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NASCAR Fantasy Picks for the 2024 Toyota Owners 400

Kyle Busch, driver of the #8 3CHI Chevrolet, and Alex Bowman, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, lead the field on a pace lap prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 02, 2023 in Richmond, Virginia.

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Virginia on March 31st for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. Who should you play in NASCAR Fantasy?

The stop comes as the first of two trips to the state capital. Sunday’s event will be the 7th of the 36-race season. Richmond Raceway has been part of the NASCAR schedule every year since 1953 (excluding 1954). Pit road execution, long green flag runs, and high tire wear due to the track’s abrasive asphalt will play their part across 300 miles. Despite temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s, a chance of late rain could see NASCAR utilize Goodyear’s wet-weather tires.

The green flag will fly on Easter Day just after 7:00 pm ET (4:00 pm PT) on FOX. Radio coverage will be available on the Motor Racing Network and NASCAR’s SiriusXM Radio.

NASCAR Fantasy Live gives fans the chance to partake in driver selection each Cup Series race weekend. One will pick five starters and one “garage” driver per event. The garage driver will not receive any points but acts as a replacement for a starter who may face trouble in the first part of the race. At the end of stage two, picks will lock, and no changes can be made. Points are awarded based on stage points and finishing positions in addition to four “head-to-head” driver picks. A driver may only be picked ten (10) times across the 26-race Regular Season and then five (5) times in the 10-race Playoffs. See NASCAR’s website here for rules of how to play.

My recommendations are NOT my guaranteed lineup for Sunday’s race. See my picks from last weekend’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix from Circuit of the Americas (COTA) here. Check out my NASCAR Fantasy suggestions for Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400.

RECAP – EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix


  • William Byron – 6 uses left
    • 40 Place Points (1st) + 7 Stage Points (S1 – 7th, S2 – 8th) = 47 Total Points
  • Christopher Bell – 7 uses left
    • 35 Place Points (2nd) + 10 Stage Points (S1 – 1st, S2 – N/A) = 45 Place Points
  • Ty Gibbs – 9 uses left
    • 34 Place Points (3rd) + 3 Stage Points (S1 – 8th, S2 – N/A) = 37 Total Points
  • Tyler Reddick – 8 uses left
    • 32 Place Points (5th) + 2 Stage Points (S1 – 9th, S2 – N/A) = 34 Total Points
  • Ross Chastain – 8 uses left
    • 30 Place Points (7th) + 1 Stage Point (S1 – 10th, S2 – N/A) = 32 Place Points
  • Shane van Gisbergen – KEPT IN GARAGE, 10 uses left
    • 17 Place Points (20th) + 0 Stage Points (S1 – N/A, S2 – N/A) = 17 Total Points


  • Kyle Busch vs. Denny Hamlin
    • PICK: Busch
    • RESULT: Correct (Busch = 9th, Hamlin = 14th)
  • Tyler Reddick vs. Kyle Larson
    • PICK: Reddick
    • RESULT: Correct (Reddick = 5th, Larson = 17th)
  • Daniel Suarez vs. Ross Chastain
    • PICK: Chastain
    • RESULT: Correct (Chastain = 7th, Suarez = 31st)
  • Alex Bowman vs. Austin Cindric
    • PICK: Bowman
    • RESULT: Correct (Bowman = 4th, Cindric = 18th)


  • Weekly Points = 234 PTS.
  • Total Season Points = 1,153 PTS.
  • Collective Rankings = 4,844th (+8,474 POS.)


PICK 1 – Denny Hamlin

The hometown hero takes my top spot. A four-time Cup Series and three-time Xfinity Series Richmond winner, Denny Hamlin gets around better than almost anyone to ever make laps at the three-quarter mile venue. The Chesterfield native won the first Next Gen race in the Spring of 2021 and, in his last four starts, has three finishes of fourth or better with a top-ranked Average Running Position (A.R.P.) of 6.45.

Hamlin’s lap averages were slow in Saturday practice but will start from the 11th position. As Kevin Harvick might say, let Hamlin cook in NASCAR Fantasy.

PICK 2 – Martin Truex Jr.

For the longest time, Martin Truex Jr. was unable to find Richmond’s winners circle. However, in his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing, he managed to sweep both the Spring and Fall. His worst finish since 2019 was an 11th-place finish in Race One of last year. Truex Jr. has led in three of the four Next Gen races and has received stage points in five of those eight possible stages.

Bristol Motor Speedway saw veterans showcase their tire conservation abilities. Toyotas also appeared to have a slight edge, and with Richmond’s severe tire wear, Truex Jr. will put himself in the mix.

PICK 3 – Joey Logano

A driver overdue for a decent day sees two-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Joey Logano. “Sliced Bread” sits 22nd in the point standings through the first six races and the third-ranked of the Penske Racing trio. How has faired in recent years? Logano is one of only two drivers with at least six stage appearances in the Next Gen car. He also rides a three-race stretch of Top 10s with 222 las led in the Fall of 2022 running.

Strong lap averages in practice and a 10th-place qualifying effort are all positives. A win may not happen, but this would be the week for Logano to reignite the timid flame.

PICK 4 – Brad Keselowski

RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski was the only driver to finish Top 5 at both Phoenix Raceway and Bristol. This could be an early sign of an appearance to contend for the race win on Sunday. I found that Keselowski leads Logano with seven Next Gen Top 10 stages including Stage 2 in the Fall of last year. This can be a monumental factor in a collection of points for NASCAR Fantasy.

Keselowski does have two prior Cup Series wins here, and his to-be-noted teammate was victorious at Richmond in that Fall event.

PICK 5 – Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch and Richmond Raceway are two peas in a pod. He has won six times at the track including four straight Spring races from 2009 to 2012 with his most recent coming in the fall of 2018. 36 total starts since his full-time rookie season in 2005 have not come with a single DNF (Did Not Finish). Most incredibly, Busch hosts one of the most impressive statistics in NASCAR history with Busch completing all but one Richmond lap (14,428 of 14,429 possible; 99.9%).

Richard Childress Racing has not been off to a hot start this year, but this track is where they can turn things around. Busch’s teammate, Austin Dillon, has some of his best statistics at the racetrack. I truly believe will see the No. 8 in the picture on Sunday.


Ty Gibbs

  • Finished 9th and 15th in second and third-career Richmond races
  • No finish worse than 17th to start this season

Chase Elliott

  • 4th overall ranked A.R.P. amongst full-time drivers (behind Hamlin, Truex Jr., Logano)
  • 4 of 6 stages inside Top 10; missed 2023 Spring race

Chris Buescher

  • 2023 Richmond Fall race winner (most recent event)
  • Three straight Top 10s in 2024
  • Top 5 best 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 averages in Saturday practice

William Byron

  • Highest A.R.P. in 2022 Fall race
  • Led most laps (117) in 2023 Spring


Ryan Preece

  • 2021 Richmond Whelen Modified Tour victor
  • Missed both races in 2022 but secured 11.4 A.R.P. in 2023 showings
  • Only Cup Series Top 5 on non-superspeedway at Richmond last Fall (both stages in Top 10)


Ryan Blaney

  • Three Top 10s in 15 Richmond starts
  • No stage finish inside the Top 10 in 2023

Tyler Reddick

  • Strong Fall of 2023 showing; however, A.R.P. ranked 17th of full-timers in Next Gen
  • Seven Cup starts at Richmond without Top 10 finish

Michael McDowell

  • Since 2016, only three finishes inside Top 20
  • Has never gotten stage points in a race at Richmond


Christopher Bell vs. Kyle Busch

A driver I failed to mention anything about above was Christopher Bell. He is unquestionably a driver to consider putting in your lineup due to his frequent contention in the front at Richmond. Bell has finished Top 5 in four of the last six races. Looking solely at the Next Gen, he and Kyle Busch match in Top 10 stage appearances and back-to-back in A.R.P.

This is an incredibly tight matchup. I could be very wrong, but I think this will be the race for Busch to turn things around.

William Byron vs. Denny Hamlin

Team Hendrick versus Team Gibbs. If you count Denny Hamlin’s win in the Busch Light Clash, he and William Byron are the only two drivers with more than one win this season. The two could be neck-and-neck throughout the entire race. Byron, starting 13th, ran inside the Top 2 all day in the Spring last year until a late pit stop led to getting turned on the subsequent restart. Second place is where Hamlin wrapped up the Fall race last year.

I have a hard time leaning one way or the other. Byron has the momentum, but I like Hamlin by an edge.

Martin Truex Jr. vs. Ty Gibbs

Based on statistics, Martin Truex Jr. has the upper hand. He has led 1,359 laps at Richmond while Ty Gibbs has yet to find the top spot. Those times spent up front led to his three victories in the Virginian capital. However, there is a strong likelihood Gibbs will show a major step up in competitiveness as he has so far in 2024.

Once again, this could be another coin flip between Joe Gibbs Racing teammates. By the thinnest of margins, I will go with Martin Truex Jr.

Chase Elliott vs. Alex Bowman

The final pairing sees another battle of drivers from the same camp. In 14 Richmond starts since a part-time debut in 2015, Chase Elliott has never found victory lane in Richmond. The same can be said for his tenures in the Xfinity Series and ARCA East Series back in his early years. Nonetheless, it does not mean Elliott runs poorly here. Meanwhile, Alex Bowman saw a late surge in the 2021 Spring race and would take his third career Cup Series win. He has managed to finish eighth place in the last two Spring events.

When looking at Next Gen performance alone, the edge for me goes to Elliott.

What does your NASCAR Fantasy lineup for Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400? Tweet us @LWOSMotorsport. Stay tuned here at LWOS Motorsports for NASCAR news, results, updates, and more.


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