Federated Auto Parts 400 Race Betting Preview & Predictions
Last week, Denny Hamlin scored his 1st victory of the season in dramatic fashion to kick off the playoffs at Darlington Raceway. The victory secured Hamlin's advancement to the Round of 12. Meanwhile, several other drivers were left with significantly different encounters with The Lady in Black as the likes of Kyle Busch, William Byron, and Alex Bowman all suffered bad finishes and find themselves currently outside the cutoff line for the Round of 12. On Saturday, the 2nd race in the playoffs heats up with short track racing at Richmond Raceway with the running of the Federated Auto Parts 400.
Back in the spring, Alex Bowman delivered an upset style victory at Richmond in his 1st victory of the season. Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex combined to lead 314 laps in a relatively dominating fashion. However, Bowman took advantage of a late restart and was able to hold off Hamlin in the final ten laps for the victory. Bowman, like many others, needs another big performance this week in Richmond to rebound from the Darlington disaster. Once again, the Cup Series will utilize the 750hp (low-downforce) package this weekend at Richmond. The 750hp package is the same rules package the Cup Series used back in the spring race, and it is the same rules package used in last week's playoff opener at Darlington.
From a historical standpoint, Kyle Busch leads all active drivers with six career wins at Richmond. Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick are tied for 2nd with three victories each at Richmond. Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, and Martin Truex own multi-time winners at Richmond. Lastly, Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman, and Alex Bowman all have at least one Richmond victory to their resume. Kyle Busch and Martin Truex have stood out among the competition in recent years, with four victories in the last six races at Richmond. Truex deserves a lot of consideration this week due to his performance under the 750hp rules package. All 3 of Truex's victories have been conquered under this package, and he has become an excellent short track driver in recent years.
Truex has the long-run speed that is ideal for succeeding at Richmond and leads all drivers in most major statistical categories, including average running position, average finish, laps led, and fastest laps over the last five races. As a result, I have boosted Truex into the overall favorite position on my rankings this week ahead of Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin. However, I believe there will be sharp betting opportunities in all formats around the Team Penske cars of Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Ryan Blaney. If you look at the 750hp performance trends on the short-flat tracks like Phoenix, Richmond, and Loudon this year; Team Penske cars have been really strong.
Personally, I believe Joey Logano has the most realistic upside this week. Despite Keselowski's historical success, Logano has been the driver from Team Penske that has performed best under this rules package. In combination with in-season performance, Logano has finished 4th or better in seven of the last nine races at Richmond, making him an ideal betting target in all formats against 2nd-tier drivers. Another driver that could be potentially targeted in H2H match-ups includes the #10 of Aric Almirola. Almirola had a breakout victory at Loudon and has posted back-to-back top 10 finishes in his last two starts at Richmond. While I don't think Almirola strikes gold in Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 400, I do believe he holds tremendous value in H2H match-ups that can yield profit!
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