Last week NASCAR was at Kansas Speedway, after sweeping at Texas the week before Kyle Busch had trouble and got caught up in a wreck. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Matt Kenseth, continued the trend of JGR winning races for him. This week NASCAR is at a very different race track, Richmond International Raceway for some Saturday night short track racing. Kyle Busch looks to continue the trend and show that the penalties levied on Matt’s team have nothing to do with their performance.
The Richmond International Raceway is a 3/4 mile, D shaped oval. There are 14 degrees of banking in the corners, 8 degrees on the frontstretch and 2 degrees on the back stretch. Because of the small size the frontstretch is more of a continuation of turns 4 and 1. That is why there is some banking there.
When looking at the driver ratings for Richmond on thing stands out. Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are in their own time zone compared to the other drivers. Denny Hamlin with a driver rating of 117.8 very near the magical 120 mark would be the driver to beat. That is exactly why he was talking about and hoping to come back from his injury this week. Missing this race will be the hardest thing for Denny since he got hurt.
This leaves Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick to fight it out. In light of the penalties to JGR from the connecting rod on Matt Kenneth’s engine, Kyle Busch wants to prove that those problems are not why JGR has won half of the Sprint Cup races so far.
Kyle Busch has an average finish of a staggering 5.4, far better than Denny Hamlin’s of 8.1 and Kevin Harvick’s at 11.7.
“It always seems to be a race kind of between Denny (Hamlin) and myself. We’ll see how Richmond goes, but I love going to Richmond — for some reason I’ve just kind of taken to that place.” Kyle said, “I know what I need in my car to run well there. The guys have done a good job making good adjustments through practice and sometimes we try to dial ourselves out, but we get honed back in on what we know works there. By having a good notebook I think that really helps. A couple guys have been there testing — the speeds seem to be fast. Should be exciting when we get back there with this new 2013 Camry.”
Kyle is entered into the NASCAR Nationwide Series race so he has a big chance for a weekend sweep. With Denny missing the race the only problem Kyle might have is that his notebook might not be as good as if Denny was there.
If you can’t get to Richmond International Raceway for the Toyota Owners 400 it will be televised on FOX at 7 PM ET Saturday April 27th.
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Top 12 Driver Rating at Richmond
Denny Hamlin 117.8
Kyle Busch 113.9
Kevin Harvick 111.1
Clint Bowyer 98.5
Tony Stewart 97.9
Jeff Gordon 96.6
Mark Martin 92.6
Ryan Newman 92.0
Jimmie Johnson 90.4
Kurt Busch 88.6
Carl Edwards 88.4
Kasey Kahne 87.8
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2012 races (16 total) among active drivers at Richmond International Raceway