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DraftKings NASCAR: Federated Auto Parts 400

C.J. Radune

Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the 2015 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

Federated Auto Parts 400

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

Race Preview

Denny Hamlin's victory in the Southern 500 ensured that at least two entrants into the 2017 championship playoffs would be non-winners. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver overcame a mistake entering pit road to reel in and pass Martin Truex Jr. in the final laps of the Labor Day weekend classic. Another night race this week will set the final entrants who will do battle for the Monster Energy Cup. Joey Logano is one of the drivers on the outside of the playoffs looking in. He won the spring race at Richmond, but is still working to overcome the encumbered finish that came along with it. He has dropped to 19th in points, and must pull off a Richmond sweep to add his name to the playoff contenders. The final three playoff spots are separated by a mere three points, with Clint Bowyer 91 points adrift in the 17th position. Saturday night's Richmond race is bound to produce fireworks as drivers and teams fight to keep their championship dreams alive.

Key Stats at Richmond Raceway

Number of previous races: 122
Winners from pole: 23
Winners from top-5 starters: 70
Winners from top-10 starters: 95
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 10
Fastest race: 109.047 mph

Last 10 Richmond Winners

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
2013 fall - Carl Edwards
2013 spring - Kevin Harvick
2012 fall - Clint Bowyer

Richmond Raceway gives drivers one last shot at making the field for the playoffs. Joey Logano drove from the back of the field to the win at the track earlier this season. His fresh tires and track position on a late-race restart allowed him to get out front and hold off teammate Brad Keselowski just long enough to take the checkered flag. This week's race should produce much of the same intrigue. The short oval rewards consistency and grip, and Logano exploited that earlier this season. While both Penske Racing machines were quick at the end of that race it was the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers that matched them. Matt Kenseth finished 23rd after dealing with a cut tire, but led 164 laps before that issue halted his charge. Teammate Denny Hamlin finished third and led 59 laps, too. That team's recent momentum should make them serious contenders for victory this week. The flatter oval wears tires out a bit more than Bristol, which means teams will be more likely to gamble their track position away in favor of fresh tires. Those decisions could likely determine the outcome Saturday night.

(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kyle Busch - $10,700
Kevin Harvick - $10,500
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,400

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Brad Keselowski - $9,800
Jimmie Johnson - $9,600
Joey Logano - $9,200
Matt Kenseth - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Clint Bowyer - $8,800
Jamie McMurray - $8,500
Erik Jones - $8,300
Kurt Busch - $8,000

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Ryan Newman - $7,200
Chris Buescher - $6,200
Aric Almirola - $5,700
Landon Cassill - $5,200


Lower-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $10,700
Kevin Harvick - $10,500
Denny Hamlin - $10,000
Kurt Busch - $8,000
Aric Almirola - $5,700
Reed Sorenson - $4,500

Richmond's lower-risk picks give fantasy owners three of the top competitors in terms of momentum and past Richmond results. Kyle Busch remains a prime choice with five consecutive top-10 finishes along with four track victories. Kevin Harvick, with his three Richmond wins, has five top-fives from the last six Richmond races and is picking up momentum as the playoffs approach. Joe Gibbs Racing and Denny Hamlin may be feeling a bit of a sting from having their Darlington win deemed encumbered, but they are safely in the playoffs, Hamlin has four top-five finishes in the last five races, and he is a three-time Richmond winner including this race last season from pole. Another driver quietly building some strength for the playoffs is Kyle's brother Kurt. The elder Busch hasn't finished lower than 13th in the last five races and is a regular top-10 finisher at Richmond. This track has also typically been a good one for Aric Almirola. He finished ninth here earlier this season and has an average finish of 16.2 from 11 career starts. The compromise owners will make by selecting this lineup is the lack of funds at the bottom, but Reed Sorenson could offer points via finish differential. Aside from Darlington he has been consistently moving up the order from his qualifying position, and should be able to do so again this week.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Joey Logano - $9,200
Matt Kenseth - $9,000
Clint Bowyer - $8,800
Jamie McMurray - $8,500
Ryan Newman - $7,200
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $7,000

The higher-risk lineup for Richmond places more emphasis on drivers with past Richmond success who are still working to keep their seasons alive. Joey Logano won the spring race here only to have it deemed encumbered, and he is still searching for a path into the playoff field. Matt Kenseth appears relatively safe in the playoffs due to his point tally, but a win would guarantee that entry as well as give the team a boost. Kenseth has won twice at this track, and is in a very tight battle for the final playoff positions for non-winners. Clint Bowyer is also in a similar situation. He sits further adrift in the points, and could use another Richmond win to leap-frog into the hunt. His last Richmond win came in 2012. Jamie McMurray is embroiled in that same fight, but has never won at this track. He finished seventh and sixth in the last two races here, though. While Ryan Newman knows he will take part in the playoffs, the team knows they need to be more competitive to advance. Newman finished seventh here in the spring, and is currently on a run of three consecutive top-10 finishes heading into this week's race. Finally, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. also is confidently in the playoffs, but in a similar way to Newman. He needs to be more competitive to have a realistic chance of surviving the early eliminations, and a top-five finish like he had at Richmond this spring would go a long way toward seeing him through round 1 safely.

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.