Federated Auto Parts 400 Predictions, Odds & Picks
- Despite Bowman’s win in the spring, Gibbs cars are still dominant at Richmond.
- The Team Penske Fords can’t be discounted at the Virginia short track.
- After a strong Darlington performance, Kurt Busch is an underrated entry.
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Last week, Denny Hamlin escaped Darlington with his first victory of the season, holding off Kyle Larson to win the opening NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race and earn an automatic berth in the second round.
Others weren’t as fortunate. Three of the four drivers in the vaunted Hendrick Motorsports armada—Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott and William Byron—had catastrophic Playoff openers, finishing 26th, 31st and 34th, respectively.
Their collective ill fortune tightened the race at the bottom of the 16-driver field, which will be cut to 12 after the Sept. 18 Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Saturday’s race, whose full name is the Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders, will be contested over 400 laps (300 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 80 and 235 laps. Brad Keselowski is the defending winner. Bowman won the April 2021 event at the track.
Alex Bowman’s Win Aside, the JGR Cars Are Dominant at Richmond
Yes, Alex Bowman stole the spring race at Richmond Raceway, going to the front for the final 10 circuits after Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. had led 207 and 107 laps, respectively.
Don’t expect lightning to strike twice in the second race of the Round of 16 in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff. Hamlin (+500 at PointsBet Sportsbook) is fresh from his first win of the season last Sunday at Darlington and has a free pass into the next round.
Hamlin will be a contender, but we expect Truex (+460) to win the race—if he can avoid the sorts of snafus that cost him a chance for victory at Darlington.
Despite a loose lug nut that cost him a lap and a pit road speeding penalty that sent him to the rear of the field after he had regained the lost lap, Truex recovered to finish fourth in the Playoff opener.
There’s plenty of speed in his No. 19 JGR Toyota, and don’t forget, Truex swept both Richmond races in 2019.
Don’t forget Kyle Busch either. The two-time Cup champion crashed out of the Playoff opener in 35th place and fell below the current cut line for the Round of 12. But Busch (+750) is resilient, and he leads all active drivers with six Richmond wins.
Though we like Truex to win, we also think Busch is a good value at the price.
Richmond Is a Track That Could Be Good News for the Team Penske Fords
Brad Keselowski is the defending winner of the Federated Auto Parts 400, having scored his second Richmond victory last September.
Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate, Joey Logano, also is a two-time winner at the track. And the Penske Fords as a rule are more competitive at the shorter tracks, where NASCAR mandates a 750-horsepower competition package versus the 550-package on intermediate speedways.
Keselowski is an even better choice to run top five. At DraftKings, you can back Keselowski at +140 for that proposition. We recommend that bet.
After Strong Darlington Performance, Kurt Busch Is the Best Sleeper Pick
In his final season with Chip Ganassi Racing, Kurt Busch is getting very little love when it comes to the NASCAR Playoff.
Those who discount Busch’s chances, however, are basing their assessments more on the quality of the equipment than the elite talent of the driver.
Busch (+4000 to win at PointsBet Sportsbook) finished sixth last Sunday in the Playoff opener at Darlington after running solidly in the top 10 for the vast majority of the race.
Busch has two Richmond victories to his credit, in 2005 and 2015. He also won at the .75-mile track in 2012 in his brother’s NASCAR Xfinity Series car, posting the only victory of the season in that car.
How to Watch Federated Auto Parts 400
|Federated Auto Parts 400 Information|
|Race||Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Cup Series race|
|Time||Saturday, September 11, 7:30 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||NBCSN|
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]