2007 NASCAR Fantasy Preview: Richmond International Raceway

Chevy Rock N Roll 400

The Last Race Before the Chase

This is it. The last race before the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup begins. I’m sticking with my prediction from last week that the field is set and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not make the Chase. Sorry Bud fans, it’s just not going to happen this year.

Other notes of interest heading into the weekend. It looks like Joe Gibbs Racing will be driving Toyotas next year, J.J. Yeley will be piloting the #96 Hall of Fame Racing entry next season and Kenny Wallace will be driving the #88 for Robert Yates racing also. Casey Mears will switch to the #5 car with Kellogg’s and CarQuest as sponsors and Mark Martin will be sharing the #8 with Aric Almirola for DEI.

My Pick To Win Richmond

This week I am picking Kyle Busch to win another race for Hendrick Motorsports heading into the Chase. Kyle has never finished worse than 5th in 5 races at Richmond and has come home a bridesmaid in the last 2. This week he will get another 10 bonus points heading into the Chase.

Richmond Front Runners

Denny Hamlin will be looking to get his early season momentum back this weekend also. Denny has had some bad luck lately and needs to get it turned around right now. He has a 2nd and 3rd place finish at Richmond in only 3 starts and loves to run on the short flat tracks.

Just because I said Dale Earnhardt Jr. won’t make the Chase doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a chance to win this weekend. Dale has always been very good at Richmond. He has 7 top 5 finishes in his last 15 starts at Richmond including 3 wins. Look for him to pull out all the stops to try and make the Chase.

Kevin Harvick is 128 points ahead of Dale Jr. heading into this week’s race. Kevin won this race last year heading into the Chase and has 5 straight top 10 finishes at Richmond. This is one of the reasons that Junior won’t make the Chase even if he does manage to win.

Jimmie Johnson won here in the spring and has the most wins of any driver right now with 5 on the season. Jimmie will do everything he can to win once again this weekend and add a little cushion in his bid to repeat as NEXTEL Cup Champion.

On the other hand, Jeff Gordon is going to do everything he can do to win his 5th race of the season and head into the chase in a virtual tie with Jimmie. Jeff finished 4th this spring at Richmond but has struggled the last few seasons here. He has not finished better that 30th in the last 2 seasons at Richmond.

Tony Stewart would like to get himself a 4th win this weekend and pull a bit closer to Jimmie. Tony has finished in the top 10 in 5 of his last 7 starts at Richmond and has wins in the spring of 2001 and 2002. All of the drivers locked into the Chase are going to be going all out to try and get that final win and 10 bonus points during the last race before the Chase.

Yahoo! Fantasy Picks

Group A

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr (starter)
  • Jimmy Johnson

Group B

  • Kyle Busch (starter)
  • Denny Hamlin (starter)
  • Kurt Busch
  • Ryan Newman

Group C

  • Johnny Sauter (starter)
  • JJ Yeley

Dark Horse

  • Greg Biffle

Stay Away From

  • Jeff Gordon