NASCAR at NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400
Richmond Raceway Distance: 300 miles (400 laps)
Sunday, April 3 3:30 p.m. ET TV: FOX, 3 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 230), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400) The Purse: $7,110,735
NASCAR Xfinity Series ToyotaCare 250
Richmond Raceway Distance: 187.5 miles (250 Laps)
Saturday, April 2 1:30 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 75), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 150), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250) The Purse: $1,453,684
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 Martinsville Speedway istance: 105.2 miles (200 Laps)
Thursday, April 7 8 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 50), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 100), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200) The Purse: $693,842
NASCAR Cup Series
Cup Series competitors ready for the Richmond Raceway short track
NASCAR’s Next Gen car has competed on superspeedways, intermediates, and road courses but this weekend is the first points-paying race on a short track, and not just any short track. The series heads to Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 (April 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) on the 0.75-mile Richmond Raceway.
The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season has been filled with stellar on-track competition producing six different winners in as many races; including three first-time winners (Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe and Ross Chastain). Plus, the series has seen four different driver point standings leaders through the first six races, with Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Chase Elliott currently out front.
This weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series prepares for the close, beating and banging racing the fans love at short tracks like Richmond. Originally known as the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, Richmond Raceway held its first race in 1946 as a half-mile dirt track.
The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway was held on April 19, 1953 and won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty in a Petty Enterprises Dodge with an average speed of 45.535 mph. The track surface was changed from dirt to asphalt between races in 1968. In total, Richmond Raceway has hosted the NASCAR Cup Series 130 times producing 55 different pole winners and 53 different race winners.
NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty (1961, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970 sweep, 1974, 1975) and Bobby Allison (1972 sweep, 1973 sweep, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1982) lead the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Richmond with eight each. Six of the 55 NASCAR Cup Series Richmond Raceway pole winners are active this weekend, led by Denny Hamlin (2006, 2008, 2016) and Kevin Harvick (2005, 2018, 2019) with three poles each.
Active Pole Winners Poles Season
1 Kevin Harvick 3 2019, 2018, 2005
2 Denny Hamlin 3 2016, 2008, 2006
3 Brad Keselowski 2 2019, 2014
4 Joey Logano 2 2015 sweep
5 Kyle Busch 1 2010
6 Martin Truex Jr 1 2018
NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Richmond Raceway with 13 victories (spring 1961, 1967 sweep, fall 1968, fall 1970, 1971 sweep, 1972 sweep, 1973 sweep, fall 1974 and spring 1975) – the third-most wins by a single driver at a single track in series history, behind his 15 wins at Martinsville and North Wilkesboro. Nine of the 53 NASCAR Cup Series Richmond Raceway winners are active this weekend, led by Kyle Busch with six victories (spring 2009, spring 2010, spring 2011, spring 2012, 2018 sweep). Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Alex Bowman is the defending winner of this weekend’s race at Richmond Raceway.
Active Race Winners Wins Season
1 Kyle Busch 6 2018 sweep, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
2 Denny Hamlin 3 2016, 2010, 2009
3 Kevin Harvick 3 2013, 2011, 2006
4 Martin Truex Jr 3 2021, 2019 sweep
5 Brad Keselowski 2 2020, 2014
6 Joey Logano 2 2017, 2014
7 Kurt Busch 2 2015, 2005
8 Alex Bowman 1 2021
9 Kyle Larson 1 2017
All the on-track action begins on Saturday, April 2 with practice from 10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. ET and immediately followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying from 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET. Both events will be broadcast on FS1.
First-time winners aplenty, who’s next?
Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain became the third first-time NASCAR Cup Series winner of the 2022 season (Austin Cindric, Daytona; Chase Briscoe, Phoenix) last weekend with his big victory at the Circuit of The Americas. The win makes 2022 the first time since 2001 the series has seen three first-time winners in the first six races of a season. Now with the series heading to Richmond Raceway this weekend for the Toyota Owners 400, what are the chances a fourth new winner is sitting in Victory Lane on Sunday? If a first-time winner takes the checkered flag this weekend at Richmond, the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season would become the first season in the Modern Era (1972-Present) with four or more first time winners in the first seven races of a season and just the third all-time; behind the series inaugural season in 1949 (six first-time winners) and its sophomore season in 1950 (five first-time winners).
The 1950 season holds the NASCAR Cup Series record for the most first-time winners in a single season with 12 different drivers getting their first win that year. The 2001, 2002 and 2011 seasons are tied for the series-most first-time winners in a single season in the Modern Era with five first-time winners each.
Richmond Raceway has been the home to five first-time winners in the NASCAR Cup Series with Kasey Kahne being the most recent to accomplish the feat in 2005.
Track First-Time Cup Winners Date
Richmond Kasey Kahne Saturday, May 14, 2005
Richmond Tony Stewart Saturday, September 11, 1999
Richmond Kyle Petty Sunday, February 23, 1986
Richmond Neil Bonnett Sunday, September 11, 1977
Richmond James Hylton Sunday, March 1, 1970
Looking at the field entered this weekend, there are 11 drivers looking for their first career Cup Series win – (alphabetical order by last name) Harrison Burton, Landon Cassill, Ty Dillon, Todd Gilliland, Corey Lajoie, Andy Lally, BJ McLeod, Tyler Reddick, Garrett Smithley, Daniel Suárez and Cody Ware.
Playoff Picture: Six different winners in as many races
Six different drivers have clicked their ticket to the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs this season, leaving just 10 spots still up for grabs as the series heads to Richmond Raceway for the Toyota Owners 400 on Sunday, April 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Currently, Hendrick Motorsport’s drivers Alex Bowman, William Byron and Kyle Larson, Team Penske’s Austin Cindric, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe and Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain are the six winners locked into the postseason.
At the other end of the Playoff outlook sits Daniel Suarez in the 16th and final Playoff transfer position, a mere seven points up on Petty GMS Motorsport’s driver Erik Jones in 17th; the first spot outside the postseason cutoff. Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon is 18th with 19 points between himself and Suárez.
Suárez has made nine starts at Richmond Raceway posting three top 10s. Jones has also made nine starts at 0.75-mile track posting one top-10 finish. Dillon has made 15 series starts at Richmond putting up one top-five and four top-10 finishes. In last season’s Richmond spring race, of the three, Dillon posted the best finish (10th) followed by Daniel Suárez (16th) and Erik Jones (19th).
Standings leader Chase Elliott still looking for first win of 2022
Hendrick Motorsports has three of its four drivers already locked into the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs on wins this season, and the odd man without a win yet is the current series’ driver standings leader Chase Elliott.
Elliott jumped to the standings lead following Atlanta and has since opened up his points lead to 13 over second place Ryan Blaney.
Elliott is off to a hot start this season. Though winless, Elliott has joined Ross Chastain as the only drivers this season to finish in the top-10 in four of the six races.
Looking to Richmond Raceway, Elliott has made 12 series starts posting four top fives and five top 10s. He also has a win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the 0.75-mile track as well (2015). He finished 12th in the Richmond Cup spring race and fourth in the Playoff race last season.
If Chase Elliott were to win the NASCAR Cup Series race this weekend at Richmond, the Elliotts would join the Pettys (Lee, Richard, Kyle), the Earnhardts (Dale and Dale Jr.), the Allisons (Bobby and Davey) and the Jarretts (Ned and Dale) as fifth father-son combo to win a Cup Series event at Richmond. NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott won at Richmond in 1992.
Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain is rising to the top
With his victory last weekend at the Circuit of The Americas, Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain became the third first-time winner this season and the 39th different driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s national series.
For the first time in his career Ross Chastain is locked into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs; his previous best finish in driver points in the series was 20th last season. Now the Florida native is ranked fifth in the driver points after posting series leading four top-five finishes (tied with Chase Elliott).
Chastain will look to keep the early season momentum going this weekend at Richmond Raceway. The 29-year-old has made six series starts at Richmond posting one top-10 finish. He finished 15th in last season’s Richmond spring race.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Next Gen sets back-to-back records in passes for the lead – The NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen car has put on quite the show so far this season. So much so, it is breaking records. For the second consecutive race this season the NASCAR Cup Series has set a new series record for total green flag passes for the lead on a particular track type.
Atlanta Motor Speedway produced a NASCAR Cup Series record for green flag passes for the lead on 1.5-mile tracks with 141 green flag passes for the lead. The previous record for green flag passes for the lead on a 1.5-mile track in the NASCAR Cup Series was held by Texas Motor Speedway with 57 green flag passes for the lead in 2019. Then last Sunday, Circuit of The Americas produced a NASCAR Cup Series record for green flag passes for the lead on road course tracks with 30 green flag passes for the lead. The previous record for total green flag passes for the lead on a road course in the NASCAR Cup Series was held by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course with 22 green flag passes for the lead in 2021.
Green flag passes for the lead is a Loop Data statistic that was created in 2007 and measures the number of lead changes throughout a green flag lap of competition.
Chris Long named honorary pace car driver at Richmond – Richmond Raceway announced this week that former National Football League (NFL) and University of Virginia player Chris Long will lead the field to green in his home state of Virginia as the Honorary Pace Car Driver for the Toyota Owners 400 on April 3.
Long, a native of Charlottesville, Va., played defensive end for the University of Virginia from 2004 to 2007. He was selected second overall in the 2008 NFL Draft and played eleven seasons for the St. Louis Rams (2008-2015), New England Patriots (2016) and Philadelphia Eagles (2017-2018).
New crew of Young Guns? – The average age of the six NASCAR Cup Series winners this season is 26.7 years old – with none of the six older than the age of 30 – Austin Cindric (23-year-old), Kyle Larson (29), Alex Bowman (28), Chase Briscoe (27), William Byron (24) and Ross Chastain (29).
The youthful winners are not only encapsulated in the Cup Series, the average age of winners in the NASCAR Xfinity Series is a sprightly 25.7 and the average age of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is 20.5.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Allmendinger hopes to build on Circuit of the Americas win at Richmond
After posting a top-10 finish in every race this season thus far, veteran NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger finally took home the checkered flag at the Pit Boss 250 in Austin, Texas. This win marked his first of the 2022 season, 11th of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career and his series record seventh road course win (previously at Road America-2013, 2019; Mid-Ohio- 2013,2021; Charlotte-2020,2021).
Allmendinger lived up to his road course reputation and led the pack for a race-high 27 of 46 laps at the 3.41-mile circuit last weekend. Finishing second was Xfinity Series rookie Austin Hill who earned his second consecutive runner-up finish. Not far behind was NASCAR Cup Series regular Cole Custer followed by JR Motorsport’s teammates Noah Gragson and Sam Mayer.
Ty Gibbs, hoping to snag his third Xfinity Series win this season, was battling it out with Allmendinger and Ross Chastain for the lead but after being forced to head to pit road on Lap 20, he wasn’t able to stay on top but still managed to work his way to a top-15 finish. Gibbs, who was the pole winner for the Pit Boss 250, currently finds himself in the third-place position in the point standings with 227 points. Allmendinger sits in second with 257, just one point shy of Gragson’s 258 points.
This weekend, they’ll all be back to compete in the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway on Saturday, April 2 at 1:30 p.m. ET. on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.
The on-track activity for the NASCAR Xfinity Series will begin with practice on Saturday, April 2 at 8:30 a.m. ET followed by qualifying at 9 a.m. ET both will be televised on FS1.
Richmond Raceway returns
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be heading to Virginia to compete at the .75-mile track, Richmond Raceway, this weekend for the ToyotaCare 250 on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. This will be the 76th Xfinity Series race at Richmond Raceway. The previous 75 Xfinity races at Richmond have produced 39 different pole winners and 37 different race winners.
Kevin Harvick leads the Xfinity Series at Richmond Raceway with the most wins (seven), top fives (18) and top 10s (21). Kyle Busch’s name is also written in the Richmond Raceway record books as he holds the qualifying record at 129.348 mph and has led a record 1,497 laps.
Only two former Xfinity Richmond winners are entered this weekend, JR Motorsports teammates Justin Allgaier with two wins (2020 sweep) and the current point standings leader Noah Gragson (2021).
Fans last saw Noah Gragson secure the victory by a margin of .381-second last season. His win in Richmond marked his second of the 2021 season, after having won at Darlington Raceway just the week before. Gragson went on to win one more time last season at Martinsville Speedway.
Dash 4 Cash: Who’s taking home the bonus $100,000?
The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash program was designed to add elements of unpredictability and drama leading up to and during four designated races, increase on-track competition, engage fans and reward / recognize NASCAR Xfinity Series regular competitors.
The first opportunity for drivers to win the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus will be this Saturday at Richmond Raceway. Last weekend’s race at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) was the first qualifier so we will be seeing AJ Allmendinger, Austin Hill, Noah Gragson and Sam Mayer dashing for their chance to win.
Of these four, Gragson is the only one with a NASCAR Xfinity Series Richmond Raceway win. He has also posted two top fives and four top 10s since he started competing at Richmond in 2018.
The series most recent winner (COTA), AJ Allmendinger, has made two series starts at Richmond putting up an average finish of 16.0.
Sam Mayer made his series track debut last season; he started 38th and raced his way up to a 12th-place finish.
Austin Hill will be making his series track debut at Richmond Raceway this weekend.
The winner and next three highest finishing full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers will qualify for the next event at Martinsville Speedway (April 8). The format will continue to Talladega Superspeedway (April 23) and Dover Motor Speedway (April 30).
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update – Things continue to look up for rookie Austin Hill as he has posted back-to-back runner-up finishes in Atlanta and COTA, proving that he is a strong contender in both race tracks and road courses. He currently has one win (Daytona), three top fives, three top 10s and 172 points in the standings.
Sheldon Creed also had a successful race in Austin as he posted a top-10 finish. In his six Xfinity Series starts this season, he was posted four top-10 finishes and has 149 points going into the race at Richmond Raceway.
Kyle Sieg and Jesse Iwuji did not compete at COTA this past weekend so they each are coming into the ToyotaCare 250 with 74 and 24 points, respectively.
JR Motorsports looks to tie Richard Childress Racing for most consecutive wins at Richmond – Currently Richard Childress Racing solely holds the record for the most consecutive wins at Richmond Raceway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with four straight (2005 fall, 2006 sweep, 2007 spring).
But this weekend, JR Motorsports, who have won the last three consecutive Xfinity races at Richmond Raceway, could tie RCR or the series-most consecutive wins at 0.75-mile track. JRM teammates, Justin Allgaier (2020 sweep) and Noah Gragson (2021) are the only former winners entered in this weekend ToyotaCare 250.
Rajah Caruth to attempt NASCAR national series debut at Richmond – This weekend in the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway, Alpha Prime Racing will field up-and-coming driver Rajah Caruth in his first attempt at a NASCAR national series race. Caruth will pilot the No. 44 Chevrolet with Dan Stillman as his crew chief.
Caruth is a prominent iRacer who has competed in the ARCA Menards Series East and also in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series. Most recently, Caruth is competing for a championship in the ARCA Menards Series with Rev Racing and Max Siegel. In two ARCA Menards Series starts this season, he has posted one top-five finish and ranked second in the series’ driver standings.
Caruth, a participant in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, hails from Atlanta, Georgia and while not in a race car, attends Winston-Salem State University pursuing a major in motorsports management.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
2022 Camping World Truck Series season is off to a fast start
The first four races of the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season have passed the eye-test producing side-by-side, action-packed competition, and it’s no surprise because the stats are backing up what the fans are seeing.
The first four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races of the 2022 season have produced an average of 16.75 lead changes per race – the most through the first four races of a Truck season since the inception of the series in 1995. Plus, the final lead change of each of the first four races this season have occurred with two laps or less in each event. With two of the four races this season concluding with a Margin of Victory of less than a second.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has seen 21 different drivers lead laps this season – the most through the first four races since 2005 (24). The first four races of the 2022 season have produced an average of nine different leaders per race – the most through four races since the inception of the series in 1995.
This weekend the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be off to regroup for next Thursday’s (April 7) Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 on the historically famous half-mile Martinsville Speedway at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Last season, the Truck Series only visited Martinsville Speedway once (October 30, 2021) and the race was won by Zane Smith, the series’ most recent winner (COTA).
Front Row Motorsport’s Zane Smith heads into off-week after a rallying win at COTA
Just when they needed a rallying win, Front Row Motorsport’s driver Zane Smith delivered.
After opening the season with a massive win at Daytona International Speedway, Zane Smith and the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford team thought the wind was at their backs for the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. Smith had locked the team into the Playoffs with the win in Daytona and he was atop the series driver point standings. But then the very next week, after another strong run that saw Smith cross the finish line in second at Las Vegas, the truck failed post-race inspection and the result was disqualified relegating him to a 36th-place finish.
The 36th at Las Vegas dropped Smith from the standings lead to 12th in points. Though it was a skid in the early season momentum, Smith was determined to rebound, and he did just that. At Atlanta the following weekend, he managed a fifth-place finish and then last weekend in the final restart he made a pass for the lead to take the win, becoming the first multiple winner of the 2022 season (Daytona, COTA).
It was Smith’s fifth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory and Front Row Motorsport’s second consecutive team win at Circuit of The Americas (Todd Gilliland, 2021). Smith is now back up to fourth in the driver points standings just 31 points behind Chandler Smith in the standings lead.
Smith not only gets an extra week to soak in the spoils of his win at COTA, but he also is the latest series winner of next week’s track – Martinsville Speedway. Smith won the Playoff race at the historic half-mile last season to earn his spot in the Championship 4 Round of the Playoffs.
Back-to-back short tracks on tap for Camping World Trucks
After a superspeedway (Daytona), two 1.5-mile tracks (Las Vegas and Atlanta) and a road course (COTA) the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will head to back-to-back varying short tracks (Martinsville Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt) when the series returns to action next Thursday (April 7) for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 at Martinsville Speedway (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Last season the Trucks only visited Martinsville Speedway once and it was quite the show with 10 different lead changes among four drivers. It looked to be Todd Gilliland’s race to win after leading 133 of the scheduled 204 laps but Zane Smith passed him on the final lap to take the checkered flag and earn a spot in the Playoff’s Championship 4 Round.
The Camping World Truck Series Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt race was a spectacle unto itself. The event produced 11 lead changes among six drivers, and it was NASCAR Cup Series veteran Martin Truex Jr. driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports that scored the win. It was his first in the series.
Youth Movement: Average age of Truck Series winners this season is 20.5
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is known for being a mix of young, up-and-coming stars and steely veterans battling it out each week, but this season the youngsters of the series have been stealing the spotlight early with the average age of the three different winners in the first four races of the year at 20.5.
Front Row Motorsport’s 22-year-old, Zane Smith, has two Camping World Truck Series wins this season at Daytona and at the Circuit of The Americas. The other two Truck Series races this year have been won by a pair of 19-year-olds – Kyle Busch Motorsport’s teammates Chandler Smith at Las Vegas and Corey Heim at Atlanta.
In fact, this current streak of drivers under the age of 30 winning consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races dates back to Nashville Superspeedway of last season – a total of 14 consecutive races since a driver the age of 30 or older last won in the series – Ryan Preece at 30 years, seven months, 24 days.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
Sunoco Rookie Update: Lawless Alan jumps to rookie standings lead – Niece Motorsport’s driver Lawless Alan’s 11th-place finish at Circuit of The Americas catapulted him to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings lead.
Alan, from Van Nuys, California, is in first full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and his 11th-place finish at COTA was the best of his series career.
Alan is now eight points up on Kyle Busch Motorsport’s Corey Heim in second in the rookie standings; followed by Jack Wood (-15), Dean Thompson (-18) and Blaine Perkins (-42).
Jessica Friesen announces Truck Series return with Halmar Friesen Racing – It’s official. Jessica Friesen will return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and compete in the two dirt races on the schedule, the Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt on April 16th and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race at Knoxville Raceway on June 18th.
Friesen will compete alongside her husband and teammate, Stewart Friesen (No. 52 Halmar Friesen Racing Toyota), in the No. 62 Halmar Friesen Racing Toyota with crew chief Trip Bruce on top the pit box.
Jessica Friesen made her NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut last season at Knoxville Raceway; she started 25th and finished 26th.
“I’m pumped to get another shot with the truck on the dirt,” said Jessica Friesen. “I am beyond grateful to Halmar International and Chris Larsen for believing in Stewart and I, in this team, and in our family.”
Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR