NASCAR heads to Richmond for its second short track in as many weeks as the sport comes to terms with the announcement its most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is retiring at the end of the season.
Junior may be known for his restrictor-plate prowess but he’s had success at Richmond (three wins) and Phoenix (three wins), two tracks which are very similar in terms of setup and banking. Earnhardt is one of multiple drivers who’ve had success at both tracks along with Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
The Toyota teammates own the two highest driver ratings at the 0.75-mile track since 2005 and have multiple wins there. It’s no surprise they are among the favorites to win on Sunday (2 p.m. ET, Fox).
What are the Las Vegas odds for the NASCAR race at Richmond?
Here are the race odds according to the Westgate Sportsbook:
Key stats to know for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond
— The pole starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners than any other starting position at Richmond (24).
— The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Richmond is 31st, by Clint Bowyer in the spring of 2008.
— Just under 80 percent (78.5) of Cup races at Richmond have been won from a top-10 starting position.
— Jimmie Johnson is the only active driver with consecutive wins at Richmond which could be bad news for last fall’s winner Denny Hamlin, who has led the most laps (1,594) at the Virginia facility among active drivers.
Who are the sleepers to win the NASCAR race at Richmond?
Clint Bowyer wheeled his way to a runner-up finish Monday at Bristol — his best showing since placing second at Richmond in 2013. The Virginia track is one of Bowyer’s top layouts. In 22 starts, he owns two wins, four top fives and 12 top 10s.
Although Jamie McMurray leads the series among active drivers with the most Cup Series starts at Richmond without visiting victory lane at 28, he’s been driving well there of late. Over the past seven races at Richmond, McMurray owns a 8.71 average finish.
Which drivers are best for fantasy NASCAR in Richmond?
Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in the Cup Series in average finishing position at Richmond with a 6.95 and is our pick to win on Sunday. The younger Busch brother owns the top average finish (7.0), driver rating (110.8), along with the second-best average running position (7.7) at Richmond among active drivers. He led 78 laps in last year’s spring race only to have teammate Carl Edwards dump him for the win off Turn 4.
Ryan Newman won last month’s race in Phoenix and has had success on Richmond’s similar layout. Newman has one win to go along with 16 top 10s and the fifth-best average finish among active drivers at Richmond in his career.
Looking to save salary when setting a driver lineup? Add Ty Dillon. who finished 15th at Phoenix and Bristol on Monday. He’s never drove a Cup Series race at Richmond but he does have six top 10s in eight career Xfinity Series races there.
Also worth adding to save salary is Trevor Bayne. who is off to a hot start to the season and heads to his sixth-best track according to career average finish.