The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stops at Richmond International Raceway for the 9th race of the 2013 season, the Toyota Owners 400. This event will be one of the most exciting races of the year as drivers attempt to manage the tricky configuration of RIR's "long-short" track. We took a look at past performances, season trends, and talked to NASCAR contacts to shed a light on how the field should finish on Saturday night.
When: Saturday, April 27, 2013; 7:44 p.m./et.
Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 73; wind out of the SE at 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
The Track: Richmond International Raceway
Richmondis a .75 mile D-shaped oval. It has fairly flat 14 degree banking in the turns and 8 degree banking on the straights.
Key to Race: SATURDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Saturday night racing seem to bring out the best and worst in NASCAR. Drivers in the Toyota Owners 400 will take a few more chances than normal and there should be plenty of bent sheet metal and angry drivers when the checkers fly.
43 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has run excellent at RIR during his career. He dominated the past three May races and has 11 top five finishes in 15 career starts at the track.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick won the fall 2011 race and has finished in the top 12 in 15 of the last 17 races at RIR. A top five finish is expected.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson admitted in the past that RIR is a tough track for him, but he has won three of the last 12 races at venue. We all know J.J. drives just a little faster once the nighttime air gets a little cooler.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has three career wins at RIR, including the May 2006 race. He was fast last year and should bring the heat again this trip to Virginia. Look for No. 88 to finish in the top five this weekend.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has finished inside the top 14 in nine of the past 10 races at Richmond. He is an excellent pick.
6 to 10
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Smoke has three career wins at RIR and has 18 top 10 finishes in 28 career starts. He hasn't won at the track since 2002 so he is due for another visit to victory lane.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer won the race last fall and the May 2008 race at RIR. This is a good weekend to use the No. 15 car.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has finished ninth or better in seven of the past 17 RIR races. The Biff is a solid second driver in all leagues this week.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth hasn’t lead a lap at RIR the past three races, but he still managed top 10 finishes. Look for the crafty veteran to use his skill for another strong finish.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has finished in the top 10 in seven of the last 16 races at RIR. He is a fine pick this weekend.
11 to 20
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has had just one solid race at RIR in his brief career. There are better options to anchor your squad this week.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards finally appeared to figure out RIR in 2011. He should have the Double-9 sled back inside the top 15.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has 10 top five finishes and 16 top 10 finishes in 37 career starts at RIR. The Virginia Native is a solid pick this week.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has been very successful at RIR in the past. He is worth taking a chance on.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: RIR is one of Truex's favorite tracks. He finished is a good pick this weekend.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has been terrific in his first eight Cup races at Richmond. The Terrific Tasmanian is worth using in most leagues this trip to the track.
No. 11 Brian Vickers: Vickers will be again behind the wheel of the No. 11 car. He is worth using as a fifth driver in all leagues.
No. 55 Mark Martin: Martin has averaged an 11th place finish in 53 career starts at RIR. He will have the No. 55 back inside the top 20 this week.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard was awesome at RIR the past two spring races. He is a great fourth driver in most leagues.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano has cracked the top 24 in seven of the last eight trips to Richmond. We should see another top 25 finish from him this weekend.
21 to 30
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has appeared to have solved Richmond’s tricky configuration. He should have the No. 42 car just outside the top 20 on Saturday.
No. 78 Kurt Busch: Busch won the fall race at RIR in 2005 and has finished in the top 10 in seven of the past 12 races at the track. A top 25 finish should be expected.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse has been very average this season. We expect he will improve as he gets more comfortable behind the wheel of the No. 17.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola has averaged a 26th place at Richmond in his career.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: This is one of McMurray's worst tracks. Avoid him!
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears has averaged a top 20 finish the past four years at RIR. He is a fine sleeper.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte: Richmond is a track where Labonte has had decent success during his career. He shouldn't have an issue cracking the top 30 on Saturday.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Danica should have the No. 10 just inside the top 30 on Saturday.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan has averaged a 20th place finish at RIR during his career. He should have the No. 34 inside the top 30 when the checkers fly.
No. 83 David Reutimann: Rudy has struggled so far this season. He isn’t much of an option.
No. 51 A.J. Allmendinger
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 7 Dave Blaney
No. 33 Landon Cassill
No. 19 Mike Bliss
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 36 J.J. Yeley
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 32 Timmy Hill
No. 35 Josh Wise
No. 52 Brian Keselowski
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Kevin Harvick
B. Kyle Busch
B. Brian Vickers
C. David Ragan