The top five drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this week--Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards--plus Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne talk about the exciting side-by-side racing they will encounter at the .75-mile D-shaped oval track with 14-degree corner banking known as Richmond International Raceway.
The Air Guard 400 at Richmond, Va., commences this Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.
FYI WIRZ is the swift presentation of pertinent motor sports topics compiled, condensed and often written by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com. Quotes provided by NASCAR and Sprint Cup team media.
Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Chevrolet)
"Richmond has been a great race track for us,” Harvick said. “That’s the last one to have a free for all, and just do what you have to do. It is also the last weekend to prepare yourself for what is coming in the next 10 weeks. We have to have our stuff together, and I think we should run well.”
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Chevrolet)
“Richmond is a very tough race track,” Gordon said. “I felt like we had a real legitimate shot at winning that race the last time we were there. It is a tough race track. It is a short track. It is not easy to get a hold of. You go from day to night because the race starts sort of in the evening but you still slip and slide around a little bit until the sun goes down.”
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota)
“I like going to Richmond,” Busch said. “It’s a fun racetrack, a nice short track. For me, the success I’ve had there, I’m not sure why, but it’s just been a good place for me to run.
“At Richmond, you try to be easy on the brakes getting in, so you don’t lock up getting into the corner, or get too loose getting into the corner. The center (of the corner) always seems to be a little tight with these cars. And the exit has been so loose.
Nobody has any forward bite coming up off the corner, so it’s pretty bad. That should make for a pretty interesting race. It’s pretty fast and it usually spreads out, and you’ll get a lot of grooves to choose from.”
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Chevrolet)
“You want to make sure your car is adjustable at Richmond,” Stewart said. “We start the race at the end of the day, when it’s usually pretty hot but, as night comes, the track cools down and it changes quite a bit. Old pavement, new pavement—the same theory applies, and that’s not something you see at most of the races we go to.
“Richmond is my favorite track. It’s not one of them, it’s the favorite track of mine on the circuit. I’ve just always thought it’s the perfect-sized track for a Cup race. The other short tracks we run—Bristol and Martinsville—they’re cool in their own right, but there’s a lot of congestion at those two tracks. But at Richmond, it just seems like that extra quarter-mile, and that three-quarter-mile shape, and how wide the groove gets there, allows for good racing. It seems like we have to race ourselves and race the racetrack versus racing each other a lot of times.
"You do have to race each other, obviously, but there are a lot of times during the race when you have the flexibility to move around on the racetrack and try to find a spot your car likes better than somewhere else.”
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford)
“Richmond is a fun racetrack,” Edwards said. “It’ll be a purely fun race with no real stress because we’ve already made the Chase. It’s an opportunity to go there and have a good time and try to get a victory for Kellogg’s. We definitely don’t have to go in there with the stress we’ve had in the years past. That was one of our goals for the season and we’ve accomplished it. I’m really proud of my guys.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet)
"Richmond fits my driving style,” Earnhardt Jr. “I grew up racing at Myrtle Beach (S.C.), and it's got the same characteristics of that track. It's got multiple grooves and multiple ways of racing around there. The car changes quite a bit over the night, and you've got to be able to move around and find different grooves. We've struggled there the past couple of times but we've been doing a lot of testing to get ready for this weekend."
Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Ford)
"My first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory came at Richmond, so I always look forward to going back,” Kahne said. “It is the ideal short track—wide, fast, smooth, very competitive, and there’s plenty of room to set up a pass.”
Photo credit: Dwight Drum at Racetake.com