Cash or Pass at Richmond Raceway is for the best and worst picks for the NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 on Saturday night, September 12th.
Just one race into the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, and one Cash or Pass’ ‘Cash In’ driver is already correct, with Kevin Harvick taking the win at Darlington after a selection as a ‘good bet’ last wee. Now, the Cup Series heads from the banked oval of South Carolina to the 0.75-mile short track outside of Richmond, Virginia.
Heading into the first of two consecutive short track races to end the Round of 16, here are the best and worst bets for race number two of the playoffs.
Cash In on these Bets
Kyle Busch (+625)
Yes, it’s now 27 races into the season, and Kyle Busch is still winless. That doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s Kyle Busch in the playoffs, a combo that typically leads to clutch performances from the Las Vegas native. Busch has finished worse than ninth at Richmond just once in his past nine starts and has three top-fives in his last five starts. His odds are just the fourth-best, behind Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin, making this a great value, even with Rowdy in the midst of a winless season.
Brad Keselowski (+1000)
It’s been a little while since Brad Keselowski has seen himself to victory lane, but if he’s going to get back there, Richmond is one of his best bets. With Richmond as one of his best tracks along with +1000 odds, Keselowski becomes
a terrific bet. He hasn’t finished worse than 11th at Richmond since 2015 and is on a stretch of four consecutive top-tens. He’s behind some drivers that he probably shouldn’t be, and Keselowski is eager for a win after a rocky night at Darlington.
Joey Logano (+800)
Like his Penske teammate, Logano is very good at Richmond, particularly over the past few races. Logano has four top-fives in his past six races at the track, and has the fourth-best average finish across his whole career, among any driver in the field. On a 23-race winless streak, it seems Logano is due to take his third checkered flag of the year to put himself in a better position to contend for a second championship.
Pass on these Bets
Kevin Harvick (+450)
Yes, this is sincerely a ‘do not bet’ on the guy who just won his eighth race of the season last week. The designation comes even after he was given the nod ‘to bet’ on him at Darlington. Why? Simply because he doesn’t need to win anymore. Harvick is a lock into the Round of 12 and will likely drive a little more conservatively than the other playoff drivers. That’s not to say he won’t contend, but if it comes down to it, Harvick is more likely to get a nudge out of the way than vice versa.
Chase Elliott (+850)
Multiple times on the Darlington broadcast the commentators said that Elliott was going all-out to open the playoffs with a win, knowing that he typically struggles at Richmond. Elliott has just three top-tens and 34 laps led in nine career starts at the track. There is a little extra motivation, to say the least, after being controversially denied a win at Darlington for the second time this year. But, don’t expect him to get immediate redemption.
Ryan Blaney (+2000)
Even as a relative sleeper with +2000 odds, Blaney is a ‘no-go’ at Richmond. His finishes are never better than 17th at the track and he has an average finish worse than 25th. He’s already dug himself a big hole after taking a penalty and having a poor day at Darlington, so expect Blaney to do everything he can to keep the car clean and inside the top-15. That’s all he’ll be able to do at a track that is arguably his worst.
Austin Dillon (+8000)
Though Dillon has never finished better than sixth at Richmond, with just two top-tens in 12 starts, he’s been better recently. He’s finished in the top-ten in two of his last three starts, and after a shocking second-place run at Darlington, Dillon has put himself on the right side of the bubble. If the odds are any indication, though, there still isn’t a widespread belief that Dillon can get it done and advance out of the first round. That alone makes him an intriguing pick.
Kurt Busch (+3300)
It’s a bit tough to bet on Kurt Busch, as Chip Ganassi Racing hasn’t shown race-winning speed very often this year. That being said, he’s been pretty solid at Richmond over the past few years. Busch has an average finish of 10.4 in his last ten starts, and after being knocked out in the Round of 16 last year, Busch has to be hungry to put himself in victory lane to lock himself into the second round.