The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series has reached its regular season finale, as drivers are set to compete in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway.
The 3/4-mile track in Richmond, Va., will host what should be one of the wildest races of the year. With so many drivers needing strong finishes — or even victories — to make the playoffs, there will be no shortage of daring moves on the track. Add in the always unpredictable nature of short-track racing, and this race could be a nightmare for fantasy owners looking to make the playoffs.
But that’s where we come in.
Whether you need help picking an A-List driver who has a shot at winning or an up-and-coming C-List racer who could help steal you some points, we’ve got you covered. Here are the drivers you should give seats to, and the ones you shouldn’t, for Saturday’s race at Richmond:
Must pick: Kyle Busch
There are a lot of good A-List options for this race, but we’re going with “Rowdy.”
In 24 starts at the short track, Busch has four victories and 15 top-fives. He’s been a bit more inconsistent in his last four races at Richmond, but he still has finished in the top five twice. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has run well all season long, and we expect him to close the regular season on a high note.
Stay away: Austin Dillon
There are far, far better B-List options than Dillon this weekend.
In seven races at Richmond, just twice has the Richard Childress Racing driver finished better than he started. That’s not good, especially when you consider his average start position at the track is 20.6. He’s not worth the gamble for fantasy owners.
Sleeper pick: Clint Bowyer
Bowyer is one of the drivers who needs a victory to make the playoffs. That can force some drivers into making mistakes, but we like Bowyer’s experience in this situation.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has two victories in 23 races at Richmond, and has finished in the top 10 on 12 occasions. Add in the fact that he’s one of the better short-track drivers in the sport, and Bowyer makes for a fine B-List play Saturday.
Value pick: Erik Jones
An early flat tire cost Jones a chance at competing at Richmond back in the spring, but we like his chances to rebound.
With so much on the line for fantasy owners, now’s not the time to gamble. Sure, Daniel Suarez has been impressive, but Jones clearly has been the best rookie driver on the series. Make sure he’s in your lineups this weekend.
Thumbnail photo via Amber Searls/USA TODAY Sports Images
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