Toyota Owners 400 Race Preview – Predictions to Win

Toyota Owners 400 Predictions to Win
Date: Sunday April 24th, 2016
Track: Richmond International Raceway
Time: 1 pm ET

by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper,

Bristol proved to be a menace to much of the field, including Kyle Busch, but Carl Edwards managed to dominate the day and drive away with the win. If nothing else, right front tires were the culprit for Goodyear this past weekend. They were the reason the day ended for many drivers, including both Busch and Matt Kenseth, both of whom had very good cars throughout their runs. Overall, Bristol proved to live up to its caution-counts, with an enormous amount of yellows by the end of the day. Shockingly, Dale Jr. started the troubles at the very beginning of the race with an issue with his ECU, causing his car to lose power and not take off. The field stacked up, and Jr. lost 2 laps correcting the problem. Amazingly enough, Jr. made a comeback to finish 2nd for the second week in a row. This weekend, hes looking for the win.

We continue our short track trek this weekend as we head back to Virginia to see the drivers battle it out at Richmond International Raceway. RIR is another favorite, mostly because Ive been there more times than I can count, but it truly is another exciting race. This track doesnt have the banking that Bristol does, but its slightly bigger than Martinsville and Bristol. The action here is just as awesome as the other short tracks. The difference is that Richmond offers a little more opportunity to pull away from the field than the typical short tracks.

Richmond is a mile D-shaped asphalt track. The turns boast 14 degree banking, with 8 degrees on the frontstretch and 2 degrees on the backstretch. This track is older than most tracks on the circuit. Martinsville has history dating back to the 50s, but Richmond actually opened its gates in 1946, mostly as a Fairgrounds for the State. The most challenging thing about Richmond is track position. While tires are always important on short tracks, we see that qualifying up front and staying out front is what it takes to win this race. Additionally, fuel mileage tends to rear its head here as well. Watch for the drivers who qualify the best to be your biggest contenders.

Interesting side note, Tony Stewart is returning to his car this weekend. As much as Id like to root for the veteran and say that he will do well, I dont think that he will make a resounding comeback, unfortunately. Dale Jr. is going to be one to watch here. Coming in fresh off 2 second place finishes, hes going to be hungry to actually get that win and solidify a spot in the Chase. Hes going to have a lot of competition, though. Drivers like Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and the Busch brothers have a lot of experience and wins to back them up. Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth won the last 2 races here. Penske drivers swept the year before that. Overall, I really think that Jr. is going to give everyone something to chase this weekend. He hasnt won here since 06, and I think that hes due. Hes synching pretty well with his crew chief and team and seems to consistently be a contender. Lets take a look at your potential winners this weekend at Richmond.

My Pick to Win: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Middle of the Road Pick: Clint Bowyer
Dark Horse Prediction: Ryan Blaney. Bet your pick using your credit card and get a massive 50% bonus at Bovada Sportsbook!

Blaney was impressive to say the least at Bristol. This kid is talented and clearly shows that by being competitive with all of the veterans over the last few weeks. It will be a long haul to prove, but Blaney has a win coming his way eventually. Richmond may just be the place he can get it. Clint Bowyer has multiple wins at Richmond and can definitely manage RIR like a pro. Hes got some ground to make up and Richmond will be the perfect opportunity to prove that hes still a force to be reckoned with. The points situation is heating up, so all of these drivers need to step up their game.

Here are your current top 16 after last week’s race:

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Carl Edwards
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Joey Logano
5. Kyle Busch
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7. Kurt Busch
8. Brad Keselowski
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Martin Truex Jr.
11. Austin Dillon
12. Chase Elliot
13. Jamie McMurray
14. AJ Allmendinger
15. Kasey Kahne
16. Ryan Newman

Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch lead the field with 2 wins each. There are still 10 drivers in the top 16 without wins. Those guys are certainly going to make a show of each race to come to try and solidify their spot in the Chase. Richmond is sure to ring out the competition, as do all short tracks, although I do believe we will see one driver dominate and pull away from the field. Hopefully, Jr. can go ahead and do that to show that hes not consistently the first loser. I think hes got the motivation and hopefully the car to do it this weekend. Stay tuned as we head to RIR for the first scheduled day race here since 1997. For those looking for MORE wagering options than you’ll find elsewhere such as driver vs. driver matchups, qualifying and odds to win the race, check out 5Dimes!