Russ Friedman 400 Picks
It won't be easy to top last week’s thriller from Talladega, but The Russ Friedman 400 from Richmond International Speedway should still be highly entertaining this Saturday.
This week we get to watch the best of the best race under the lights, which always seems to fire the drivers up. Of course, that usually leads to tempers flaring just a little bit more as the race winds down, too.
While Richmond is considered a short track, it tends not to act like one since you will see much more speed here, which always makes this one of the more exciting races of the year.
This week’s betting strategy will be a bit different since very few drivers have had much success here. And unfortunately those drivers are short priced, which limits the number we can bet and still show a decent return on our investment. We’ll just bet three drivers this week, with our top two picks bet evenly, and our third putting us (hopefully) into the green.
Kyle Busch 6/1
It's not often you will see us bet Kyle Busch since he almost always offers no value, but with his history here it's one of those races that he is just too good to pass up. In eight races at Richmond, Busch has been amazing, with six top 5’s and of those finishes, three were runner up finishes for an average finish of 6.8, which tops all drivers. Though Busch has never won at Richmond, we think this is the week he’ll be victorious.
Denny Hamlin 6/1
Denny Hamlin has been a force this year on every short track NASCAR has been to and we expect nothing to change this week since he grew up racing in Virginia and might know Richmond better than any other driver on the circuit. While Hamlin has yet to win a race here in a cup car, his finishes have been good with three top 5 finishes in six starts and a average finish of 8.8, which puts him right behind Kyle Busch and second overall. Denny has looked great since the start of the season, finding success on tracks in which he’s always done well on. But what we like is how he has looked at tracks where he has previously struggled. With that said, we look for another good showing again this week from him and his team.
Tony Stewart 8/1
Week after week Stewart has impressed us with the way his new team has looked, but as his odds lower every week we have almost lost the great value we had with him earlier in the season. For years Stewart was usually the race favorite whenever he came to Richmond and with three wins here he was justified in being the favorite. In his last 10 races at Richmond, he has only finished outside of the top 10 twice, with four top 5 finishes in those 10 races. He has an amazing average finish of 10.5 in his last 20 races here. It's about time to for him to claim victory and what better place to get his first win as an owner than at Richmond.
A few drivers to watch this week who we think have a good shot of winning at some very nice odds and who have shown a fondness for this track are Clint Bowyer 28/1 and Jeff Burton 35/1. Both drivers race for Richard Childress, who has always seemed to have good cars at this type of track. But with the black cloud hanging over all four of his teams, it's hard to make a case for any of his drivers right now. We also wanted to put Ryan Newman in this group this week, but with him being in the field at 15/1, he offers no value at that price and we seriously doubt we see the field win two weeks in a row either.
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Posted: 4/30/09 12:48PM ET