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.

byT. Walker| UPDATED May 19, 2018 1:29 AM
Preview: The Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Cup Race at Richmond Raceway

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

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., Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

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.

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., Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

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.