It’s been quite the weekend at Richmond Raceway thus far. First, with the condensed schedule that NASCAR loves, there were two practice sessions and qualifying crammed into Friday, but rain took out the final practice scheduled so we’re left with one session of practice data–which was ran in the morning/early afternoon–and qualifying. Tonight’s race isn’t set to go green until almost 8 pm ET, so that practice data has to be taken with a grain of salt, and as far as qualifying goes, this is an impound race so we had post-qualifying inspection on Saturday afternoon and eight cars failed and will all have to start from the rear. Like I said, quite the weekend. Hopefully the race will be as eventful.

My Favorite Bets for Richmond

Chase Elliott Jimmie Johnson Fantasy NASCAR 2018
Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Denny Hamlin (-155) over Ryan Blaney (+125) – Even with Denny Hamlin failing post-qualifying inspection this weekend and having to start from the rear, he’s still the heavy favorite in this H2H against Ryan Blaney. But I don’t mind taking this bet at all because if Hamlin would be starting in his original spot, he’d probably be closer to -200. With this matchup we have one guy who is really good at this race track (Denny Hamlin, average finish of 9.6, three wins) against a guy that is not good at this race track (Ryan Blaney, average finish of 27.0, zero top 15s). Blaney’s #12 Ford did show speed in practice on Friday, I’ll give him that, but that always happens. Hamlin has a faster car heading into Saturday night and he’s much better at this track. Only a wreck or stupid penalties will keep Hamlin from finishing ahead of Blaney in the Toyota Owners 400.

Jimmie Johnson (+125) over Erik Jones (-155) – I’m actually very surprised how favored Jones is over Johnson in this matchup. Both are starting at the rear of the field for Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 (Johnson in 34th, Jones in 35th) but you’d have to give the heavy nod to Johnson in this even if Jones was starting significantly further up. This season has been nothing short of a major disappointment thus far for Erik Jones, as he has three top 10s along with three finishes of 20th or worse and an overall average finish of 16.1. Meanwhile, Johnson is starting to find his groove again, and has back-to-back top 10 finishes–as well as nine straight results of 11th or better here at Richmond specifically. I will say that the #20 Toyota looked better in practice here on Friday, but you have to remember, you can’t put too much stock in that session. Plus, Erik Jones tends to out-practice his race pace anyway.

As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.