- Fresh off breaking his 115-race winless streak, Kevin Harvick is looking to make it two in a row. Richmond is also the track where he started his only two-race win streak of his Cup career, in 2006. He would win the summer race at Richmond, then start the Chase by winning at Loudon, NH. Could he make it two in a row? Only time will tell.
- Richmond is the kind of track that RCR could dominate at. All three RCR drivers have won at RIR: Harvick, Clint Bowyer (spring 2008), and Jeff Burton (he won in 1998 when driving for Jack Roush).
- Not to be outdone, Denny Hamlin would like to turn his hometown track into his own playground and win in dominating fashion. He's certainly capable. Nothing like home cooking. He's won twice this year and in my opinion he's looking at it this way: another win and he's tied with Jimmie Johnson for the Chase lead.
- Winning at Talladega will make it easier on Harvick for three reasons: 1) attracting sponsors; 2) re-signing with RCR as a result of getting new sponsorship; 3) getting that 800-lb gorilla off his back and not having to answer questions about the winless streak. Speaking of sponsors, Reese's will be sponsoring the #29 car this weekend. Reese's has been with Harvick since his rookie season in 2001.
- The track was first built in 1946. At first it was a 1/2 mile dirt track, hosting its first NASCAR Grand National event on April 19, 1953. Since then, the track has undergone four additional configurations, the most recent being the 3/4 mile configuration after the spring 1988 race.
- Lee Petty was the first winner at RIR. Denny Hamlin is the most recent winner, winning last season's Chevy Rock & Roll 400.
- Jimmie Johnson, the active leader with three wins, has quite a ways to go to catch Richard Petty's all-time record of 11 wins at Richmond. Petty won under three different configurations of the track.
- Johnson was the last driver to win from the pole, in the summer 2007 race.
- Back to the burning question: who will win at Richmond? Look for the usual suspects to run strong: Hamlin, Harvick, Johnson, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer, and Kyle Busch. Any one of these guys could win the race.
Predicted Race Winner: Kevin Harvick. He makes it two wins in a row, narrowly edging Denny Hamlin. (I predicted once he gets that first win, he'll reel off several afterwards.) The rest of the top 5: 3) Burton; 4) Bowyer; 5) Gordon.
Darkhorse top 10 finisher: there won't be an unlikely top 10 finisher--Richmond isn't conducive to an unlikely top 10 finisher. There aren't the variables at Richmond that there are at Talladega. Put another way, all the top 10 will be occupied by those in the top 20 in points.
Your insights are always welcome.
Information courtesy of www.rir.com.