2020 Federated Auto Parts 400 Analysis & Predictions
Last Sunday, Darlington Raceway provided one of the most exciting finishes of the season in the Southern 500. Martin Truex and Chase Elliott collided while racing for the win allowing Kevin Harvick to steal the victory and earn an automatic advancement into the Round of 12. This week the Cup Series moves to another exciting venue as we prepare for short-track racing at Richmond Raceway. Unlike last week's playoff opener at Darlington, the Cup Series has not visited Richmond previously this year, which will make things difficult for race teams as they attempt to dial-in setups without any practices or pre-race activity. However, rest assured that this Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 400 will be an advantageous betting opportunity as we embrace the thrill of short-track racing!
With Harvick scoring another victory, rest assured both Harvick and Denny Hamlin will remain the top betting favorites again this week as they have now combined for 14 victories through 27 races this season. Both drivers also have three victories each at Richmond Raceway, which will help vault their expectations yet again. The only driver in the field with more victories at Richmond is Kyle Busch (6), who continues to have the worst season of his Cup Series career. While Hamlin and Harvick will continue to get deserved betting attention this week, my pick to win the race is Martin Truex Jr. Truex actually won both races at Richmond in 2019 and is the best driver suited for a victory this Saturday night. Many people overlook the fact that Richmond has an aged surface that yields high tire wear, and those are the surfaces where Truex produces his best performances. In last week's Southern 500, Truex was the dominant driver every run when the tires started falling off, which has been a staple of his success in recent years. Once that happens again on Saturday, expect the #19 to be at the front of the field all night!
Remember this week's race at Richmond will utilize the lower downforce package that has been implemented at all tracks of 1 mile or less in length. The lower downforce package has been utilized on six different occasions this year for oval surfaces. In this package, Team Penske cars have performed well, winning three of the six events. Joey Logano won the 1st event under this package earlier this season at Phoenix. Phoenix has a lot of similarities to Richmond, and that is a potential performance angle that deserves consideration. When I look at the performance trends under this package, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano stand out as drivers that have performed exceptionally well. Both Keselowski and Logano are listed inside the top 5 in nearly all driver categories this week, including average finish position, loop data stats, and other performance trends. Therefore, keep both drivers on your radar for dark horse considerations!
In the last few weeks, I have been extremely sharp with my H2H match-ups, and the momentum continued in last week's Southern 500 with Erik Jones, who brought home a 4th place finish while cashing all H2H match-ups. I actually covered 3 out of 4 H2H bets and hit Austin Dillon at 15 to 1 odds for a top 5 finish in our official bets. This week my favorite driver to target in all H2H match-ups includes the #22 of Joey Logano. Logano opened the season by winning two of the first four races but has gone winless in the 24 races since. In the last few weeks, Logano has put together solid finishes that have largely gone unnoticed, including a 3rd place result last week at Darlington, where he has historically struggled. Logano is one of the best drivers at Richmond, with an impressive 6.1 average finishing position over his last ten starts. Let me be clear, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex deserve to be the top 3 betting favorites this week, and I would avoid betting against those drivers in match-ups. However, Joey Logano is being vastly undervalued and should be targeted in all match-ups (excluding the top 3 favorites).
Federated Auto Parts 400 Picks
Target Joey Logano in all betting match-ups (excluding Harvick, Hamlin, and Truex)
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