The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series hit the track Friday at Richmond International Raceway in preparation for Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400. Matt Kenseth won the Coors Light Pole Award while Ryan Blaney notched his third front row start of the season.
The DraftKings strategy for short tracks is much different than any other type of oval. A smaller track means more laps, which means that you want to find drivers who will run up front and lead. Unless there is a great value play for someone starting towards the back, it is crucial to pinpoint drivers starting towards the front. Track position is key.
Here are two drivers that are must-starts for Sunday’s DraftKings contests.
Matt Kenseth ($8,800)
Starting Position: 1st/Pole
Kenseth picked up his second top five of the 2017 season at Bristol last weekend, and looks to be gathering momentum heading into the Richmond race. Starting on pole gives him tremendous dominator value for his salary price, making him this weekend’s first hot-start.
The past five Richmond race winners have all started within the top five. Also, two of those were from the pole, and Kenseth himself won from second in the fall of 2015.
In that victory, Kenseth led 352 of 400 laps. He amassed 188 total DraftKings points in the contest: 88 by way of laps led, and 53 by recording 106 fastest laps. As a sign of his dominance, that total was 111 more than the next highest-scoring driver, Denny Hamlin.
In addition, Kenseth ranks fifth among all active drivers in laps led at Richmond with a total of 760 and is tied for third in top-10 finishes with 16. In the last eight races, he only has two results outside the top 10 at Richmond; that bodes well for your roster.
Clint Bowyer ($8,500)
Starting Position: 8th
Bowyer is arguably the hottest driver going right now. He is averaging an 11th-place finish through eight races, a number that jumps to 5.8 in the last four.
That makes him a lock for a top-10 finish, driving a car capable of winning the entire Richmond race.
Bowyer has two wins at this short track in 22 career starts. Prior to the 2016 season, in which he raced for now defunct HScott Motorsports, he had three straight top-10 results. Third place in the fall of 2014 was the best among those performances.
Bowyer was runner-up to winner Jimmie Johnson at Bristol Monday, setting a new season high. He has not finished worse than 13th since the Daytona 500, now sitting eighth in series points. That makes him the highest-placed Stewart-Haas Racing driver in the standings.
Since joining SHR for the 2017 campaign, Bowyer seems to have much more confidence on track. He is driving in top-tier equipment, backed by a great team, and it shows on race day.
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