April 30, 2009

Event Day Games: Richmond

Last week was wild and wooly at Talladega; the action at Richmond will be just as action-packed.

Richmond is known as the action track for a reason. It's a short course that thinks it's a superspeedway and 43 cars are able to race side by side in 3/4ths of a mile. The leaders are clear of traffic only moments after a green flag waves and the fans in the stands have a hard time deciding which battle to follow.

Somehow, however, the cream continues to rise to the top. Six drivers enter the weekend with at least three top-10s in their last four attempts, and one of these racers—Kevin Harvick—has an eight-race top-10s streak to his credit.

Join us at http://www.eventdaygames.com/ this week to play along with our unique fantasy game.

Stewart has longest Richmond Top-5 streak

Kevin Harvick may have the longest top-10 streak, but Tony Stewart has come closest to finding victory lane in recent Richmond events. He enters the weekend with three consecutive top-fives on this track.

Our View: Fantasy owners are probably getting tired of hearing this, but it seems that the "next" race continues to be the best opportunity for Stewart to get his first win as an owner/driver. And regardless of whether he wins, he will still earn a lot of fantasy points.

Close, but no cigar at Richmond

Joe Gibbs Racing racers Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch are the two drivers with the best average finish at Richmond without a victory, according to NASCAR.com. Busch's average finish is 6.8; Hamlin's is 8.8.

Our View: Handicapping races and selecting a winner can be difficult, but guaranteed top-10s can be worth their in fantasy gold.

Short Tracks, Three-year Avg. Finish

All signs are pointing to this being a good week for Denny Hamlin. Not only does he have the second-best average finish at Richmond (behind teammate Kyle Busch), he has also been the best on the three combined short tracks of Richmond, Martinsville and Bristol. His average finish is 8.11 in 18 races.

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are the only two other drivers with an average finish better than 10th.

DriverAvg FinishAttempts
Denny Hamlin8.1118
Jeff Gordon9.0618
Jimmie Johnson9.8918
Kevin Harvick10.5618
Clint Bowyer10.8318
Kyle Busch10.8318
Tony Stewart11.0018
Dale Earnhardt Jr11.0018
Marcos Ambrose12.002
Mark Martin12.7010
Carl Edwards13.6718
Ryan Newman14.5018
Jeff Burton15.0618
Greg Biffle17.5018
Kasey Kahne17.5018
Matt Kenseth18.7218
Juan Montoya20.2914
Casey Mears20.4418
David Ragan20.9315
Kurt Busch21.6118
Bobby Labonte21.8318
Martin Truex Jr23.8318
Scott Riggs24.2218
David Reutimann25.1414
David Stremme25.5012
Jamie McMurray25.5018
Tony Raines26.6213
Reed Sorenson27.4418
Elliott Sadler27.5018
Paul Menard27.8614
Dave Blaney28.0618
A J Allmendinger29.9212
David Gilliland30.6517
Brian Vickers30.7218
Michael Waltrip31.3318
Scott Speed32.333
Robby Gordon32.7818
Sam Hornish Jr33.119
Joey Logano35.002
Joe Nemechek35.5917
John Andretti38.717
Jeremy Mayfield38.8211
Todd Bodine42.502

Harvick has longest Richmond Top-10 streak

Kevin Harvick enters the weekend with the longest top-10 streak among active drivers. He's finished that well in eight consecutive races and garnered an average finish of sixth.

Our View: If RCR's crew swap between him and Casey Mears is going to work, it should start to show dividends right away. And if Harvick cannot be successful this weekend at Richmond, there is very little hope for the immediate future. It is probably safe to start him this week, but if he stumbles, then approach the No. 29 with caution for the next few weeks.

April 29, 2009

Prilosec OTC to sponsor RCR

Prilosec OTC will be the primary sponsor for three races with RCR, according to SceneDaily.com. They will sponsor Jeff Burton this week at Richmond and for the upcoming Brickyard 400. Additionally, they will be the primary sponsor on Clint Bowyer's car in October's race at Auto Club Speedway.

Our View: Money makes the world go round and teams are likely to get a little more bang for the buck with limited-run sponsorships.

Keselowski welcome to stay at JR Motorsports

Brad Keselowski may not know what he's doing in 2010, but he's welcome to stay at JR Motorsports if he desires, according to Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Our View: Keselowski needs to give some serious thought to remaining in a competitive ride, regardless of whether it is in the Nationwide or Cup series. The temptation to capitalize on his momentum is great, but if he is patient, a long term future could be guaranteed by staying with JR and Hendrick Motorsports.

Richmond entry list posted

The entry list for the Crown Royal 400 has been posted and it features 45 cars. Notable among the part time entries is Brad Keselowski in James Finch's Chevrolet.

Our View: It's taken a while, but the entry list is shrinking because of the economic situation. That will allow the more determined teams easier access into the race and give them a chance to improve their performance.

McClure sentenced

In the same week that his son failed to qualify the family car at Talladega, Larry McClure was sentenced to 18 months in prison for federal tax fraud, according to SceneDaily.com.

Our View: Once considered a powerhouse in NASCAR, the sport seemingly passed them by as multi-car owners and high dollar sponsorships edged out the independent owner. Notably, car owner James Finch went to victory lane last week, but no one expects that smaller, lightly-funded teams will make a resurgence any time soon.

April 28, 2009

Indy Tire woes continue

Goodyear's tire woes that plagued last year's Brickyard 400 are far from fixed. In recent tire tests, drivers were still able to make only 12-15 laps runs before the cords were showing.

Our View: Last year's Brickyard 400 was outright embarrassing and impossible to handicap. Be prepared to throw this race away unless Goodyear comes up with a new compound quickly. For more on the story, check out NASCAR.com.

Yahoo! Richmond Preview

Last week's race gave new meaning to the phrase "wild card." This week should be much more predictable. Check out the Yahoo! Preview.

Six Who Can

Six drivers have dominated the top 10 at Richmond during the last two years. Jimmie Johnson leads the list with three victories in four races and is followed by Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon with four consecutive top-10s. Actually, Harvick has eight such results in the last four years to expand on his streak.

Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch round out the list of top Richmond performers with three top-10s in their last four efforts. The cream truly rises to the top.

Handicapping Talladega sucks (or, "It's not my fault")

If you got creamed in your fantasy team this week, don't feel too bad. No one would have predicted Brad Keselowski would win or that four "rookies" would finish in the top 10. Marcos Ambrose in fourth, Scott Speed in fifth and Joey Logano in ninth locked up a bunch of top-10 spots that might have been taken by marquee drivers. I have to point out, however, that Ambrose was on my Yahoo! team.