The Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway is set for this Sunday, April 18th, at 3:00 PM. Tune in on Fox Sports 1, MRN radio, or SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 to catch all of Sunday afternoon's action.
Richmond Raceway, known as America’s Premier Short Track, is a three-quarter mile “D” shape asphalt oval. The track has 14-degree banking in the turns (slightly steeper than last week’s track at Martinsville), but it's still known as a flat track. Drivers who ran both fast and strong overall at the race tracks of Martinsville and Phoenix should be foaming at the mouth and ready to put on another great performance.
Best Value Bets Recap
Ryan Blaney Top 5 Finish (Yes +115 DraftKings) - This result makes me sick, as Ryan Blaney had the best long run car, won both stages and led for 157 laps total. The downside, however, was on the final pit stop, where he drug an air hose out of the pit box. That earned Blaney a penalty that sent him to the back of the field for the lap 459 restart. He fought back for an 11th-place finish, but we still lost our wager. -Loss
Kyle Busch (-112 FanDuel) vs. Kyle Larson - Kyle Larson ran very well and proved that he can run on these short tracks last weekend, while Kyle Busch, frankly, showed that he doesn’t have the dominating car that he indeed had two to three years ago. This matchup bet was doomed from the start. -Loss
Kurt Busch Top 10 Finish (+115 DraftKings) - What a day for Kurt Busch. With some help from Erik Jones, he spun out on lap 50 and rebounded to finish 10th by the end of stage two. Then, like his younger brother, Kurt was caught up in the lap 358 wreck. He ultimately - and unfortunately for us - finished 21st. -Loss
Drivers to Look Out For
Martin Truex Jr (+400 FanDuel) - In Truex's last three races at Richmond he has a 2nd place finish (2020) and two outright wins (both in 2019). Even though he didn’t win last year, he still ran 83% of his laps inside the top 10 and 69% of his laps inside the top 5. He now has the momentum after an impressive win last week and I would not be shocked if he's leading late in the race. He also starts from the pole position.
Brad Keselowski (+700 FanDuel) - Brad Keselowski won the Richmond race here last year, and his car that day was very dominant in running 100% of laps inside of the top 10 and 91% (362 laps) inside of the top 5. He had the second fastest car that day as well, and in 2019 he had posted both a 5th and 7th place finish. Keselowski's Penske teammates each have wins this year, and Richmond Raceway now presents a great opportunity for Keselowski to get back into victory lane in Sunday afternoon's Toyota 400 event.
Denny Hamlin (+600 FanDuel) - He might not have the finishes that Keselowski and Truex Jr have, but Denny Hamlin's 2021 season is very impressive nonetheless. Out of eight total races, he has one finish outside of the top 10 (11th at Homestead) and his other seven finishes are in the top 5. He led here early last year, but a penalty then sent him to the rear of the field and he couldn’t maneuver his way back to the front, finishing 12th overall. In 2019, Hamlin also finished both races inside the top 5 (3rd and 5th). He needs to get a victory soon though, or this impressive performance might not get him into the playoffs.
Best Value Bets
Martin Truex Jr Top 3 Finish (Yes +110 DraftKings) - If we can get plus money on a driver that’s finished 2nd or better the last three races here, then let’s take it. The results speak for themselves for Martin Truex Jr. I wouldn't be shocked if he won stage 1 and 2. He's very good on the short flat tracks and some added confidence after last week’s win could prove very beneficial for us. For anyone who plays DFS, he has a great shot at leading the most laps since he's starting from the pole position on Sunday afternoon.
Kyle Larson Top 5 (Yes +100 DraftKings) - Larson's car is fast everywhere. While we don’t have any data from 2020, we do know that he did have a top 10 finish in the 2019 fall race here. If he can find a top 10 in Ganassi equipment, and we see what he has been doing this year with Hendrick, then I'd expect him to be right up front with Truex Jr. in this one. At Phoenix Raceway (a comparable track), Larson drove through the field three different times - and with all the pit road penalties he committed, he still had 45 of the fastest laps. Last week, he started 19th and still recorded a 5th place finish on a track that's very tough to pass on. He also still had 21 of the fastest laps while he was moving through traffic. Last week I made the comment that he can’t run on short flat tracks. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Time to make it right.