Race: NASCARToyota Owners 400; Richmond Int’l Raceway

Where to Watch: DSport, 11:00 p.m. (IST), this Sunday

The spring race week at Richmond International Raceway (Richmond) is officially here.

Fans will also see a new Richmond wall badge when they fill the grandstands this weekend. NASCAR Hall of Famer and Motor Racing Network broadcaster Rusty Wallace helped unveil the new look for the track last week. The new wall badge pairs nicely with the red stripes and ushers in a new era for Richmond.

With the news of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s retirement at the end of the season, the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday will be his final day race at Richmond. Earnhardt is a three-time Cup race winner in Richmond with victories in the Crown Royal 400 in 2006, Chevy American Revolution 400 in 2004, and Pontiac Excitement 400 in 2000. Earnhardt has also won four NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Richmond with his most recent victory coming in last spring’s ToyotaCare 250. This weekend will be race fans last opportunity to watch Earnhardt race during the day at Richmond.

The track is 300 miles long and has finished in over three hours in each of the last four races. There are 12 drivers who have won this race at least twice.

Here are five drivers to consider putting on this week’s card.

Kyle Busch – Kyle Busch flopped last week with a 35th place finish in the Food City 500, and he has just three top-10 finishes this season overall. However, few drivers have owned the Richmond International Raceway like Busch, as he’s won this event four times with all four of his victories coming in four straight years. Richard Petty is the only driver to win the Toyota Owners 400 more times than Busch. Sometimes you have to put form on the backburner and trust history, which is why I’m giving Busch another shot this week.

Jimmie Johnson – Johnson has won back-to-back races, which includes last week when he was given odds of +1000. Johnson has posted top-10 finishes in 50 percent of his last 10 tries at the Richmond International Raceway and that doesn’t include a win in the 2007 The Jim Stewart 400 and a few wins in the second race in Virginia. Johnson is in great form and usually strings wins together once he tastes victory lane.

Joey Logano – Joey Logano finished fifth last week and has now posted top-five finishes in each of his last four races. To make things better heading into this week, Logano has posted top-10 finishes in each of his last six appearances at the Richmond International Raceway, and that includes a victory in the 2014 Toyota Owners 400. Phoenix is the only race this season where Logano hasn’t posted a top-10 finish and he’s due for his first victory of the season. Given his form and his history on this track, Logano is a solid bet to get his first win of the year.

Kevin Harvick – Kevin Harvick is also a driver looking for his first win of the season, and he’s posted top-five finishes in each of his last two races. In Richmond, Harvick has finished fifth or better in four of his last five appearances at the Richmond International Raceway and picked up a victory in the 2013 Toyota Owners 400. Harvick hasn’t gone thing long without a victory since the 2012 NASCAR season, so he’s due. You have to like his chances here, especially given his form with his last two races.

Matt Kenseth – Matt Kenseth finished fourth last week and has now racked up top-10 finishes in two of his last three races. Kenseth hasn’t had much success this season overall, but there’s no denying his recent form. There’s also no denying Kenseth’s success in Richmond, as he’s finished seventh or better in seven of his last nine appearances at the Richmond International Raceway and that includes a win in the 2015 Federated Auto Parts 400. It’s been awhile since Kenseth has won a race and he’s had a shaky start to the 2017 season, but we’re going to get big odds here and this feels like our Ryan Newman play a few weeks ago in the Camping World 500.

Source: Sports Chat Place

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