The Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond caps off Easter with a race under the lights at the Action Track. The Virginia short track has long been known as a challenging place to race. From the layout to the surface to the different dynamics between day and night races. You name it, Richmond is a challenge. The best part about this? We’re set up for a great race for NASCAR DFS on DraftKings and Fanduel on Sunday night. Just how are we building lineups for the Toyota Owners 400? What are the trends for Richmond races? How far back can we play drivers in the field? Who are the top drivers we’re playing in NASCAR DFS on Sunday? All this and more in this week’s Toyota Owners 400 playbook.

Richmond Raceway Race Trends

As we take a look at previous races at Richmond, it’s important to note that looking at night races are the more important ones to study. Why? Quite simply it’s a far different track at night than it is in the daytime. The passing is far tougher in the night races, the track has different grip characteristics than it does during the mid-afternoon races. The trends listed below bear this out. Some of the key metrics we look at when building lineups are pretty telling in the last four races. There is an average of single-digit drivers to move up both six spots and double-digit spots in PD in those races. The laps led in previous races are coming at a very high clip from drivers starting in the top-10, and only one or two drivers a race lead more than 100 laps in the 400-lap races. Two other things to note is that only a few drivers per race are starting outside of the top-10 and finishing inside the top-10. Secondly, less than half the field on average finishes on the lead lap in the night races. When looking at the day races here, about 19-20 on average finish on the lead lap, however in the night races the most of late has been 15.

Positive Place Differential1717151415.75
Six+ Place Differential Spots86797.5
Double-Digit Place Differential43474.5
Double-Digit Fast Laps911121110.75
20+ Laps Led45354.25
50+ Laps Led32332.75
100+ Laps Led11221.5
Lead Lap Finishers911131612.25
Top-10 Finishers Start>P12314328%
Laps Led From Top-1029939740040094%

Richmond NASCAR Practice and Qualifying Results

The following chart shows the practice and qualifying results from Saturday’s session at Richmond. The idea is to show the difference in where a driver qualified versus where they practiced. However, a few things of note, firstly, and most importantly, Group A in practice were significantly faster than Group B due to track conditions changing. In addition, Group B qualifying times were faster than Group A’s times so it was a bit topsy-turvy.

DriverAvg. Prac to QualQual1-Lap10-Lap15-Lap20-Lap25-Lap30-Lap
Kyle Larson-21152244
Chase Elliott-232292623222325
Ross Chastain-283363632292726
Alex Bowman24521112
Bubba Wallace-105221514121212
Todd Gilliland-126281817151517
Martin Truex Jr-137212221191816
Ty Gibbs38666555
Austin Cindric-199263029272828
Joey Logano510235666
Denny Hamlin-1511233128242524
Ryan Blaney912714421
William Byron-213191715141313
Chris Buescher1114343333
Kyle Busch-1215342926252423
Ryan Preece-71613143331  
Noah Gragson-317271920181718
John H. Nemechek9184111010810
Tyler Reddick-719313227232222
Daniel Suarez-220242122202121
Corey Lajoie-1021333331302929
Austin Dillon52212121132  
Brad Keselowski523162519171615
Ricky Stenhouse Jr1624988977
Carson Hocevar-22530282426  
Harrison Burton1726117771111
Erik Jones527182325   
Zane Smith12817243534  
Christopher Bell929202018212020
Josh Berry2030891211109
Michael McDowell1831141313131414
Chase Briscoe1432251616161919
Ty Dillon-2333535    
Daniel Hemric73415273433  
Kaz Grala635323430282627
Justin Haley273610109898

DraftKings Scoring Trends For Richmond Night Races

The following graph shows the scoring averages by starting position over the last four night races at Richmond. We used specifically night races because of the difference in the track and the racing under the lights at Richmond.

The first thing that stands out in this graph is the steepness with which the pts fall off about halfway through the field. There are a couple of spikes in the back half of the field but in general most of the points come from the front half. That shouldn’t be shocking given the number of laps and difficulty of passing here. It is nonetheless something to keep in mind for both GPPs and cash games. The other thing that caps the scoring from the back half is the lack of cars that tend to finish on the lead lap and thus limits the finish position points and the positional differential upside.

FanDuel Scoring Trends For Richmond Night Races

The following graph shows the scoring averages by starting position over the last four night races at Richmond. We used specifically night races because of the difference in the track and the racing under the lights at Richmond.

While there are still more points scored per position in the front of the field on FanDuel than the back half, like DraftKings, the back half has more value. We can play more drivers starting further back here thanks to the inflation of laps completed points they still get. There are more drivers deep in the field who are closer to the average points scored on Fanduel but we’re still only looking at one of those guys per build, especially with only five drivers in a lineup on Fanduel.

NASCAR DFS Strategy For Toyota Owners 400

So with the race trends, practice and qualifying results, and scoring history trends being thought about, how are we building lineups? We’re starting with laps led dominators. Our builds will need likely two laps led dominators in them. We’re also going to need a couple of drivers who can get those double-digit PD points filled. The rest of the build, be it on FanDuel or DraftKings, needs to be a driver or drivers who can nab top-15 or top-10 finishes. If we follow those build guidelines, and get a bit different in some of our picks from the full player pool below, we will have lineups that compete for takedowns.

One last strategy point for Richmond, the package and the tires on the cars are identical to that of Phoenix a few races ago. Bristol had a ton of tire wear and Richmond has perhaps the most tire wear of the flatter tracks on the schedule. That being said, it was an intermediate package on the cars at Bristol and the banking makes it not terribly comparable to Richmond in the long run even with the tire wear factors. If you want to play some guys who did well at Bristol because of that tire wear, that’s fine but know that the speed at Bristol may not transfer thanks to the different package.

Top Tier Salary Driver Plays

Christopher Bell

Bell made perhaps more news for his reaction to Kyle Busch last week than his showing on the track. With that behind him now though, Bell has his work cut out for him as he starts P29 on Sunday. The practice speeds suggest he wasn’t that great but in actuallity he was the best car in the second group at practice and he’s in a Toyota which benefits him at Richmond. Look for Bell to be pair with Truex or Larson for a combo of laps led and PD but there is a chance that Bell is lesser played as players look for cheaper PD options.

Martin Truex Jr.

It’s Truex. It’s his Autotrader paint scheme. It’s Richmond. It’s a night race. Put the four together and good things tend to happen for Truex. In the last four night races here, MTJ has three wins and a P2 finish to his credit. The car looked good and stable on the long run at practice and he was basically the fastest car on the track in Group B at practice. The car was great at Phoenix and then in a tire wear race at Bristol he was even better. Get ready for the most popular play in this range.

Kyle Larson

On the pole at Richmond tends to be a way to lead a bunch of laps early. The 5-car has been fast at Richmond previously with him nabbing a win here a couple of years ago. Him being the pole-sitter, and quick will make him a popular play at the bottom of the top-tier salary range as a way to lock in laps led. If you want to pivot and save some salary, a cheaper option for laps led could be his teammate Alex Bowman but both he and Larson have negative PD downside to be weary of.

Mid-Tier Salary Driver Plays

Chris Buescher

Another week, another quick 17-car for Buescher. This is being to get to be copy-paste each week for him as his driving style fits basically everywhere. He did win here last year, though not in a night race, but a win is a win. He’ll start just outside the top-10 but has the speed to finish in the top-five when all is said and done.

Brad Keselowski

The race that Truex didn’t win in the last four night races was won by Keselowski. Granted it was 2020 and those results need to be taken with a grain of salt thanks to no practice and qualifying. Keselowski outside of that win though has posted four-straight P11 or better finishes with three-straight P6 or better. The program at RFK is getting a lot better quickly and they have shown up with a ton of speed seemingly every week over the last year. This week should be no different for Keselowski who seems to be primed for another solid race weekend.

Chase Briscoe

Over the last three similar races to Richmond, Briscoe has three P11 or better finishes. In the last six such races, he has four such finishes. He will have work to do to get into that range this weekend when he rolls off P32 so there’s a risk of him being trapped a lap down. However, for GPPs for lower-played options, Briscoe fits the bill as a guy who could get 20 spots of PD who’s not played a ton.

Josh Berry

Berry cut his teeth on the short flat tracks of the Mid-Atlantic like Richmond. He’s experienced at this style of racing and that bore fruit here last year when he moved up very well in Chase Elliott’s Chevy in the Spring race. Though that wasn’t a night race, it does show that he knows how to weave through traffic at this track. Berry will start P30 and had solid speed at practice and just as another check in his column, the P30 starting spot has been top-15 in scoring on average.

Value Tier Salary Driver Plays

Noah Gragson

Gragson has arguably been the second-best driver at SHR this year in terms of consistency. When we couple that with his team being the one that led Aric Almirola to be good at shorter, flatter tracks, we have a nice combo. Gragson started P7 and finished P12 at Phoenix but that was still enough for value, if he finishes P12 here, after starting P17, there’s PD and finish points to be had. The speed in practice was a tad questionable, but again it’s hard to judge the second group as a whole.

Austin Dillon

In three of the last four similar races, Dillon has a P13 and two P9s. Richmond has been one of the better tracks for Dillon in his career as well. The practice speed seems to indicate that he could be in line for another top-15 finish here which would be enough for value at his price and starting spot. There’s also a reasonable chance that he’s underplayed given that RCR has been a bit overlooked this year.

John H. Nemechek

It’s been a mixed bag of results this year for Nemechek. He finished P25 after starting P19 at Phoenix but then started P26 and finished P6 at Bristol. If the tire wear run is more indicative of his ability, Nemechek could be in for a good race, if the Phoenix run is closer, then there’s risk. The practice speed was solid for Nemechek and if that holds, we’re likely in for a Bristol showing.

Justin Haley

The move to RWR seems to be paying off for Haley. He’s had speed and has finished well which is all we need him to do again. Haley is starting dead last but ran well at practice, if we can take his practice speed for real. Either way, if he can start to move up quickly, the dead last starting spot isn’t that big of a problem. When we look at his run at Phoenix, Haley stated P33 and finished P24 for 5x value. That’s what we’re looking for again this weekend.

Player Pool

$ Tier {{pos.alias}}


{{}} {{}}
DraftKings {{player.fantasy.price.value[8]}}-
Fanduel {{player.fantasy.price.value[6]}}-