Richmond

Will Joe Gibbs Racing come out swinging at Richmond?

Geoffrey Miller's Five Things to Watch at Richmond
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Five storylines to follow as the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit heads to Richmond International Raceway for the Toyota Owners 400.</p>

1. Beaten down Joe Gibbs Racing should come out swinging
Matt Kenseth suffered perhaps the most crushing penalty NASCAR has ever assessed that isn't a driver suspension. Kyle Busch has a strong memory of team mistakes killing his chance to qualify for last year's Chase for the Sprint Cup. And Denny Hamlin, the best Richmond International Raceway driver by advanced statistical measure in the last five-plus seasons, won't even get to suit up for Saturday night's race.

More Stories:

Fantasy NASCAR Picks for the Toyota Owners 400 in Richmond

Geoffrey Miller predicts the best fantasy drivers in Richmond so you don't have to.
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Geoffrey Miller ranks each driver on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit for this weekend's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.</p>

NASCAR Horsepower Rankings

Hamlin, Johnson, Keselowski lead field into Chase
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> As NASCAR's regular season comes to a close, Denny Hamlin edges by Jimmie Johnson to take the top spot in Athlon Sports' weekly Horsepower Rankings.</p>
2012

1. Denny Hamlin   Hamlin slips ahead of Jimmie Johnson thanks to having the strongest car for a third consecutive week (despite the fact he didn’t win). He also gets a hat tip for those four regular season victories. Last week: 2

Pennell’s Picks: Fantasy NASCAR Trends at Richmond

Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 400
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Athlon Sports contributor Jay Pennell looks at fantasy NASCAR favorites and darkhorses for Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 400 from Richmond International Raceway.</p>
2012

After 25 races, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season will roll into Richmond International Raceway for the final event before the 12-driver Chase field is set. While the top 10 is essentially a lock, the race for the wild card positions is all about wins, with eight drivers still eligible for the two spots.

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Confusion in Richmond, Debris Cautions, Changes at Bristol and Pastrana’s Impact
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> The Backseat Drivers Fan Council weighs in on the confusiong finish at Richmond, debris cautions, changes at Bristol and Travis Pastrana's impact on NASCAR.</p>
2012

Confusion in Richmond, Changes at Bristol and Pastrana’s Impact


NASCAR officiating, Bristol’s changes and the debut of Travis Pastrana. It was quite a week for the sport and created a lot of topics for members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council to debate.

With so much to discuss, no need to delay things. Here’s a look at how NASCAR fans saw these issues:

Hendrick Motorsports Still Searching for Elusive 200th Cup Win

The Long and Short of It
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Following Kyle Busch's win at Richmond International Raceway, Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.</p>
2012

The Long and Short of It

What was supposed to be a celebration has become a burden for Hendrick Motorsports. Mired in a 15-race winless drought, its longest since 2002-03, the organization remains at 199 Cup victories as the series heads to Talladega.

Whenever the team scores its 200th victory — a significant number in a sport that reveres Richard Petty’s 200 career victories as a driver — it will be more relief than triumph.

Kyle Busch Wins In Richmond

Busch earns fourth consecutive spring win at RIR
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Kyle Busch won the Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway.</p>
2012

Saturday evening’s Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway was not unlike many of the NASCAR Sprint Cup events over the past month. A dearth of cautions — only five, the second-least at RIR in 14 years — pockmarked the 300-mile event.

However, Richmond provided an exciting, and controversial, finish that produced an all-too-familiar victor in Kyle Busch.

The Best NASCAR has to Offer

Richmond, Talladega, Darlington and Charlotte stretch unequalled on schedule
<p> Athlon Sports contributor Vito Pugliese notes that NASCAR's month of May — with races at Richmond, Talladega, Darlington and Charlotte — is the best of the season.</p>
2012

Richmond, Talladega, Darlington and Charlotte stretch unequalled on Cup schedule

Much was made of the first five races of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule being run on diametrically diverse tracks. From the season opening restrictor plate Daytona 500, to the bumper-car bonanza that made up the closing laps at Martinsville, and the intermediate downforce contests in Las Vegas and Fontana.

Pennell’s Picks: Fantasy NASCAR Trends at Richmond

Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for Saturday's race in Richmond
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Athlon Sports contributor Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway.</p>
2012

This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Richmond International Raceway for some good ol’ fashioned short track racing in the hopes of putting on an exciting race — something many fans are clamoring for after a dull month. Typically one of the more action-packed tracks on the schedule, Richmond has averaged 10.8 cautions since 2007 and last year's September race saw a total of 15 yellow flag periods.

Horsepower Rankings

NASCAR circuit "rips" into Chase for the Championship

by Matt Taliaferro

1. Jeff Gordon  The four-time champ has averaged a 3.25-place finish over the last month. Gordon is looking like the “Wonderboy” of old at just the right time.

2. Jimmie Johnson  It looks as if his biggest threat in the Chase may come from within — as in within Hendrick Motorsports in the form of the aforementioned Gordon. Haven’t we seen this movie before?

Exclude From Games: 
0
Two Right Sidebar Images
<p> Two of NASCAR's all-time greats — Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson — lead the list in Athlon Sports' weekly Horsepower Rankings.</p>

8. Ryan Newman  Newman continues to throw top 10s on the board — he was eighth at Richmond — but he must avoid the hiccup his team seems to have once every month if a title is to be won.

9. Kurt Busch  When you finish in the top 5 but receive more pub for your post-race antics, you know you’ve got some explaining and/or apologizing to do. When the cameras are on, of course.

10. Tony Stewart  Tony’s antics came on Friday and, like Busch, were because of a confrontation with reporters. When are these guys going to learn that life can be a lot easier when they’re on friendly terms with the media?

11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Somehow rebounded from a number of issues at RIR and snuck in the Chase. Sorry Junior Nation, but don’t expect much more.

12. Denny Hamlin  Led zero laps and finished ninth at one of his favorite tracks. That’s not a great sign.

13. AJ Allmendinger  AJ’s top-12 streak has hit five races in a row and he’s 13th in points. Not bad, young man.

14. Mark Martin  There’s still a little gas left in the tank, as Martin’s 10th-place finish in Richmond proved. Not bad, old man.

15. Jamie McMurray  This week will mark the start of “R&D Season” for McMurray and the Ganassi gang.

Just off the lead pack: Marcos Ambrose, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, David Ragan

Agree with Matt’s rankings? Disagree? Post a comment below and tell him how you feel. You can also follow Matt on Twitter

0