We find ourselves at the end of a back-to-back-to-back stretch of short track racing. We’ve gone from the dirt at Bristol, to the Paperclip in Martinsville, and this week we enjoy racing from, “America’s Premier Short Track,” also known as the Richmond Raceway. There may be a few scores to settle this week after some heated racing in Martinsville and a crash that took out almost half the field. Regardless of any personal vendettas, there will be more nail-biting, hard-steering action to enjoy this week during the Toyota Owners 400. As always, that racing is made better when you are entered into some Monkey Knife Fight prop contests.
If you are reading this article and haven’t signed up for Monkey Knife Fight, what are you waiting for? In fact, if you sign up now and use the promo code “FFSQC” they will match your deposit 100% up to $50. That is free money waiting for you to grab.
Here are some of my favorite plays from this week’s contests. Scoring in these contests is based on finishing positions inside the Top 20 with 20 points awarded to first place. An additional 0.1 points are tacked on for each lap led. Below are some picks to help you get started in your MKF contests.
More Or Less
Martin Truex Jr. More 18.5 Fantasy Points
It was a fantastic week for Martin Truex Jr. in Martinsville. His car was set up perfectly for the 49-lap green flag run that ended the race. With 16 to go, he ran down Denny Hamlin, passed him, and held on for the win. Lucky for us, he has a chance to run on another short track where he’s had success in the past. When it comes to fantasy points, Truex and the Richmond Raceway are a match made in heaven.
Since the fall race of the 2016 season, he has led a total of 970 laps. He has two checkered flags in the last three races here. All of his finishes over the last four Richmond races have been inside the Top 3. No one has led more laps than him in the last five outings on this track. He also leads all active drivers in Top 5 finishes here.
Truex will take the green flag from the pole this week. That gives him the opportunity to find clean air from the start. Even if he doesn’t win this race, he has the potential to hit this mark on lap points alone. There are 40 available this week, the real question here is, how many of those will he claim?
Brad Keselowski More Than 16.5 Fantasy Points
Sometimes in racing, no matter how well you run at a track, luck just goes against you. Such was the case last week for Brad Keselowski. With 114 to go he found himself with a wrecked hot rod. A spinout which caused Kyle Busch and Chris Buescher to block the entire track collected the back half of the field. Caught up in that mess was Keselowski who had endured several setbacks over the entire race. It was a tragic end to what could have been another great day in Martinsville for the #2 car.
Thankfully this Sunday presents a clean slate and another opportunity to drive in comfortable surroundings. The last time NASCAR came to Richmond, Virginia, Keselowski took home the checkered flag. His consistency over his last four races here make him all but a lock to cash this prop. Since the Spring race of 2018, Keselowski has either finished high enough, or has accumulated enough laps led on top of his finish to top this 16.5 fantasy point mark.
He’ll have his work cut out for him starting from the 20th spot. That said, he’s proven he can find his way to the front half of the pack despite starting deep in the field. That same Spring race of 2018 that started his run of top-10 finishes he started 28th. He worked his way up to finish in 8th at the end of the race.
Kyle Larson (+1.5) More Fantasy Points Than Chase Elliot
This battle of Hendrick teammates will be hard-fought. Chase Elliot, the reigning NASCAR Cup Champion hasn’t enjoyed much consistency at the outset of the season. After a promising second-place finish at the Daytona 500, he came back down to Earth with a 21st place showing on the road course. Since then, he’s had just as many finishes outside of the Top 10 as he’s had inside it. Last week he took advantage of a good long run to slide into a second-place finish at Martinsville. He’ll start third this week, and will hope his luck has turned at a track where his average finish is 12th place.
On the flip side, Kyle Larson has put together a more consistent 2021 season so far. Over the first eight races of the year, he’s had top-10 finishes in all but two of them. This includes a 5th place finish on the short track last week. Of the two drivers, Larson does have a victory in Richmond on his resume. In the fall of 2017, he drove his Target Chevrolet from a fourth place start to a first place finish. Since then, three of his last four races at the track he’s finished in seventh place or better. He starts in sixth, so he’ll have to play a little catch up to get to Elliot from the green flag. Although, Larson has shown great skills in his new Hendrick ride and with his point bonus should cash this prop.
Kyle Busch More Fantasy Points Than Kevin Harvick (+1.5)
As has already been established, there are 40 points up for grabs in terms of laps led in the race. Kyle Busch factors heavily into the conversation when it comes to claiming a fair share of those points. Busch is second to Truex in terms of laps led in Richmond over the last five races. He’s totaled 431 laps in the front of the pack in that span. In his career on this track, he’s led over 200 laps four times. While he may not win many of these, he still finishes well. Only once has he not finished in the Top 10 in his last 10 outings here. He’ll roll off the grid 10th this Sunday and should stay somewhere in that vicinity barring any crazy wrecks or missed setups.
Kevin Harvick has qualified well in Richmond over the last seven years. In the last four races alone, he’s collected three pole awards. None of them sadly, has equated to a first place finish. It’s not all doom and gloom though, he does have two career wins, 26 top-10’s and 15 top-5’s to his name here. The reason for not taking Harvick and the points here is not the past, but the present. Harvick hasn’t had a terrible season per se, just a disappointing one by his standards. Despite his recent run of top-10 finishes in Richmond, the force that is Kyle Busch could be too strong to overcome.