Atlanta was a repeat race, but Atlanta is a record track. It was pointless to watch the first race in Atlanta in preparation for the second race. Richmond is different. We can get a lot out of the first race in Richmond. As always, trust the spreadsheet, but trust your eyes too. Here are the best bets for the NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 in Richmond, which kicks off at 3pm ET on Sunday, August 14.
What’s so special about Richmond in the Next Gen car? Nothing. It’s the same old Richmond. The only special thing is that bettors can use notes from the previous race to make better NASCAR bets.
No more guessing this week. What track will Richmond race on? It will race like Richmond. Watch the race over. View the lap-by-lap data. Analyze the different pit strategies. There is a lot of useful data available this weekend.
A careful analysis of the first race at Richmond – or any Richmond race for that matter – will reveal that overtaking is difficult on this short, flat track. Passing in the top 5 is rare and passing for the lead is a unicorn.
Despite the blue moon status of these passes, they happen. Their performance is not the result of speed or skill. Those criteria are required, but they are not decisive. Passing for the lead, and thus victory, is the result of pit sequencing. Whether a team divides a stage into halves or thirds determines the results. It’s hard to say which strategy will work for a particular race. The two-stop strategy is the conservative approach and favors the fastest cars, but one warning flag in stage 3 could turn this race upside down. Regardless of strategy or warnings, the winning car is always one of the fastest.
Race Winner – Federated Auto Parts 400
Christopher Bell +800
He was the chosen one to win last week with quite long chances. Sure enough, he fought for the win late in Stage 3. Unfortunately, he fought Ross Chastain and those fights always end with wrecked race cars and Michigan was no different.
Bell won on the short, flat course in New Hampshire a few weeks ago. That’s a track he definitely owned in the Xfinity Series. Bell was just as good if not better at Richmond in the Xfinity Series (three wins). He was a contender in the opening race at Richmond and the number 20 car has gotten a lot better since that early spring race.
Alex Bowman +3000
The DraftKings Sportsbook gives Bowman no respect. He won Richmond spring 2021. In the 2022 spring race, he recovered from a pit lane penalty to achieve a top-10 finish. Passing is difficult in Richmond, but Bowman has shown that he can make it happen. Richmond is all about having a driver at the end, and Bowman will be in the fray at the end. This wouldn’t be the first time the oddsmakers put long odds on Bowman and he won.
Any Hendrick Motorsports car that wins the race +240
Joe Gibbs Racing is the favorite (-110), and they should be watching how they performed in the spring and how they performed historically in Richmond. Betting JGR on -110 wouldn’t be a bad idea if sheer speed won out in Richmond, but it isn’t. This race is settled by pit road and timing. In the spring of 2021, JGR had wrapped up this race until a late race cause caused a shootout finish. Alex Bowman won that shootout. A car just needs to be fast enough to take advantage of Stage 3’s crucial sequence. Each of the Hendrick cars had that speed in the spring race.
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Team Hendrick to all Finish in the Top 10 +900
As mentioned above, the Hendrick cars had speed in the spring race. William Byron ran early and in front at the end. Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman made their way through the field, demonstrating their cars’ rare ability to pass. In Stage 1, Chase Elliott worked his way around cars in the top 10.
Hendrick, as a whole, has been on the lookout lately. Elliott is on another level, but his teammates are inconsistent. This is partly due to the strange mishmash of tracks per week and the summer wave of JGR. Hendrick may be down, but they’re not out. This will be a week in which HMS establishes itself as one of the main contenders on its way to the play-offs.
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