Here are five NASCAR drivers to watch as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Richmond Raceway for the Toyota Owners 400.
The NASCAR Cup Series is headed to Richmond Raceway for the ninth race in the 2019 NASCAR season. This will be the third race at a short track in the last four NASCAR race weekends.
Last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch picked up his third win of the NASCAR season. The week before at Martinsville Speedway, all five of our five drivers finished inside the top-10.
Heading into Richmond Raceway, will Kyle Busch win for a fourth time this season? Will someone snap their winless streak? Will a Hendrick Motorsports or Stewart-Haas Racing driver find victory lane?
Here are five drivers to keep any eye on this weekend to see how they perform at Richmond Raceway.
Logano has the best average finish, 5.2, in the last four races at Richmond Raceway. During that time, Logano has led 117 laps and is one of only three drivers to have three top-5 finishes.
Logano has a win during that time period as well, however, that win is the infamous “encumbered” victory that cost Logano a spot in the NASCAR playoffs that season.
Logano and his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski should both be a threat for the race win.
Harvick has yet to win this season, which is a surprise to many after winning three of the first eight races in 2018.
Harvick enters Richmond Raceway with the second best average finish, 6.8, in the last four races at the Richmond, Virginia short track.
Despite leading only 59 laps, Harvick is tied with Logano and Denny Hamlin as the only drivers with three top-5 finishes in the last four races at Richmond Raceway.
“I think we’ve had success on short tracks in the past. It’s really just a matter putting a weekend together. It’s really no different than any other racetrack,” said Harvick in his pre-race advance.
“This business is hard to be successful at and sometimes you go through years where short tracks are good and some years not so good. I enjoy the short tracks because we don’t get to go to quite as many as I think we’d all like.”
Busch is the best driver in NASCAR right now, winning at almost will. Now he visits Richmond Raceway where he swept both of the races in 2018.
Busch has led at least one lap in the last four races at Richmond and at least 32 laps in three of those races. His worst finish in the last four races is a 16th place finish in the spring of 2017.
The entire Joe Gibbs Racing contingent should run strong at Richmond Raceway with Busch leading the way.
Suarez is having the best start his career in his first season with Stewart-Haas Racing. He’s heading to a track where he boasts the 10th best average finish, 11.5, in the last four races.
Suarez and his crew chief Billy Scott have built strong chemistry quickly this season.
“Something I like about Billy is that he’s really straightforward. What he thinks, he says, and I’m the same way,” said Suarez in his pre-race advance.
“We can laugh and have a good time, but we are able to be very clear with each other. He’s also a racer and he’s very hands-on. His kids race and he’s very hands-on with them. We like a lot of the same things. I like to build cars and work on them, and he likes to do the same stuff. We have similar personalities and he’s very aggressive. I have a feeling that we will have a good, long relationship together.”
His worst finish, 17th, at Richmond Raceway came the last time the Cup Series visited the short track in September of 2018. Before that, Suarez completed every lap he turned at Richmond Raceway and had a worst finish of 12th.
Martin Truex Jr.
The information about Truex Jr. from the drivers to watch at Martinsville Speedway can be copy and pasted here.
Truex Jr. is still searching for his first win on a short track in the Cup Series. That win could come as soon as this weekend.
Besides that, we can update the rest of his statistics. Truex Jr. has led the most laps, 482, of any driver at Richmond Raceway in the last four races. That’s 296 laps more than the next closest driver, Brad Keselowski.
In fact, Truex Jr. has led 121 laps or more in the past three races at Richmond Raceway. The finishes just aren’t there for Truex Jr. with two top-10 finishes and a pair of finishes 14th or worse.
Truex Jr. has had the speed at Richmond Raceway and if that continues, he could finally break through this weekend at a short track.
Follow Matt on Twitter @mattlovisa.