The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series goes short track racing this weekend with the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. It’s their first points-paying event at this track type this season, a full two months after rolling out their new Next Gen chassis at the exhibition L.A. Clash at the Coliseum.
This race is expected to play out much differently at an oval that often acts like an intermediate. Richmond’s multiple grooves and sweeping corners provide plenty of room for side-by-side action. It produces the most raw speed of any short track on the circuit, putting tire wear front and center in a season that’s already produced five wheels falling off during race conditions.
One man who isn’t slowing down? Ryan Blaney. Team Penske’s young talent produced his third pole in seven races Saturday, edging William Byron for the top spot at Richmond by .036 seconds. It’s an impressive performance at a track that’s produced Blaney’s worst average finish (22.2) of any Cup facility where he’s made at least three career starts.
Only 37 cars showed up for the Richmond race, leaving three empty spots on the 40-car grid. The 36 teams guaranteed a position were joined by NY Racing’s No. 44 and driver Greg Biffle. MBM Motorsports, Team Hezeberg, and The Money Team Racing all chose to skip this event after running Circuit of The Americas last week.
1. Ryan Blaney
2. William Byron
3. Kyle Busch
4. Chase Briscoe
5. Erik Jones
6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Ross Chastain
9. Christopher Bell
10. Aric Almirola
11. Joey Logano
12. Cole Custer
13. Denny Hamlin
14. Daniel Suarez
15. Chase Elliott
16. Tyler Reddick
17. Harrison Burton (R)
18. Chris Buescher
19. Brad Keselowski
20. Austin Cindric
21. Kyle Larson
22. Todd Gilliland (R)
23. Landon Cassill (i)
24. Michael McDowell
25. Austin Dillon
26. AJ Allmendinger (i)
27. Kurt Busch
28. Alex Bowman
29. Bubba Wallace
30. Ty Dillon
31. Corey LaJoie
32. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
|33. Cody Ware
34. BJ McLeod
35. JJ Yeley (i)
36. Justin Haley
37. Greg Biffle
(R) – Rookie
(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points
Pre-Race Inspection Failures
The following teams lost a crew member due to pre-race inspection failures.
- No. 3 Richard Childress Racing (Austin Dillon)
- No. 16 Kaulig Racing (AJ Allmendinger)
- No. 17 RFK Racing Ford (Chris Buescher)
- No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota (Bubba Wallace)
- No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.)
The following teams failed three times, were prevented from qualifying, and must serve a pass-through penalty when the race begins.
- No. 31 Kaulig Racing (Justin Haley)
- No. 44 NY Racing (Greg Biffle)
- Ryan Blaney (1st) scored his third pole of the season and ninth of his career. It’s also his first ever at a track less than one mile in length.
- William Byron (2nd) is the highest-qualifying Chevrolet as the driver seeks his first career Cup short track win.
- Kyle Busch (3rd) is the best-starting Toyota. He’s one of four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers who all qualified within the top 13.
- Erik Jones (5th) has his second top-5 qualifying effort of the season. He had zero in his previous two years of Cup racing before 2022.
- Martin Truex Jr. (6th) is the most recent winner at Richmond (last fall).
- Harrison Burton (17th) is the highest-qualifying rookie in the field.
- Landon Cassill (23rd) replaces Josh Bilicki in the Spire Motorsports No. 77. Bilicki is running a limited schedule in the car this season.
- Alex Bowman (28th) is the defending winner of this Richmond race.
- JJ Yeley (35th) replaces Joey Hand in the Rick Ware Racing No. 15 Ford. Yeley is making his first Cup start of the year while running full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for MBM Motorsports.
- Greg Biffle (37th) returns with the No. 44 of NY Racing after the team skipped Circuit of the Americas last weekend.
NASCAR Race Breakdown
Race: Toyota Owners 400
Track: Richmond Raceway
Date: Sunday, April 3
TV: FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400 laps (300 miles)
Stage 1: 80 Laps
Stage 2: 155 Laps
Final Stage: 165 Laps
Christopher Bell makes a right turn from Circuit of Americas right into the Frontstretch Podcast and host Davey Segal. Bell talks about the struggles of Joe Gibbs Racing early on in 2022 before Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier drops by to preview the upcoming weekend at his 0.75-mile short track.
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