2022 Federated Auto Parts 400 Race Analysis & Predictions

by | Aug 10, 2022 | nascar

Race: Federated Auto Parts 400
Date: Sunday August 14, 2022
Track: Richmond Raceway
Time: 3pm ET
Channel: USA

Funny enough, my buddy stopped by and was talking to me before the race on Sunday and asked what it was going to take to get Ford back in the game. Ironically, this friend also happens to be a Kevin Harvick fan. Well, the #4 Ford made it back to victory lane in Michigan after a 65-race drought! My mid-pick for the week managed to pull it off at a track where he has the best average finish of any active driver. To say he was elated is an understatement. To say that entire team needed that win would also be an understatement. His win puts the #4 car in contention for the championship, although Harvick will have a hard road ahead of him if his current season is any indication of how the playoffs will go. He is still mired down in the points and has a lot of work to do to seriously be considered for the championship this year. Consistency is the name of the game, and while he’s managed to have a better second half of the regular season, Harvick definitely needs to buckle down and work on gaining those points, whether that be through another win or two or through stage wins. Points points points!! That is all these drivers are going to be after in these closing races.

Bubba Wallace was looking for those points but was looking harder for a win. Unfortunately for him, Harvick lucked into that position faster than he could. In fact, Harvick pulled away from the field in a very Michigan-style and was able to win by a very large margin. Bubba seemed disproportionately disappointed in himself for some reason. I guess he saw this as really his biggest opportunity to get that coveted win in these last few weekends. He’s not wrong. He was my dark horse. Second is nothing to sneeze at for a driver that routinely finishes 20th or worse for all intents and purposes. Not to be rude, but that win was pretty much his only shot at making the playoffs. Without it, well, he’s pretty far away from being statistically able to point his way into the playoffs. Regardless, I’ll give him and his team (yes, the TEAM deserves a lot of credit on this finish) due respect for a well-run race. Wallace should be proud of himself and proud of his team and move on with confidence if, for nothing else, to build morale and give everyone around him the support to continue the trend. Someone else that should be proud of himself is Ty Gibbs. The kid finished top 10 this weekend after subbing for Kurt Busch, who remains out due to a concussion. It remains to be seen if Busch will be cleared to race this weekend.

I’m sure he’ll want to be back this weekend as the drivers and teams head to Richmond, VA, for some awesome short-track racing. This track is a night and day difference from Michigan. Richmond boasts a little bit of an odd configuration for a short track. It’s a long short track if you will. This place is a 0.75-mile asphalt D-shaped oval with 14 degrees of banking in the turns, 8 degrees on the front stretch, and just 2 degrees on the backstretch. Unlike Martinsville, drivers are able to carry some speed and momentum into and out of the turns to an extent. The touch of banking allows the drivers to not have to slam on the brakes heading into the turns, although brakes are still an important component of this race. More than brakes are tires. While that’s been the storyline of the season so far with the next-gen car, short tracks tend to chew them up a little bit harder and faster than tracks like Michigan or Charlotte. If the tires are taken care of, the second most important thing that these drivers are considering is track position. Because of the length of this short track, the leader actually tends to put some distance on the field. That said, the leader will also have to battle lap traffic because of the sheer fact that this is a short track. That distance he can put on any other driver may be short-lived depending on how many cars get in his way.

Odds & Picks

When it comes to picking a winner, there are several guys that are historically good drivers on short tracks and Richmond, in particular. Namely, we can’t talk about Richmond without talking about Denny Hamlin. While he’s not my favorite in terms of sportsmanship, the guy knows how to get around this track. In fact, Hamlin is the defending winner of the spring race just this year. Prior to that, he boasted two runner-up finishes in 2021. With a total of four wins and 20 top 10 finishes over the course of his career, Hamlin knows how to get it done here. Now, that’s not to say that no one else with have anything for him. Last week’s winner, Kevin Harvick, is also very good at this track. He had the runner-up finish to Hamlin earlier this year. With multiple wins and also a plethora of top 10 finishes in his lengthier career, Harvick is another one to watch. That confidence from Michigan might catapult him into another very successful weekend. Let’s take a look at your potential winners for this Sunday’s race at Richmond:

  • Favorite: Denny Hamlin +600
  • Mid-Range Pick: Austin Cindric +5000
  • Dark Horse: Brad Keselowski +10000
Wager on who wins plus driver vs. driver matchup bets at Bovada!
Stay with me here. Cindric, although without a win here, has some strong finishes at Richmond in his Xfinity career. He’s never won, but he got the pole here last September and has been just doing a much better job overall here in the second part of the season. He’s still got a lot to learn, but he’s got potential. This should be one of his strongest finishes this season if he can keep his fenders on the car. Brad Keselowski has been on the struggle bus this season, but if there’s a track that he can throw a Hail Mary at, this is it. Keselowski has multiple wins here as well. With him stepping into a brand new team this year, it’s been a challenge, to say the least. Richmond may give him and the team an opportunity to find their way into a place that’s been so distanced for them this year. He’s in the top 10 for average finishes for the active drivers, so this is a great opportunity to for these guys to put something together this season. He’ll be chasing none other than Denny Hamlin, though. With Hamlin’s history at this track and the fact this is about as hometown as it gets for this Chesterfield native, he’s going to be hard to stop. Let’s see where he is sitting in the rankings after Michigan.

  • Chase Elliott
  • Ross Chastain
  • Joey Logano
  • Ryan Blaney
  • William Byron
  • Kyle Larson
  • Denny Hamlin
  • Tyler Reddick
  • Christopher Bell
  • Kyle Busch
  • Chase Briscoe
  • Kurt Busch
  • Kevin Harvick
  • Daniel Suarez
  • Austin Cindric
  • Alex Bowman

Of all the drivers, guess who’s sitting outside of the top 16 this week? Martin Truex Jr. is heading into Richmond outside of the playoff grid. While that’s a pretty daunting thing for this team, Richmond might be a chance for them to take the win. Truex has a great record here, but boy, has that team seemed to struggle this year, at least relative to what we’re used to seeing. I think that this race will be one to remember. With only three races remaining before the playoff grid is set, there are going to be a lot of drivers trying to push the issue. While this isn’t a Bristol or Martinsville scenario, Richmond does lend itself to some tough racing at times. If those laps cars get in the way, everyone better watch out. Stay tuned for a great afternoon of short track racing at none other than Richmond Raceway! Bet your Federated Auto Parts 400 predictions for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $55 to $300 when you use bonus code PREDICT100 at MyBookie Sportsbook!