NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Toyota Owners 400 at The Action Track


Ross Chastain brought us another feel-good story this season at COTA. Watching a driver get his first career Cup Series win never gets old. Chastain's win hit a couple of special historic milestones. The victory was the third from a first-time winner this season. Chastain became the 11th consecutive driver under 30 to get to Victory Lane in the Cup Series and the sixth different winner this season.

Will Richmond be the breakout race for the lagging Toyotas as well as seasoned drivers who typically run well here? This race will be a key indicator if we should be concerned about drivers like Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. Stay tuned.
This Week's Pick Strategy:
I'm covering race weekend trackside here at Richmond and I'm hearing that drivers aren't expecting any big surprises this weekend, but they haven't run a lap yet in this New Gen car, so I'm a bit skeptical. I'm going with drivers who already have wins and have run well here in the past. I'll add in drivers who seem to be out front week after week contending for wins whether or not they've been competitive here in the past.

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years and 9/2020 race):
Spring race in 2021, 2019, 2018, and 2017 plus 9/2020 race
Joey Logano - 5
All with 4 - Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick
Both with 3 - Austin Dillon and Aric Almirola

By Track (2017 to 2021)
Kyle Busch - 8
All with 7 - Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr.
Brad Keselowski - 6
Both with 5 - Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott

Recent Pole Winners:
2021 Martin Truex Jr. (Set by metric qualifying)
2020 Kevin Harvick (September 9, 2020, set by metric qualifying)
2019 Kevin Harvick
2021 Race Winner: Alex Bowman 
My 2 Cents:  My no-brainer pick is Kyle Busch. My next picks are Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Tyler Reddick, and Christopher Bell. I'll complete my roster with Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones.

Second-look driver: This week's sleeper pick is Austin Dillon. Austin has had decent runs in the past here, scoring one Top 5 and four Top 10s. He currently is 18th in the standings.

My Final Four: Kyle Busch, Christopher Bell, Joey Logano and Daniel Suarez

Points to Ponder:
  • The pole is the most prolific starting position in the field, producing more winners than any other starting position at Richmond Raceway with 24.
  • Joe Gibbs Racing leads the NASCAR Cup Series in victories at Richmond Raceway with 17 wins among six drivers.
  • Petty Enterprises has the second-most Cup Series wins at Richmond with 15 victories.
  • Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in wins at Richmond with six victories, in runner-up finishes with seven, and in Top 5s with 18. He also leads active drivers in average finishing position at Richmond Raceway with a 6.875.
  • Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers in Top 10s at Richmond with 26.
  • Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers with 2,108 laps led in 30 starts.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your initial picks by 8 a.m. ET on Saturday, April 2nd, and your final picks by 3:30 p.m. ET on race day Sunday, April 3rd.

Enjoy the race!
Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 16 years. She launched  NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet.

When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Toyota Owners 400 at The Action Track NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Toyota Owners 400 at The Action Track Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Friday, April 01, 2022 Rating: 5