 spring - Joey Logano
2016 fall - Denny Hamlin
Like all of the other short tracks, Richmond is a circuit where track position is king. The 0.75-mile oval forces drivers to negotiate traffic throughout the race. Cars off the pace early risk going down laps to the leader quickly as the field stretches around the track. The aim of every leader will be to navigate the slower traffic as quickly as possible, as significant leads can be quickly erased by getting caught behind slower drivers. Richmond's wide and flat surface gives options for drivers to adjust their lines to suit their tires and handling, but track position remains one of the most important factors - especially on restarts. Eleven of the last 13 winners at the track have started 11th or better. Pressure will be on the teams to be mistake free on pit road. Positions can be gained from two-tire and fuel only stops. Teams will also likely use the stage breaks to set their driver up to race for the victory in the final segment. However, late caution periods are a risk that could ruin the best laid plans and jumble the established running order late in the race.
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)
Having so many first-time winners early in the season has given fantasy players great options to build rosters for Richmond. The lower-risk lineup this week features just one 2022 victor in Alex Bowman (DK $8,500, FD $10,000). He also won at this track last season along with Martin Truex Jr. (DK $9,600, FD $14,000). Truex has three Richmond wins on his resume but is searching for his first win of 2022, just like teammate Kyle Busch (DK $9,900, FD $12,500). Busch is the winningest active driver at Richmond and would normally be priced much higher for this race were it not for the wild season so far. Tyler Reddick (DK $8,200, FD $10,800) is one of those drivers adding to the 2022 excitement. He has yet to win but has three top-10s and has been knocking on victory's door nearly every week so far. Daniel Suarez (DK $7,800, FD $7,300) is another who seems close to scoring a breakthrough win. He led 15 laps last week, 13 the week before, and looked like a potential winner in California, too. With two top-fives and three top-10s from the last three races he definitely has momentum on his side. Finishing out the lower-risk lineup is Bubba Wallace (DK $5,900, FD $4,000). He will have to make due without his normal crew chief this weekend after a wheel nut failure last week, but Wallace is a capable top-15 driver each week this season if he remains mistake free.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Kyle Larson (DK $10,200, FD $13,000) has a 2022 win under his belt and also won at Richmond in 2017. He started on pole at the track last fall and is less expensive than teammate Chase Elliott in Draft Kings competitions despite Elliott having never won at this track. Ryan Blaney (DK $9,400, FD $9,500) and Team Penske have some work to do to get some wins, but they aren't too far off the pace. Blaney has led at least one lap in every race so far this season and scored his first Richmond top-10 last fall. Teammate Joey Logano (DK $9,200, FD $12,000) makes a perfect pairing for Blaney this week, too. While Blaney has yet to lead a lap at Richmond, Logano is priced lower and comes with two victories at the track. Logano also won on Bristol's dirt surface last season and is one of the drivers to watch when the series goes short-track racing. Similarly, Kevin Harvick (DK $8,000, FD $8,500) is one to look out for on short tracks like Richmond. He has two top-10s this season, finished 11th last week, and is a three-time Richmond winner. He finished eighth in the fall race there last season. Austin Dillon (DK $7,000, FD $8,000) hasn't found the speed of teammate Tyler Reddick yet this season but can be one to rise to the occasion. He has four Richmond top-10s from 15 starts, including a 10th-place finish in this race last season. Cole Custer (DK $6,100, FD $6,000) rounds out the higher-risk selections with a best finish at this track of 14th. He appears to be finding his way with the new car now and will be on the hunt for his first top-10 of the year.