Race: Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400
Track: Richmond International Raceway
Date: Saturday May 3, 2008
Time: 7:00 pm ET
This weekend, were headed to Richmond International Raceway. This could be quite possibly one of my favorite races, although I may be a little biased since I live here in Virginia. Either way, its a great race no matter how you look at it. Its the only three-quarter mile track on the schedule and one of the most exciting races to watch. Coming off Talladega this past weekend, it will be difficult to pass the excitement factor, but if any track can do it, its this great short track here in the heart of the Commonwealth.
RIR is a mile D-shaped oval track with the highest seating capacity next to Bristol for a short-track race. That should tell you something right there. Theres 14 degree banking in the turns and eight degrees along the front stretch and 2 degrees in the backstretch. Richmond is notorious for its rivalries, even those among teammates like Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. Its a no-holds-bar kind of track. Team work may get you through the race, but it certainly means little when those checkers come out.
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Clearly Hendrick teams have something to say at this track. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are known for the past few years to run side by side straight to the finish, usually with Johnson having the edge. Gordon knows his stuff here, though, too. We should also keep our eyes out for Dale Jr. Although he hasnt won yet this year, hes been consistent. RIR is actually the last place that he won a Cup race, so this track is good to him as well. Others like Denny Hamlin, as this is his home track, as well as Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart all have a shot as well. Stewart is a great short track driver and can never be counted out. Hamlin has a good record here as well. Harvick has been pretty consistent this year, so hes still in the game.
If I had to give you one to choose, Id bank on Jimmie Johnson. Hes won the last two spring races here and also took the pole last year too.
One other consideration here, unlike most short tracks, is starting position. It seems to play a huge role here at Richmond for some reason or another. With the exception of Matt Kenseth back in 2002, no driver has won this race starting from outside the top ten in the past 7 years. Thats something to consider when making your bets. Although they havent qualified yet, Id tell you to look at qualifying positions before you throw down your money. If Johnson qualifies within the top ten, which isnt a far stretch of the imagination, Id go ahead and go with him.
So, before you go and place your bets, watch qualifying tomorrow on SPEED at 5:30 pm eastern time because thats where the best indication of the winner is going to come from in my opinion.
Heres a recap of your top twelve as of Talladega:
1. Jeff Burton
2. Kyle Busch
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Greg Biffle
9. Tony Stewart
10. Carl Edwards
11. Ryan Newman
12. Juan Montoya
Good luck to everyone this week and look for my recap on Monday!