I’m playing DraftKings this season and will be posting my picks here each week. Disclosure: If you want to play and sign up using this link, DraftKings will give my website a commission.
Last race’s results: Played $4 Brake Pad contest. Finished 100th of 3,400. Won $15.
Season results: $80 wagered, $95 won in 20 contests.
This week’s contest: $4 Brake Pad game (single entry).
— Martin Truex Jr. ($10,400): Oof. This was a tough call, because I ultimately had enough money under the salary cap to pick either Truex or Kyle Busch ($10,700) in this spot. I feel strongly Busch will have a great night (he has the best average finish of any driver at Richmond), but Truex should also run up front. So it’s really a toss-up here. I might even swap them at the last minute, as they were one-two in 10-lap average for final practice. Take your pick.
— Denny Hamlin ($10,000): The Toyotas are going to be strong, and I’m going all-in on that theory. My picks will be screwed if I’m wrong. In that sense, it came down to a decision between Hamlin and polesitter Matt Kenseth ($9,000). My tiebreaker for the slot was 10-lap average in final practice: Hamlin was ninth, Kenseth was 19th. But if you think Team Penske will have another strong Richmond performance, you could also pick Brad Keselowski or Joey Logano here (which was tempting).
— Erik Jones ($8,300): Like I said above, Toyotas figure to have a good night. Jones is one of the drivers who has to race his way into the playoff and will need the performance of his life to do so, but it’s possible. He wasn’t great in final practice and didn’t do 10 consecutive laps (he had a 60-minute penalty), but he was decent in first practice (eighth-fastest single lap).
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($7,800): My decision at this slot came down to Earnhardt or Kasey Kahne ($7,700), but Earnhardt actually might have a decent car this week (he estimated it was a sixth-to-12th-place car on Friday). He was 13th-fastest in 10-lap average for final practice and is obviously racing for a playoff spot for the final time in his career. Maybe there will be some magic.
— Daniel Suarez ($7,600): Again, it’s all about Toyota for my picks. I just envision them being strong here. If I’m wrong, it’ll cost me. But Suarez was sixth-fastest in 10-lap average for final practice and had the third-fastest single lap, so he may be good.
— David Ragan ($5,500): In order to make this expensive, Toyota-heavy lineup work, I needed a pretty cheap driver. I’m going with Ragan. He was 20th-fastest for 10-lap average in final practice and had the 14th-fastest single lap, which is very respectable. Plus, Ragan has three top-five finishes at Richmond — his best non-plate track.