Preview: The Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Cup Race at Richmond Raceway

Short track racing brings out the best or worst in a driver. What we will see at the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway is anyone's guess.

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Drama and “short tempers” are just a couple descriptors of the experience of short track racing. As we move on from one of NASCAR’s premier short tracks—the .533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway—it's time to turn our attention to one of the most popular venues on the circuit. This week, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is racing at Richmond Raceway for the Toyota Owners 400, and it's essentially a lock for top-grade entertainment.

On the 10th commemoration of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch wreck at Richmond, we revisited one of the most infamous incidents at the .75-mile course thanks to Jeff Gluck’s “An Oral History of the 2008 Richmond Spring Race.” Gluck’s article was the catalyst for a recent sit down between Dale Jr. and Busch that led to fans being treated to a rare look at what started their epic feud and how both drivers felt about each other for the past decade. Can you say, "drama?"

There is nothing like a short track race under the lights. Heading into Richmond, Busch is coming off back-to-back wins. If he wins his third consecutive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race this season, it will be interesting to see if he is cheered or booed. Now that he has seemingly put the past and his temper (at least regarding Dale Jr.) behind him, will NASCAR Nation finally forgive him?

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule for Richmond Raceway:

Toyota Owners 400 (Follow live)
The Place: Richmond Raceway
The Date: Saturday, April 21, 2018.
The Time: Approximately 6:30 p.m. EST
TV: Fox
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (400 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 100), Stage 2 (Ends on lap 200), Final Stage (Ends on lap 400)

Press Pass (Watch live)
Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race: 9:30 p.m. EST

Starting Lineup

(Position, Driver, Manufacturer, Speed)

1. Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 123.859, Busch pole winner
2. Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 123.621
3. Joey Logano, Ford, 123.581
4. Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 123.542
5. Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 123.22
6. Kurt Busch, Ford, 122.9
7. Erik Jones, Toyota, 122.872
8. Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 122.828
9. William Byron, Chevrolet, 122.811
10. Kevin Harvick, Ford, 122.805
11. Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 122.733
12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 122.399
13. Ryan Blaney, Ford, 123.063
14. Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 122.85
15. David Ragan, Ford, 122.85
16. Clint Bowyer, Ford, 122.845
17. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 122.783
18. Darrell Wallace Jr., Chevrolet, 122.777
19. Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 122.538
20. Paul Menard, Ford, 122.51
21. Trevor Bayne, Ford, 122.438
22. Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 122.388
23. Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 122.355
24. Michael McDowell, Ford, 122.222
25. Aric Almirola, Ford, 122.968
26. Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 122.934
27. Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 122.772
28. Brad Keselowski, Ford, 122.722
29. Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 122.688
30. Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 122.644
31. Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 122.377
32. Kyle Busch, Toyota, 122.344
33. A.J. Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 122.266
34. Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 121.655
35. Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 121.425
36. Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 121
37. Reed Sorenson, Toyota, 119.745
38. Harrison Rhodes, Chevrolet, 119.707

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

RICHMOND, VA—APRIL 20: Clint Bowyer, driver of the #14 Ford Hall Of Fans Ford, talks with Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Mobil 1 Ford, during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway.

Past 10 Winners at Texas Motor Speedway

(Year, Driver, Manufacturer)

2008, Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet
2009, Kyle Busch, Toyota
2010, Kyle Busch, Toyota
2011, Kyle Busch, Toyota
2012, Kyle Busch, Toyota
2013, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet
2014, Joey Logano, Ford
2015, Kurt Busch, Chevrolet
2016, Carl Edwards, Toyota
2017, Joey Logano, Ford

The past 10 winners above represent the first race of the year at Richmond Raceway. The Monster Energy Cup Series races at Richmond Raceway twice a year.

Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

RICHMOND, VA—APRIL 20: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet, waits by his car during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway.

Some History

When you look at the past 10 winners at Richmond, veteran drivers have dominated—talking about both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and the Xfinity Series. Aside from Chase Elliott winning the Xfinity race at Richmond in 2015 and Kyle Larson winning both a Cup and Xfinity race at Richmond in 2017, it has been all about the vets.

Kyle Busch is a four-time Cup winner and a six-time Xfinity winner at Richmond. Hamlin, who has three Cup wins at Richmond, also has three Xfinity wins at the .75 mile, D-shaped track. Kevin Harvick has just as many Cup wins as Hamlin with three, but he has more Xfinity victories than both Kyle Busch and Hamlin with seven.

If you're wanting predictions, Kyle Busch is looking likely for the win again this week. Our alternative or young gun pick (not a dark horse) is Larson. By now, he should have tired from all those second-place finishes. If so, I think he can win or at least end as the runner-up to Kyle Busch.

Think we got our picks right? Think they're totally out of left-field? Drop a line below and we'll get the discussion going. Otherwise, tune in Saturday afternoon for race results of the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway.