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Fantasy NASCAR Preview: 2023 Toyota Owners 400

I’m not sure if last week’s race is done yet or if we’re still doing restarts in overtime, but the drivers need to get to Richmond for the 2023 Toyota Owners 400 on Sunday. I feel like Tyler Reddick should get credit for two wins for that.

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Fantasy NASCAR Preview: 2023 Toyota Owners 400

On Wednesday afternoon, NASCAR announced they had amended the L2-level penalties against Hendrick Motorsports for unapproved parts modification prior to March 12’s race in Phoenix. While the $100,000 fine and four-race crew chief suspensions were upheld, William Byron, Alex Bowman, and Kyle Larson received their points back.

And with that, we have a new Cup Standings leader: Alex Bowman.

Bowman has quietly finished in the Top 10 in five of the six races this season and the Top 5 three times. He now sits 15 points ahead of Ross Chastain and 29 points ahead of teammate Byron, who already has two wins in his column.

This weekend, we head to Richmond Raceway for the 2023 Toyota Owners 400. Richmond is the first true short-track race of the season and features a 0.75-mile D-shape. The D is unique in that it allows for high straightaway speed before bunching up and causing mayhem heading into the curve. It is definitely a different type of racing than what we’ve seen so far.

Here is a look at the drivers with better odds of crossing the finish line first. You might want to focus on these in season-long formats.

**Reminder that a perfect driver rating is 150.**

Denny Hamlin (#11 Toyota) Driver Rating 118.1

In 32 career races at Richmond Raceway, Hamlin has 17 finishes in the Top 5 and four wins. His average starting spot is 9.3, and his average finishing spot is 8.4. His aggressive driving style plays perfectly to this track, and he is one of the favorites for the 2023 Toyota Owners 400.

Martin Truex Jr. (#19 Toyota) Driver Rating 116.3

Truex has had an abundance of recent success at Richmond in the recent past. Over his last five races, he has had four Top 5 finishes and one win. While not the same type of driver as Hamlin, the veteran driver knows the ins and outs of this track well.

Kyle Busch (#8 Chevrolet) Driver Rating 97.6

While he drives a Chevrolet now, Busch is the third head of the three-headed monster that was Joe Gibbs Racing on short tracks for many years in the past. In 34 career races, he has 18 finishes in the Top 5 and six wins, which tops the field that will be there for the 2023 Toyota Owners 400.

Wouldn’t Bet Against Them

Christopher Bell (#20 Toyota) Driver Rating 99.0

Bell has finished in the Top 10 in every race his car has finished so far in 2023, and now he heads to Richmond where he has enjoyed Cup Series success. Of all the drivers in the field, he has the highest average finish here at 6.0. While he has seemed inconsistent the past few races, he has a great chance of righting the ship this weekend.

Kevin Harvick (#4 Ford) Driver Rating 106.5

Kevin Harvick has four wins and 17 Top 5 finishes in 43 career races at Richmond Raceway. He is a sneaky good short-track driver, so don’t forget about him come Sunday.

Joey Logano (#22 Ford) Driver Rating 113.6

Logano enjoys short tracks quite a lot, thank you very much. He is average start and finish are both 10.3, which leads directly to his 12 Top 5 finishes in 27 career races here. It doesn’t matter the track; he also seems to be there when it’s coming down to the wire. He should do well at the 2023 Toyota Owners 400.

Potential Sleepers

Brad Keselowski (#6 Ford) Driver Rating 97.4

Keselowski is the frontrunner for Comeback Driver of the Year. He currently sits in 12th place in the standings, a number he didn’t even sniff in 2022. He doesn’t have quite as prolific numbers as those above, but he does have two wins in Richmond and is an accomplished short-track driver.

Alex Bowman (#48 Chevrolet) Driver Rating 87.2

In the last five races, Bowman has finished in the Top 10 three times with one trip to victory lane. As the least known of the Hendricks quadrant, he is racing exceptionally well right now and has a great chance to add to his short-track resume this weekend.

I’ll be back Sunday morning with my DFS picks and other thoughts regarding the 2023 Toyota Owners 400. Between now and then, don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter at @thewonkypenguin with any questions, thoughts, or funny GIFs.

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