DraftKings NASCAR: Federated Auto Parts 400

DraftKings NASCAR: Federated Auto Parts 400

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Federated Auto Parts 400

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

Race Preview

Last week's Bojangles' Southern 500 produced an exciting race where a number of drivers had chances to win, but the one who made the fewest mistakes was the one who prevailed. Martin Truex Jr. had a virtually flawless race to lead 28 laps and put together the fastest car for the final miles of the event. Kevin Harvick arguably had the fastest car all night, but his race came undone on pit road. The team endured numerous slow stops, which cost the No. 4 a number of spots and didn't help his track position. When the dust cleared on the final restart he was too far behind Truex to mount any serious challenge before the end of the race. Other drivers had respectable nights as well as Truex. Harvick and team have just one week to correct the problems that cost them Sunday's win before the Chase for the Sprint Cup commences in Chicago. This week's race will be pivotal, not just to see which drivers lock themselves into the championship battle, but also which teams will carry the most confidence and success into the final 10-race sprint to the title.

Key Stats at Richmond International Raceway

Number of previous races: 120
Winners from pole: 23
Winners from top-5 starters: 68
Winners from top-10 starters: 93
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 10
Fastest race: 109.047 mph

Last 10 Richmond Winners

2016 spring - Carl Edwards
2015 fall - Matt Kenseth
2015 spring - Kurt Busch
2014 fall - Brad Keselowski
2014 spring - Joey Logano
2013 fall - Carl Edwards
2013 spring - Kevin Harvick
2012 fall - Clint Bowyer
2012 spring - Kyle Busch
2011 fall - Kevin Harvick

Richmond International Raceway is one of NASCAR's shortest tracks, which means drivers will spend most of Saturday night racing in heavy traffic. The track used to be famous for the close racing, hot tempers and on-track action. Lately the short oval has been more of a showcase for the driver who can lead the most laps. Track position and the ability to move through traffic are key, but the prevailing factor in winning the past few seasons has been raw speed. The last four races have all been won by a driver who started in the first two rows. Through that time, the average number of cautions in the race hasn't decreased either, which means drivers with speed are able to leverage restarts to capitalize on track position and stay out front. This week will be pivotal for those drivers without wins who have a chance to claim a spot in the Chase, and some gambles may be taken on two-tire or fuel-only starts in an effort to leapfrog forward to have the chance to spray champagne in Victory Lane.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $10,700
Brad Keselowski - $10,300
Carl Edwards - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Matt Kenseth - $9,900
Joey Logano - $9,700
Denny Hamlin - $9,500
Jimmie Johnson - $9,200

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kurt Busch - $8,600
Ryan Newman - $8,000
Kasey Kahne - $7,600
Jamie McMurray - $7,500

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,400
Aric Almirola - $6,100
Casey Mears - $5,900
David Ragan - $5,600

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Brad Keselowski - $10,300
Matt Kenseth - $9,900
Kurt Busch - $8,600
Kasey Kahne - $7,600
Jamie McMurray - $7,500
Aric Almirola - $6,100

Keselowski was arguably the second best car last week at Darlington, but he has been one of the best recently at Richmond as well. The Penske Racing driver has four Richmond finishes of 11th or better in the last five races along with a win from pole in 2014. The second slot in the lower-risk lineup belongs to Kenseth, whose teammate dominated at the track in the spring. Kenseth won this race last year in similar fashion and finished seventh in the spring. Throughout recent history, Kurt Busch has been terrific at Richmond. He had a disappointing ending at Darlington but could bounce back with three top-10 finishes from the last four Richmond races boosting his confidence this week. While Kahne has been hot and cold this season, he can often come up big when necessary. He essentially needs a victory to get into the Chase, and he could get that done at Richmond, having finished fourth there in the spring. McMurray and Almirola make two safer choices to round out this roster option. McMurray has three top-fives and no finishes lower than 16th at Richmond in the last six races, and Almirola has a top-five and one other top-10 in his last four Richmond efforts.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $10,600
Denny Hamlin - $9,500
Jimmie Johnson - $9,200
Tony Stewart - $8,200
Chris Buescher - $6,700
David Ragan - $5,600

Two Joe Gibbs Racing teammates anchor the higher-risk lineup for Richmond. Hamlin has been the more consistent of the pair recently, but Kyle Busch has four Richmond wins and will be aiming to get back to his winning ways before the Chase begins. Johnson is showing race speed again, but bad luck and mistakes continue to haunt him. If he can stay clean for a full race distance, he should be reasonably expected to snag a top-five finish for fantasy owners. Last week's race at Darlington won't be one of Stewart's fondest memories, but he knows what needs to be improved before his Chase effort begins. He has three career wins at this week's racetrack. Buescher will work to have a quiet and consistent night this Saturday. He needs to maintain his position in the top 30 in points to confirm his first Chase appearance. So, there is a lot on the line for him to have a clean race this week, which could be good for fantasy owners. Rounding things off is Ragan. This driver has three Richmond top-fives from 19 career starts and consistently races on the cusp of top-20 finishes.

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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