Fantasy NASCAR NASCAR Fantasy Live


The Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway lived up to its reputation as a 5-hour battle of attrition to the drivers and viewers. When the caution flags stopped, Carl Edwards came back from the dead to win the race in the closing laps!

We are now only one race away from the start of the Chase. Richmond International Raceway also offers the last opportunity for drivers to qualify for the playoffs by winning a race.

Expect drivers like Kyle Larson and Kasey Kahne to take long chances to try to sneak a win. From a fantasy racing perspective, front-load your lineup in an effort to get the most out of the laps led and fast laps statistic. With each team having a unique strategy due to the standings, the race in Richmond may prove itself to be difficult to forecast. I am leaning towards drivers who have been consistent throughout the season and had a positive outcome in the race earlier this season.

For those of you who read my article on a weekly basis, the first roster choice will be no surprise. Kevin Harvick has been the most consistent driver in the series in 2015 and has a positive track history at Richmond. The combination is a recipe for a high probability for success this week. Harvick has finished in the top-5 in three of his last five Richmond starts. Over the same time span, Harvick has an average finish position of 6th place and has spent 95% of his laps running in the top-15. In the April race, Harvick finished in 2nd place while spending 100% of his laps running in the top-15. Through 23 races in 2015, Harvick has earned 16 top-5 finishes and 20 top-10 finishes. He is 1st in the Series in laps led and fast laps. Due to his numbers, I recommend Harvick for your lineup.

After leading 291 laps en route to a victory in April, Kurt Busch is my recommendation for the 2nd roster spot. With laps led and fast laps weighted heavily this week, going with a driver who had a dominating effort during the most recent race is usually an effective strategy. Kurt Busch’s success at Richmond is not limited to the April race. With four top-10 finishes in his last five races and an average finish position of 8.4, Kurt Busch has enjoyed intermediate success as well. In 2015, Kurt Busch has the 2nd most laps led and 13 top-10 finishes. I expect Kurt Busch to reward owners who start him this week.

Although Joey Logano has not enjoyed long-term success in Richmond, his team has been on fire in the last couple of months. Logano finished in 5th place and led 94 laps earlier this season. With four top-10 finishes in five starts, Logano has seen success at the track. In 2015, Logano has 13 top-5 finishes and the 3rd-most laps led. Although my recommendations at the top of the lineups is predictable, all three combine 2015 success with positive track history. All three have a high probability for success this week.

With a front-loaded lineup, there is little salary cap room for the final two spots. I will round out my lineup with the best drivers available. These two slots are subject to change after qualifying. Michael Annett has a 34th place average in three starts and an average finish position of 32.3 in 2015. While neither number will lead you to a championship, there should be enough room to provide a value for his salary cap number. Annett has not provided my lineup with much value the last few weeks, so I will may consider the driver who qualifies 43rd in this spot. Matt DiBenedetto has been a pleasant surprise to those who have used him in 2015. He only finished 37th in April’s race, but a 31.5 average finish position in 2015 shows that he can provide value.


Fantasy Live on uses a scoring system that combines fast laps, laps led, finish position, and start-to-finish differential. In order to prevent us from simply starting the best lineup each week, Fantasy Live uses a salary cap format. Our formula first calculates the average number of points earned by each driver over the past five Richmond races. Next, we divide that number by the salary cap figure to determine how much value to expect from each driver. Brad Keselowski has earned the most points of any driver, but misses my lineup because he has slipped a little over the last couple of months. As a consolation prize, we will use his Richmond numbers to further illustrate the formula.


  • Average finish position last five Richmond races: 14.4 equals 29.6 Fantasy Live points
  • Start-to-finish differential: Negative 7.2 equals (-7.2) Fantasy Live points
  • Laps led: 648 equals 64.8 Fantasy Live points
  • Fast laps: 209 equals 20.9 Fantasy Live points
  • Total points earned last five Richmond races: 108.1
  • Fantasy Live salary cap figure: $27.25
  • Fantasy points per dollar: 108.1 divided by $27.25 equals 3.97 points per dollar

Below you will find the fantasy points per dollar for each driver entered in this week’s race. If you are far behind in the standings, you may want to consider drivers who are out of the Chase and going for broke this week. My suggested picks are in bold. For drivers with no Richmond history, we are using their 2015 numbers for all of their races to give you an idea of the value that they are providing. Good luck with your picks this week. Feel free to share your rosters in the comments.

GROUP A ($25.00 or higher)

  • Brad Keselowski 3.97
  • Kurt Busch 3.35
  • Kevin Harvick 2.07
  • Matt Kenseth 2.05
  • Joey Logano 2.01
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1.67
  • Kyle Busch 1.37
  • Jimmie Johnson 1.18
  • Denny Hamlin 0.56

GROUP B ($20.00 – $24.99)

  • Jeff Gordon 3.23
  • Carl Edwards 2.25
  • Ryan Newman 2.12
  • Aric Almirola 1.96
  • Clint Bowyer 1.96
  • Kasey Kahne 1.75
  • Jamie McMurray 1.68
  • Paul Menard 1.46
  • Martin Truex Jr. 1.46
  • Kyle Larson 1.18

GROUP C ($15.00 – $19.99)

  • Greg Bifflo 1.50
  • Austin Dillon 1.34
  • Tony Stewart 0.92

GROUP D ($10.00 – $14.99)

  • AJ Allmendinger 2.58
  • Trevor Bayne 2.20
  • Casey Mears 1.59
  • Danica Patrick 1.52
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1.46
  • Cole Whitt 0.74
  • Sam Hornish Jr. 0.27

GROUP E ($9.99 or lower)

  • Timmy Hill 3.60
  • David Gilliland 2.87
  • Justin Allgaier 2.69
  • Reed Sorenson 2.21
  • JJ Yeley 1.98
  • Landon Cassill 1.97
  • Jeb Burton 1.89 *
  • David Ragan 1.85
  • Jeb Burton 1.58
  • Michael Annett 1.52
  • Alex Bowman 1.28
  • Matt DiBenedetto 1.13
  • Brian Scott 0.53 *
  • Josh Wise 0.49
  • Brett Moffitt 0.00
  • Michael McDowell (-0.94)

* Driver has no track data, and we are using his 2015 numbers.

Fantasy NASCAR

2015 Richmond International Raceway, Federated Auto Parts 400

There is only one race left before the start of the Chase. Right now there are fourteen drivers locked into the Chase with the other two spots still open. If we don’t get a new winner this week Paul Menard should make the Chase as he has a thirty-nine point lead over Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer just needs to stay out of major trouble to lock up the last spot.

That means that the rest of the drivers in the top thirty in points who aren’t qualified for the Chase have what is known as “One last race to make the Chase”. Could one of those drivers win this race and knock Clint or Paul out of the Chase. It is possible, so there are a couple of drivers who are going to be a little bit nervous when this race begins on Saturday night.


This week the series heads to Richmond International Raceway for the running of the Federated Auto Parts 400. Richmond is a three-quarter-mile flatter D-shaped oval track with a tight pit road. If you want to win this race you need to qualify good enough that you can get a good pit stall because you want to be able to get in and out quickly if a late race caution flag flies.

There will be many different strategies this weekend with drivers not in the Chase taking any chance they might have to win this race and propel themselves into the Chase while drivers that are locked in will be trying to get that one last win to pick up the three bonus points they will get when the Chase starts at Chicagoland the following week. So, all in all I think just about every driver will take any chance they can to win this race. That could be staying out and hoping you don’t run out of gas at the end of the race or taking two tires or maybe gas only late in the race.

Kyle Busch: I am picking Kyle to win his fifth race of the season and catapult himself to the top of the standings as the Chase begins. Kyle has four wins and thirteen top five finishes in twenty starts at Richmond which tells me he knows how to get around this track. After Kyle broke a leg and an ankle in the Xfinity Series race at Daytona in February and missed the first eleven races of the season most people wrote him off for the year. If he wins the race this weekend he will have gone from worst to first in fifteen races.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin has three wins at Richmond and comes to the track every week with a car capable of winning. He has also finished in the top ten in eighteen of his twenty-nine starts here and would love to win another race and keep his momentum going as the Chase starts next week. You can never count this guy out of any race.

Denny Hamlin: Denny has two wins at this track and nine top ten finishes in eighteen starts here. Those are pretty good numbers but, the only active driver to lead more laps at this track than Denny is Jeff Gordon, who has 247 more laps led than Denny. However it took Jeff twenty-seven more starts to accumulate those numbers. Denny just needs everything to go his was and he will find himself in victory lane once again this weekend.

Ryan Newman: Ryan is locked into the Chase once again this year without a win and that doesn’t really matter as he proved last year. He has one win at Richmond and sixteen top ten finishes in twenty-seven starts here. Those are very telling stats and what they tell me is Ryan really knows how to get around this place in a hurry and can communicate which changes he wants made to his car to keep up with the track as the race progresses.

Tony Stewart: Tony has three wins and four runner-up finishes in his career at Richmond. He also has nineteen top ten’s in thirty-two starts and this team has shown they are starting to get the handle on the adjustments they want to make as the race progresses. The biggest problem this team has is slow pit stops and that definitely won’t cut it at Richmond. You can’t afford to lose spots every time you pit at a place where track position is so important.

Carl Edwards: Carl has one win and is coming in with a lot of momentum following his win at Darlington last weekend. Carl fought his way back to the front from two laps down early in the race. That alone will give this team a lot of confidence heading into the Chase and this weekend. Look for Carl to run well once again this weekend.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Dale has won three races at Richmond with the last of those wins coming back in 2006. This team will need to pick it up a little bit if they want to compete for a championship. Although Dale has been good most every week, this team needs to get even better and win some races during the Chase which guarantees you will move to the next round.

Brad Keselowski: Brad won this race two years ago and looked very good last week at Darlington. I think this is a team that is getting to the point they need to be to have a legitimate shot of winning another championship. They have shown a lot of speed all year and now they are making the right adjustments and avoiding mistakes on pit road which is one of the most important things with the way the Chase is set up now.

Kurt Busch: Kurt won the April race here and always seems to run well on this type of track. He has had cars that are just as fast as his teammate, Kevin Harvick, has had all season. They just need to avoid the mistakes on pit road that seem to eat them up late in races and take them out of contention. By no means is this team going to win a championship unless they can eliminate more of the mistakes that cost them.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie has won three times here and this team currently is tied for the lead in wins with Kyle Busch with four. However, the way they have been running lately, they have a lot to improve on if they want to contend for another championship. Handling seems to be their biggest issue right now with tire wear coming in as a close second. They are very good for a small portion of the race and then they seem to lose the handle and spin out or blow a tire and crash. That will not win you a championship.


Yahoo Driver Group A

  • Kyle Busch
  • Denny Hamlin

Yahoo Driver Group B

  • Carl Edwards
  • Kurt Busch
  • Tony Stewart
  • Clint Bowyer

Yahoo Driver Group C

  • Justin Allgaier
  • Danica Patrick


  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Kurt Busch
  5. Brad Keselowski

Dark Horse: Kyle Larson

Stay Away From: Martin Truex Jr.

Fantasy NASCAR NASCAR Fantasy Live


NASCAR pulled a switch this year and the Labor Day race has moved to Darlington, South Carolina. Darlington Raceway is an historic track that is difficult for drivers to negotiate. As an Atlanta resident, I am slightly disappointed that our holiday race has moved to April. However, this week’s race will be fun to watch as drivers get frustrated at the conditions during the race.

For NASCAR Fantasy Live purposes, this is a good week to front-load your lineups. If you are far behind in the standings, you can pick drivers who are not Chase eligible like Kyle Larson and Kasey Kahne. They will be forced to take the risks you need to get back into the standings. If you are near the top of the standings, you can go with a conservative approach to your lineup and pick winless drivers who are currently set to go to the Chase like Jeff Gordon and Paul Menard as they will be attempting to avoid big mistakes this week.

As a regular to my lineup this season, Kevin Harvick has helped my team towards the top of the standings. He won last April’s race in Darlington, leading 238 laps on his way to the winner’s circle. We hope that he repeats his efforts from last year’s race. Over the last 5 races, Harvick has three top-10 finishes and a 9th place average. He has the top team so far this season, logging 15 top-5 finishes through 22 races. Harvick has the most laps led of any driver this year by a wide margin, and there is no sign of regression. Keep Harvick in your lineup as long as he keeps up his level of production.

Denny Hamlin finished in the middle of the pack in last year’s race, but that is a rare circumstance. Since 2005, Hamlin has earned seven top-10 finishes in nine races. Recently, Hamlin has a 6th average and is running 99% of his laps inside the top-15 over the last five Darlington races. With only nine top-10 finishes in 2015 through 22 races, Hamlin has not been one of the elite drivers in the Series. In Hamlin’s case, I am valuing track history over seasonal statistics.

For the third spot in my lineup, I am recommending a driver that I had completely written off at one point of the season. Kyle Busch has recovered from a broken leg to win four races in 2015 and establish himself as a Chase contender. Kyle Busch has found success in South Carolina. Over the last five races at Darlington, Kyle Busch has earned four top-10 finishes and a 9th place average finish position. His 416 laps led over this stretch is the most in the Series. I expect Kyle Busch to be one of the front-runners for this week.

With a large chunk of my budget allocated to the top-three spots, I will need to choose the best budget options for my final two recommendations. Although I do not trust him on a tricky track like Darlington, Chase Elliot is in the lineup for his final installment before he joins the series full-time next season. In his previous four races this season, Elliot has averaged a 22nd place finish. As far as budget options, you will be hard-pressed to find one with more upside. For the fifth spot, I will go with my usual budget recommendation in Michael Annett. Annett only has a 32nd place average finish position and finished in 42nd place at Darlington last year. I may keep an eye on qualifying and switch him out if another budget driver looks more tempting. Alex Bowman and Matt DiBenedetto stand out as possible replacements.


Fantasy Live on uses a scoring system that combines laps led, fast laps, finish position, and start-to-finish differential. In order to prevent us from starting the best drivers every week, Fantasy Live uses a salary cap format. For our formula, we first calculate the total number of points earned by each driver over the last five Darlington races. Next, we divide that number by the salary cap figure to determine how much value to expect from each driver. Greg Biffle is a healthy option for a team that wants to go for broke in the standings. He has the most laps led since 2005 at Darlington. We will use his numbers to illustrate the points per dollar formula.


  • Average finish position last five Darlington races: 12th place average equals 32 points per race
  • Start-to-Finish Differential: Plus 1.6 equals 1.6 points per race
  • Laps led: 79 equals 7.9 points per race
  • Fast laps: 45 equals 4.5 points per race
  • Total Fantasy Live points per race: 46
  • Fantasy Live Salary Cap Figure: $19.25
  • Fantasy Live points per dollar. 46 divided by 19.25 equals 2.39 points per dollar

Below you will find the points per dollar for all drivers entered at Darlington this week. We will use the 2015 numbers for any rookie driver with no track data. Good luck as we make the push towards the Fantasy NASCAR playoffs.

GROUP A ($25.00 or higher)

  • Kyle Busch 3.70
  • Kevin Harvick 2.89
  • Denny Hamlin 2.41
  • Jimmie Johnson 2.25
  • Matt Kenseth 2.03
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1.77
  • Kurt Busch 1.17
  • Brad Keselowski 1.07
  • Joey Logano 0.51

GROUP B ($20.00 – $24.99)

  • Carl Edwards 2.57
  • Jeff Gordon 2.35
  • Kyle Larson 2.13
  • Martin Truex Jr. 1.72
  • Jamie McMurray 1.47
  • Ryan Newman 1.41
  • Clint Bowyer 1.33
  • Paul Menard 0.44

GROUP C ($15.00 – $19.99)

  • Tony Stewart 3.03
  • Austin Dillon 2.87
  • Greg Biffle 2.39
  • David Ragan 1.82
  • Aric Almirola 0.72

GROUP D ($10.00 – $14.99)

  • Danica Patrick 2.45
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2.39
  • Justin Allgaier 2.35
  • Chase Elliott 2.00 *
  • Casey Mears 1.69
  • Cole Whitt 0.74
  • Sam Hornish Jr. 0.61

GROUP E ($9.99 or lower)

  • Travis Kvapil 4.76
  • Timmy Hill 3.90
  • Alex Bowman 2.58
  • Matt DiBenedetto 2.35 *
  • Brett Moffitt 2.32 *
  • Landon Cassill 2.13
  • Jeb Burton 2.00 *
  • David Gilliland 1.96
  • Reed Sorenson 1.69
  • Josh Wise 1.39
  • JJ Yeley 0.90
  • Mike Bliss (-0.73)
  • Michael Annett (-1.67)

* Driver has no track data, and we are using his 2015 numbers.