Federated Auto Parts 400, Odds and Predictions
by Tony Sink - 9/5/2014
The Cup Series heads back to Richmond International Raceway this weekend for Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400. The short track is already known for some hard side-by-side racing and the occasional bump-and-run, and since this weekend's race also happens to be the regular-season finale, an intense 400 miles is likely on tap as drivers not in the Chase try to do everything they can to get to victory lane and qualify for the playoffs. 14 of the 16 spots for the Chase have been wrapped up so just two remain. If nothing changes then it would be Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle getting the last two spots.
NASCAR teams will use different strategies in this race, depending on their position in the standings. Some teams will play it safe because they have a good chance to make it into the Chase on points (Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman). Other teams will take any risk possible because they need the win to advance to the playoffs (Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Tony Stewart, Marcos Ambrose, Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray).
It helps to start up front at Richmond as the pole sitter has won 22 times. Also, starting in the Top 10 is vital when making your picks as 77.5% of the race winners have had a Top 10 starting spot.
Jeff Gordon led 173 laps in the first Richmond race this season but finished second. He should be right in the hunt and he is listed with odds of 6-1. Brad Keselowski also figures to be right in the mix and he is also 6-1.
Here are my picks for the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond.
Tony’s Pick: Matt Kenseth (8 to 1)
Kenseth was already improving at Richmond, and his move to Joe Gibbs Racing last year only seemed to speed up the process. In three starts at the track with JGR, he has finishes of seventh, sixth and fifth. In his last five starts at Richmond, Kenseth has compiled a rock solid 6.8 average finish and hasn't finished worse than 11th. Kenseth has a series-best average finishing position and the second-best driver rating over the last five races at the track.
Don’t Overlook: Jeff Gordon (6 to 1)
He has two career wins here and has finished in the top ten in well over half of his starts at this track. This team has been solid all season and would like to get that extra bonus point for wins heading into the Chase next week. Jeff led the most laps in the spring race here on his way to a second place finish.
Stay Away: Brian Vickers (60 to 1)
He has had some horrible luck at the track over the years and way too many awful finishes. Overall, he has a 24.6 average finish in 17 starts at RIR and has finished outside the Top 20 in three of his last four starts.
2014 Doc’s NASCAR Selections
• $100 bettors up +$7,116 on the season
• 59-33 (64%) on the season with our driver match-up selections
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