FANTASY: Race for the Chase
Federated Auto Parts 400 Fantasy Preview
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
This is it. The last race to make it into NASCAR's postseason. Mathematically, all drivers through Paul Menard at 17th are capable of making the Chase.
For that to happen in Menard's case, however, he'd need to win and more or less have Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman take each other out at the drop of the green flag. That won't happen, but there are many other real scenarios for drivers like Kurt Busch (10th), Jeff Gordon (11th), Truex Jr. (13th), Newman (14th) or Brad Keselowski (15th).
Only three of those five will make the Chase and all could really use a win to seal the deal. In fact, every driver but Keselowski stands a good chance at earning a Chase ticket simply by winning.
Let's take a look at the drivers most likely to help the team win in Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing this week:
Richmond International Raceway is short track racing tailored for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The 0.75-mile oval gives just enough space to feel comfortable and pick up some speed, but not enough to keep the bumpers clean. This is a great final challenge in the NASCAR regular season.
In the middle of last week's race, Carl Edwards held off Jeff Gordon trying to make a pass. Gordon risked spinning both of them out with the race, a proposition fine by Edwards who had clinched the Chase and was pushing for the win and horrible for Gordon who needed a good points day. The point being: different drivers have more to gain or lose (and the two are separate from one another) in the race, based on their Chase standing. That will be on display at Richmond.
Short tracks usually provide a lot of consistent finishes: some drivers consistently win, while others consistently stink. The strategy should be to go with the ones that win.
- #15 Clint Bowyer - He's due for a win this season and his 9.1 average finish at Richmond says it could be here. He's won at the track twice in 15 starts.
- #24 Jeff Gordon - While Bowyer might be due for a win, Gordon actually needs a win. He has two wins at Richmond to compliment 16 top-fives and 25 top-10s in 41 races.
- #29 Kevin Harvick - Possibly the most forgotten about driver in the whole Chase, Harvick has worked his way up to third in the standings and looks to pick up his fourth career win at Richmond this weekend.
- #11 Denny Hamlin - I might pick on him a lot, but it's because he's traditionally so strong at so many tracks. That's the case with Richmond where he has an 8.1 average finish. Nothing has gone his way recently, however, and he'd be a risky play this weekend.
- #18 Kyle Busch - It's hard to argue with 12 top-fives (and four wins) in 17 starts at a track.
- #22 Joey Logano - He has only two top-10s in nine Richmond starts, but they both equated to top-fives and that includes this past spring's race when Logano finished third. He gets recommended this week because he's scored a top-10 in each of the last six races, including three top-fives.
- #39 Ryan Newman - A win and he's in the Chase. That's pretty simple. Based on Newman's 11.8 average finish and 13 top-10s in 23 starts, he's got a chance.
- #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. - He's not renowned for short track racing, but Junior is better than he gets credit for on the shorties. Case in point: he has three wins at Richmond in his career.
- #5 Kasey Kahne - Jekyll and Hyde most of the season, Kahne has been both the past two weeks. With just seven top-10s in 19 Richmond starts, this probably won't be a bounce back week from Atlanta's disappointment.
- #16 Greg Biffle - He needs to put together a good performance to guarantee the Chase, but he only has six top-10s in 22 starts at Richmond.
- #34 David Ragan - He put up back-to-back fourth-place finishes at Richmond in 2011 before leaving Roush Fenway Racing. He then put up back-to-back 32nd-place finishes in 2012, so it's not all good, but Ragan's an option.
- #51 Ryan Truex - Want to toss up a Hail Mary? The No. 51 has been strong for much of the season, except for when Truex made his first career start at Bristol and finished 42nd. If you write that off as bad luck, this up-and-coming driver will want to prove he's more than just a family name.
- #13 Casey Mears - With just one top-10 in 21 Richmond starts, Mears is not the guy this week.
Drivers are listed by car number and not necessarily in rank order.
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