Several bounce-back candidates among Spencer’s NASCAR Fast Five picks for Richmond

NASCAR driver Kyle Busch.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
NASCAR driver Kyle Busch.

Richmond Raceway is a staple on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, and it’s a track that tends to be dominated by the sports’ veteran drivers.

The spring race here saw veterans Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick finish first and second, and the fall race typically doesn’t result in an upset winner since it’s toward the end of the regular season in which the top teams have themselves.

While the favorite Martin Truex Jr. was tempting to take at +550, we’re going with drivers that are better values due to recent slumps, as their track records of success make this week a prime opportunity to bounce back.

FAST FIVE FOR FEDERATED AUTO PARTS 400

Odds from Caesars Sportsbook

Kyle Busch (+700 to win, +200 to finish top three, -110 top five, -400 top 10)

Busch has been in a major slump recently, but this week presents a prime bounce-back opportunity since he’s been so dominant here at Richmond throughout his career. Joe Gibbs Racing has been the team to beat here in recent seasons, with Busch being at the forefront of that, and he’ll be hungry to get back to victory lane and silence the chatter surrounding his uncertain contract situation.

Christopher Bell (+700 to win, +230 to finish top three, +110 top five, -350 top 10)

Bell’s had more success on short ovals than any other type of track this season, and he showed speed here at Richmond in the spring while leading 63 laps. Bell doesn’t have the track record of success like his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, but he’s shown enough speed this season to where he should be able to be among the leaders at what’s become one of his top tracks.

Kyle Larson (+1000 to win, +250 to finish top three, +120 top five, -300 top 10)

Larson’s struggled a bit for his standards the past few months, but he’s shown signs of getting back on track recently and has the talent to win no matter what type of track he’s on. He’s yet to win a race here at Richmond, but he’s run up front here before and is poised to start winning again soon with the playoffs set to begin in less than a month.

William Byron (+1500 to win, +350 to finish top three, +180 top five, -200 top 10)

Hendrick Motorsports hasn’t performed as well as they did at the start of the season, especially Byron, who went from being a perennial top-five threat each week to outside of the top 10 most weeks. While the speed hasn’t been there recently, Byron should be able to find his footing soon driving for Hendrick, and he has a strong track record of running up front here at Richmond.

Aric Almirola (+4000 to win, +1000 to finish top three, +450 top five, +120 top 10)

Almirola hasn’t had race-winning speed this season and finds himself on the outside looking in of the NASCAR playoffs, but this could be the week he turns his season around. He’s had success on short ovals before and was a surprising winner at New Hampshire last season, so he makes for a solid sleeper pick this week as someone who’s won before and offers major upside at 40-to-1.

Green flag scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 14 at 3 p.m. on USA Network

Categories: Upstate Action

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