The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stops at Richmond International Raceway for the ninth race of the 2014 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 26; 7:14 p.m./et.
Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 82; wind out of the W at 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is zero.
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.
45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick won at RIR last spring and has finished in the top 12 in 17 of the last 19 races at RIR. A top five finish is expected.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has run excellent at RIR during his career. He dominated three of the past four spring races and has 11 top five finishes in 17 career starts at the track.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin missed last year’s spring race at RIR due to injury, but he is usually a force at the track. Use him in all leagues.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has three career wins at RIR. Look for No. 88 to finish in the top five this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards finally appeared to figure out RIR in 2011. He should have the Double-9 sled back inside the top five.
6 to 10
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 14 races at venue. We all know J.J. drives just a little faster in the nighttime air.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth led the most laps at RIR last spring on his way to a seventh place finish. Look for the crafty veteran to use his skill for another top 10.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has finished inside the top 14 in 11 of the past 12 races at Richmond. He is an excellent pick.
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch finished second last fall and has notched top 10 results in nine of the past 14 races at the track. A top 25 finish should be expected.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has been terrific at RIR lately. This is a great weekend to use the No. 15 ride.
11 to 20
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman has been very successful at RIR in the past. He is worth taking a chance on.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has finished in the top 10 in seven of the last 18 races at RIR. He is a fine pick this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has finished ninth or better in seven of the past 19 RIR races. The Biff is a solid second driver in all leagues this week.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Smoke usually is awesome at RIR, but we think he is still being hindered by last year’s leg injury.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has had just one great race at RIR in his brief career. There are better options to anchor your squad this week.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: RIR is one of Truex's favorite tracks. He is a good pick this weekend.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano drove a smart race at Richmond last spring. He is a decent pick.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard was awesome at RIR the past three spring races. He is a great fourth driver in most leagues.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: The talented rookie has been impressive so far this year. He is a solid choice.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola notched an eighth place finished at RIR last spring. We like his chances.
21 to 30
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse was great at Richmond last fall. We expect he will be decent again this trip to the track.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has been terrific in all but two of his first nine Cup races at Richmond. The Terrific Tasmanian is worth using in most leagues this trip to the track.
No. 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon will struggle a bit in his first Cup star at RIR.
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers has averaged a 26th place finish at RIR during his career. He is an okay choice to fill-out your roster.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: This is one of McMurray's worst tracks, but he was fantastic last fall. We still can’t recommend him.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: A.J. has averaged a 21st place finish at RIR during his career. There are far worse choices.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears has averaged a top 22 finish the past eight years at RIR. He is a fine sleeper.
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 21st place finish at RIR during his career. He should have the No. 34 inside the top 30 when the checkers fly.
No. 40 Landon Cassill: Cassill has been a bit of a surprise this year. He is a decent fifth driver.
No. 51 Justin Allgaier
No. 36 Reed Sorenson
No 26 Cole Whitt
No. 98 Josh Wise
No. 7 Michael Annett
No. 23 Alex Bowman
No. 35 David Reutimann
No. 32 Travis Kvapil
No. 30 Parker Kligerman
No. 95 Michael McDowell
No. 83 Ryan Truex
No. 33 David Stremme
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 66 Joe Nemechek
No. 77 Dave Blaney
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Kevin Harvick
B. Denny Hamlin
B. Ryan Newman
C. Landon Cassill