DraftKings’ daily fantasy NASCAR contest is back at Richmond Raceway. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wraps up the regular season Saturday night. The green flag flies for the Federated Auto Parts 400 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
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 also key.
Here are two must-start drivers on DraftKings for Saturday night’s race.
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Matt Kenseth ($9,000)
Starting Position: First
Kenseth was lightning quick right off the trailer Friday morning. He tied with regular season points champion Martin Truex Jr. for the top spot in opening practice. Both drivers recorded a best lap time of 22.333 seconds at a speed of 120.897 mph. He was fifth fastest in final practice and then won the pole for the race.
It’s no surprise, really that Kenseth will start Saturday night up front. He was the most dominant driver in the first Richmond race, too, starting from the pole and leading the first 164 laps. He also had 54 total fastest laps, second most of the race.
Kenseth has graced Victory Lane twice at Richmond, most recently in 2015 and is itching for a victory heading into the playoffs. He’s also been up front in four straight Richmond events, leading the most laps in two of them.
The 10th most expensive driver in the field this weekend, Kenseth will be a great pivot play for you off the more popular drivers.
Ryan Newman ($7,200)
Starting Position: 27th
Newman is criminally underpriced this weekend. He had the same salary for the first Richmond race back in April and finished seventh. He also led 25 laps from his 12th starting position and spent all night working towards the front.
Newman has one win in 31 career starts at Richmond. He also ranks fifth among all active drivers with five or more starts in average finish (12.1). That stat alone puts him above any other driver with a similar salary. For example, Newman’s teammate Austin Dillon, whose career average finish is 22.0, is listed at $7,400 and has yet to post a top-10 result at Richmond in seven tries.
In Friday’s first practice session, Newman was 12th quickest. He ran 43 laps total, the fastest coming early in the run. He also recorded the fourth fastest 10 consecutive lap average of the 28 cars to make long runs.
As for the afternoon session, Newman was a bit slower, ranking 18th. He then qualified 27th, giving him plenty of room to move forward on Saturday night.
Newman is the 20th most expensive driver on DraftKings this weekend but has the most upside of any of the cheaper selections. He has been a mover this season and once again is a near guarantee for a top-15 result.