Richmond International Raceway is the third shortest track on the NASCAR circuit, but speeds routinely exceed 100 mph and the bumping and banging action is well received by packed crowds that usually exceed 90,000 people.
The .75-mile oval track with 14-degree banking is considered a short track, but the way 43 Sprint Cup cars roar around in the night air gives off an aura of a much faster track.
On April 28th fans without tickets can watch the Capital City 400 presented by Virginia is for Lovers at 7 p.m. ET on FOX.
Eight of 36 races are now in the books for the 2012 NASCAR season, and most of the same names seem to be clinging to Chase positions. The top five contenders have shifted spots throughout the weeks, but their names are common to the upper tier.
Three of the top five have won races while the juniors—Martin Truex Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr.—have maintained top standing by finishing well consistently in 2012.
Whether the top five alignments might change any time soon is a matter of the remaining races; 18 regular season and 10 Sprint Cup Chase events. Much can happen, but for this week the top teams bring momentum into Richmond.
Fans can often learn much from the comments of drivers before they arrive to practice for the next big show.
Greg Biffle, Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin shared their words before any green flag.
Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford)
“Richmond has been a hit or miss track for us,” Biffle said. “Richmond is definitely a driver’s track. It allows for really good racing and the night race this weekend will be exciting for the fans no matter what. We have a better brake package, lighter cars and I think we’ll have a good run.”
Martin Truex Jr. (No. 56 Toyota)
“I really enjoy going to the track each weekend especially when we are running like this," Truex said. “We just need to keep this thing going. We’ve been on one heck of a roll over the last 12 or so races."
“I look forward to driving the NAPA Brakes Toyota and finally getting us a win. I keep saying that we are getting close. I think this past weekend showed it. The NAPA crew is ready to make that trip to victory lane and I am too.”
Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Ford)
“I think that both the drivers and the fans love the racing action at Richmond,” Kenseth said. “It’s a great track because there’s enough room to maneuver around without running into someone or getting run into. It’s also a place where we can get a lot of speed on the straightaways, so that also makes it exciting for the fans as well. Night racing provides for a little more consistency with the track.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet)
“Richmond is a little bit bigger than most short tracks we race on but the racing is always fun,” Earnhardt said. “The shape of the track is quite unique, which makes it pretty interesting. She’s getting a little bit slick, and the last couple trips here it has become more slick but it’s a fun track. I’m looking forward to the weekend and getting in the car and seeing what we got.”
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)
“I obviously need to go to Richmond early to get some stuff done,” Hamlin said. “We’re excited. I love going to Richmond anyway, but any time you can go after winning the previous week, it makes it a little more exciting. I’m excited about it. It’s a big weekend, and obviously winning in Kansas is a great step to trying to get some promotion for that.”
For more racing information go to www.NASCAR.com
FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com. Unless otherwise noted, information and all quotes were obtained from personal interviews or official release materials provided by NASCAR and team representatives.
Photo credit: Dwight Drum at Racetake.com.