Podium Preview: Federated Auto Parts 400

By all means, Ryan Blaney could lock up a Playoff spot by winning the Federated Auto Parts 400. (Photo Credit: Andrew Fuller/TPF)

By all means, Ryan Blaney could lock up a Playoff spot by winning the Federated Auto Parts 400. (Photo Credit: Andrew Fuller/TPF)

Previously serving as the regular season finale, the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond truly serves as a bridge between two unlike tracks in the NASCAR Playoffs.  As the only Saturday night race of the postseason, there’ll be plenty of optimism for our Playoffs contenders and those looking to spoil a primetime party.

Moreover, Round 28 of the season truly shows how quickly this year progressed in NASCAR.  Sure, the likes of Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, and Stewart-Haas Racing dominate the headlines.  However, that doesn’t mean someone from Hendrick Motorsports or Chip Ganassi Racing isn’t up to the task.

With at least 400 laps to settle any frayed emotions in the Dominion State, let’s preview tonight’s action!  Our columnists, Ashley HobbsChristina BowmanCody ShoppeJose Acero JrKobe LambethMatt Sisoler, and yours truly consider what’s in store at Richmond and the rationale with Kyle Busch’s frustrations following Las Vegas.

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Question 1
Certainly, Joey Logano knows his way around Richmond. (Photo Credit: Andrew Fuller/TPF)

Certainly, Joey Logano knows his way around Richmond. (Photo Credit: Andrew Fuller/TPF)

As the series returns to Richmond, might we see some short track tempers flare up, particularly with the Playoffs racers?

Hobbs :  I don’t think so. Richmond, while a short track by definition, races like an intermediate track. While shorter than Phoenix, it is longer than both Martinsville and Bristol, the two tracks where we expect to see tempers flare. However, being the second of three races in this Playoff round, and the ROVAL lurking, someone might pull bold moves to solidify their place in the next round and that could ruffle feathers.

Tiongson :  At the moment, I don’t think we will see any feathers ruffled up at Richmond. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see, say if it’s a driver on the brink of elimination going for the win versus someone who’s locked in, they’ll be glad to use the old chrome horn. Someone like Kurt Busch, who’s now unexpectedly outside of the top-12, may consider such a move, even if it’s against his brother Kyle.

Acero :  Short track racing, short track tempers!!!! Expect the usual fireworks that Richmond has to offer! After his not so up to par playoff opening race I expect KyBu to bring the pyrotechnics and a match to light this show up!!! 

Sisoler :  We might, but Richmond is not quite a short track, so it’s a toss up. I do think when it comes down to crunch time (pardon the pun), late in the race, we will definitely see Playoff drivers taking more risks, which could lead to some big problems. 

Lambeth :  While I do not think we will see any major issues from Richmond, it is certainly possible that some contact could lead to some hot tempers. For example, if a driver takes out a playoff contender, then I would expect something major to go down at some point. Playoff drivers do not want to be in a major hole heading into Charlotte ROVAL weekend. Must-win situations add an enormous amount of pressure. 

Question 2
Might Kyle Busch's concerns have some validity? (Photo Credit: Andrew Fuller/TPF)

Might Kyle Busch’s concerns have some validity? (Photo Credit: Andrew Fuller/TPF)

Kyle Busch expressed frustration with some drivers who were lapped on the track late in the South Point 400.  Was he correct with his concerns or just a heat of the moment remark by Busch?

Bowman :  I totally empathize with playoff drivers when cars that are not in contention for the win or even the lead lap get in the way. If they are on the same lap or contending, it’s an entirely different story. Love him or hate him, you have to admire the passion and tenacity that Busch has for racing. His colorful commentary is something I think fans and viewers have come to expect. 

Shoppe :  You cannot help but understand his frustration for the contact with Garrett Smithley at the end of the Vegas race. But Kyle Busch really should just be frustrated with himself! William Byron and Alex Bowman were able to make it past the 53, I mean the 52(I better get it right!). Busch simply just picked the wrong line. Smithley did his job and was getting out of the way, which is why he was even slower than he usually was throughout the race. 

As for Busch’s comments after the race, this is yet one more sound bite to add to a very long compilation that can be made of his whining and sore losing personality. I believe he has no ground to stand on with his criticism of drivers who haven’t been given top-tier equipment. He does however have a right to be frustrated with poor journalism in the form of repeated questioning. However you feel about it, it was funny to listen to and good for the sport as a whole!  

Two laps around Richmond without a scratch!  Before we proceed with more Richmond talk, we’ll rewind to last Sunday night’s Playoffs opener at Las Vegas with our race and points reports!
Yours truly nearly won last Sunday's Playoffs opener.

Yours truly nearly won last Sunday’s Playoffs opener.

In the meantime, the humans are back!

In the meantime, the humans are back!

As always, Ashley Hobbs considers the numbers in thorough fashion for tonight’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond!
How does your favorite team fare in the Federated Auto Parts 400?

How does your favorite team fare in the Federated Auto Parts 400?

Since 2004, the race winner has an average starting spot of 6.3 while leading an average of 165.3 laps.

Since 2004, the race winner has an average starting spot of 6.3 while leading an average of 165.3 laps.

Logano certainly enjoys Richmond.

Logano certainly enjoys Richmond.

Here's your trends at Richmond since 2009.

Here’s your trends at Richmond since 2009.

Moreover, here's the trends at Richmond since 2014.

Moreover, here’s the trends at Richmond since 2014.

The infernal machines predicts another Kyle Busch win.

The infernal machines predicts another Kyle Busch win.

Once more unto the breach, we consider our picks for tonight’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond!
Can one of these six Playoffs racers win tonight's Federated Auto Parts 400?

Can one of these six Playoffs racers win tonight’s Federated Auto Parts 400?

TPF Stats :  Earlier this year in the Toyota Owners 400, this driver finished in the top-five and racked up a pretty good amount of points. Last year, he finished runner up in this race, so Kevin Harvick looks to finish one spot better this year.

Acero :  the Toyota teams may have the speed BUT it’s a FORD with the 4 on the doors that will spoil the party! Harvick for the win! 

Tiongson :  Denny Hamlin could deliver more points for me and that means yet another win in 2019!

Sisoler :  Denny Hamlin does have the home field advantage coming into Richmond. Look for that No. 11 FedEx Toyota to take the checkered flag for another victory this year!

Bowman :  Ryan Blaney.

Hobbs :  While the Toyota Owners 400 has not been good to Kyle Larson in the past, the Federated Auto Parts 400 is better to him.

Lambeth :  It feels like the perfect weekend for some sliced bread. Joey Logano will take the checkered flag at Richmond. 

Shoppe :  Kyle Busch wins again at Richmond

Race fans, thanks for joining us for our preview of the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond!

We’re ready for some racing. How about you? What do you think are the biggest storylines heading into Saturday night’s race and who is your favorite to win?  Tweet us now @ThePodiumFinish and tell us now!

Thanks as always to the TPF team for their amazing efforts this week!  We hope to see you at the races in 2019. 

The opinions and thoughts expressed in Podium Preview are solely of the authors. They do not reflect any organizations affiliated with the participants and author outside of TPF. This weekly feature is strictly for entertainment purposes and are not indicative of TPF, the organization, and its staff.

Rob Tiongson

30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught my eye. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by me or by one of my talented columnists who absolutely have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. I enjoy editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography.

Graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Proud to be from Massachusetts, just as happy to be a Texan.

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