Get ready to go under the lights as NASCAR shifts to Richmond for the Toyota Owners 400 Saturday.
Kevin Harvick is the defending champion, but some of the stars of the racing world like Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson will be there to challenge him this time around. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has seen a number of different winners thus far, and the fact that the race is at night adds yet another layer of intrigue in Richmond.
Here is a look at the essentials for Saturday’s race.
Essential Information for Saturday’s Race
Where: Richmond International Raceway
When: Saturday, April 26 at 7 p.m. ET
Radio: Motor Racing Network
Qualifying for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway was scheduled for Friday, April 25, but was cancelled because of weather. Instead, the starting lineup was determined by practice speeds.
Here is a look at the order of the field for Saturday's race, courtesy of Sporting News:
|Toyota Owners 400 Qualifying Entry List|
|88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|78||Martin Truex Jr.|
|17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|
Drivers to Watch
There are a number of things that make any race at the Richmond International Raceway interesting, including the fact that it is a short track (.75 miles), which puts extra pressure on those on pit road.
Don’t be surprised if there are a number of caution flags during Saturday’s action with such a tight pit road and the very nature of short-track racing. Still, the thing that matters most during any NASCAR race is the actual drivers, so with that in mind, let’s take a brief look at a few to watch.
Record-wise this year, Denny Hamlin doesn’t appear to be one of the favorites in Richmond. He is 15th in points without a single victory and only has one top-five finish.
However, expect a much better result from Hamlin than we have been seeing.
Richmond is his home track, and he has two victories, two poles and seven top-five finishes in his career there. Given the way his season has been unfolding in the early going, Hamlin will be racing with a little extra motivation. Throw that on top of the fact that he is very familiar with what needs to be done here to compete, and we will see a better performance from Hamlin.
It might not lead to a victory, but he will finish in the top 10.
Any time the dominant Johnson is part of a race field, he has to be considered among the favorites.
He counts three victories, two poles and five top-five finishes to his resume at Richmond and has performed much better there as his career progresses.
No active driver has as many victories at Richmond as Kyle Busch does with four. In fact, he won every single season from 2009 to 2012 and will look to add to his illustrious career there in 2014.
Thanks to that dominance, Roto Experts believes he is a racer to follow Saturday:
Gordon has gone back in a time machine this year.
He is the current points leader and has two wins, six poles and an astounding 16 top-five finishes at Richmond. Gordon has momentum and the proven ability to get the job done at this race. Don’t be surprised if he earns the checkered flag Saturday.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt Jr. is always one of the fan favorites at any race, and he has proved himself worthy of the admiration at this track.
He has three wins, one pole and nine top-five finishes at Richmond in his career and will look to add to those totals in 2014.
Danica Patrick is still looking for success at Richmond in stock car racing, as she said in pre-race comments, via motorsport.com:
If anybody has the key to Richmond, please pass it along because I have not figured it out, yet. I haven’t run well at Richmond, yet. I loved going there in IndyCar, and I had good success there, I feel like. I had lots of top-five’s there in IndyCar, or at least running consistently in the top-five. It just hasn’t been that way in stock cars. I have a really hard time getting into turn one. I feel like the car is going to spin out the whole time, so I don’t know. Hopefully, this time will be different.
Tune in Saturday to find out if things do go differently for Patrick, if Busch adds to his Richmond victory total or if Gordon continues to flash his invigorated driving skills.