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NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Richmond Raceway

NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Toyota Owners 400
The Place: Richmond Raceway
The Date: Sunday, April 18
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (400 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 235), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Ag-Pro 300
The Place: Talladega Superspeedway
The Date: Saturday, April 24
The Time: 4 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 3:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300.58 miles (113 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 25), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 50), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 113)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: ToyotaCare 250
The Place: Richmond Raceway
The Date: Saturday, April 17
The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 187.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 140), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)

NASCAR Cup Series

Richmond Raceway readies for the NASCAR Cup Series

Richmond Raceway has been known by several different names and has been reconfigured several times over the years of its existence, but all the while it has been a staple on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule since 1953. This weekend’s race, the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 (April 18 at 3 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is looking to add the historic prestige that Richmond has built over the decades of great on-track competition and with how this season has been shaking out it shouldn’t disappoint.

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 the event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty in a Petty Enterprises Dodge with an average speed of 45.535 mph.

From 1953 to 1968, the NASCAR Cup Series and Richmond Raceway hosted 24 races on dirt. The track surface was changed from dirt to asphalt between races in 1968. The track name was changed to Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway in 1969 and the track was re-measured to 0.542-mile in 1970.

It wasn’t until following the February 21, 1988 NASCAR Cup Series race that Richmond Raceway was rebuilt as a three-quarters-mile D-shaped oval that we know today.

In 1999, International Speedway Corporation (now NASCAR) purchased the raceway and surrounding property. It was the first season with both Cup races as night races and the track was renamed to Richmond International Raceway.

In 2017, the track underwent $30 million in renovations to upgrade the amenities for the fans and in the process changed the name of the track to Richmond Raceway.

In total, there have been 128 NASCAR Cup Series races at Richmond Raceway, one event from 1953 – 1958 and two races per year since 1959 to 2019. Due to the pandemic, the series only raced at Richmond once in 2020.

The 128 NASCAR Cup Series races at Richmond Raceway have produced 55 different pole winners and 52 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. Denny Hamlin (2006, 2008 and 2016) leads all active pole winners at Richmond Raceway with three poles; followed by Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick with two each.

Of the 52 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers that have won at Richmond Raceway, nine are active this weekend. 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. Joe Gibbs Racing’s driver Kyle Busch leads all active competitors in wins at Richmond with six victories.

Active NASCAR Cup Series Richmond Raceway Winners

Active Winners (9) Wins Seasons
Kyle Busch 6 2018 sweep, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
Denny Hamlin 3 2016, 2010, 2009
Kevin Harvick 3 2013, 2011, 2006
Brad Keselowski 2 2020, 2014
Joey Logano 2 2017, 2014
Kurt Busch 2 2015, 2005
Martin Truex Jr 2 2019 sweep
Kyle Larson 1 2017
Ryan Newman 1 2003

This weekend’s TOYOTA OWNERS 400 will be 400 laps (300 miles in length) and will be broken up into three stages. The first stage will be 80 laps, the second stage will be 155 laps and the final stage will be 160 laps.

The starting lineups were decided by Metric Qualifying for this weekend’s Richmond event. Last weekend’s Martinsville winner and Joe Gibbs Racing’s driver Martin Truex Jr. will start from the pole and his teammate Denny Hamlin will join him on the front row.

Beatin’ & Bangin’: Short track specialists to watch this weekend

Since the first NASCAR Cup Series season in 1949, short tracks – a track less than a mile in length – have graced the competitive schedule and been part of the fabric that makes up the sport.

NASCAR Hall of Famer, aptly nicknamed ‘The King,’ Richard Petty scored 138 of his record 200 NASCAR Cup Series victories on short tracks – the series-most short-track wins all-time. He also holds the record for the most wins at a single NASCAR Cup Series track posting 15 victories at last weekend’s venue – Martinsville Speedway. Petty also has 13 wins at this weekend’s short track, Richmond Raceway (third-most all-time at a single track).

Among the active drivers this weekend, 10 have posted wins on short tracks in the NASCAR Cup Series, led by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch with 16 short track Cup victories; including six at Richmond. Team Penske’s Joey Logano is the only driver to win at all four of the currently active short tracks on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule with his victory two weeks ago on the Bristol Dirt.

Short Track Winners Total Wins Martinsville Richmond Bristol Bristol Dirt
Kyle Busch 16 2 6 8 0
Denny Hamlin 10 5 3 2 0
Kurt Busch 10 2 2 6 0
Brad Keselowski 7 2 2 3 0
Kevin Harvick 7 1 3 3 0
Joey Logano 6 1 2 2 1
Martin Truex Jr 5 3 2 0 0
Ryan Newman 2 1 1 0 0
Chase Elliott 1 1 0 0 0
Kyle Larson 1 0 1 0 0

Seven of the 10 active NASCAR Cup Series short track winners entered this weekend are looking for their first victory of 2021, and six of the seven are former winners at Richmond – Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman and the most recent winner at Richmond Raceway, Brad Keselowski.

Interestingly, none of the active NASCAR Cup Series drivers entered this weekend have won in all three NASCAR national series at Richmond, but six have won in both the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the 0.75-mile track – Kyle Busch (NCS, six wins; NXS, six wins), Kevin Harvick (NCS, three wins; NXS, seven wins), Denny Hamlin (NCS, three wins; NXS, three wins), Brad Keselowski (NCS, two wins; NXS, four wins), Kurt Busch (NCS, two wins; NXS, one win) and Kyle Larson (NCS, one win; NXS, one win).

Three other Cup drivers entered this weekend have just won in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Richmond Raceway – Hendrick Motorsport’s Chase Elliott has one win (2015), Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell has three wins (2018 sweep, 2019) and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer also has one win (2019).

Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski is the defending winner of last season’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway; his seventh career short track win. In total, Keselowski has made 22 series starts at Richmond posting two poles, two wins (2014, 2020), six top fives and 12 top 10s.

Dependable Denny (Hamlin) heads to Richmond riding a streak of top fives

The NASCAR Cup Series driver standings leader, Denny Hamlin, is sitting on a mountain of points (+76) over his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. in second after Hamlin put up seven top fives in the first eight races of the season. Now the Chesterfield, Virginia native is riding a streak of five top-five finishes heading into this weekend at Richmond Raceway. If he scores another top five this weekend at Richmond, he will tie his Cup career’s longest streak of consecutive top fives at six straight.

In 2019, Hamlin when strung together two wins and six top fives from the 19th race through the 24th race of that year (Kentucky, New Hampshire, Pocono, Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol), the longest streak of consecutive top-five finishes in his career.

This season, Hamlin leads the series points heading to Richmond, but is still looking for his first win of the year. In eight starts in 2021, Hamlin leads the series in laps led (487), top-five and top-10 finishes (seven each) and is tied for the most stage wins (three).

Richmond Raceway is not only one of Hamlin’s home tracks, but also one of his best. He has made 28 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Richmond posting three poles, three wins, 13 top fives and 17 top 10s. He also has the second-best average finish (9.2) at the 0.75-mile track among active e drivers behind his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch’s 6.7.

Brad Keselowski looks to make it two-in-a-row at Richmond

Looking to get his first win of the season, Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski, the defending winner of the most recent race at Richmond Raceway is looking to add his name to the list of NASCAR Cup Series drivers that have own consecutive races at historic 0.75-mile facility.

A total of 11 different drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series have posted consecutive wins at Richmond Raceway. NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in consecutive Cup wins at Richmond with seven consecutive victories from the fall race of 1970 to the fall race of 1973.

  1. Joe Weatherly (1962-1963)
  2. David Pearson (1965, 1966 sweep)
  3. Richard Petty (1970, 1971 sweep, 1972 sweep, 1973 sweep)
  4. Cale Yarborough (1976-1977)
  5. Bobby Allison (1982, 1983 sweep)
  6. Dale Earnhardt (1987 sweep, 1990-1991)
  7. Rusty Wallace (1989 sweep)
  8. Terry Labonte (1994-1995)
  9. Jimmie Johnson (2007 sweep)
  10. Kyle Busch (2018 sweep)
  11. Martin Truex Jr. (2019 sweep)

Two active drivers, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., are the most recent competitors to win consecutive races at Richmond and scribe their names on the list.

Keselowski has made 22 series starts at Richmond posting two poles, two wins (2014, 2020), six top fives and 12 top 10s.

Local Angle: Spotlighting team members from Virginia

It takes a lot of different people from all over the country to make a NASCAR event run with the precision we have all come to enjoy. This weekend, we turn the spotlight on team members from Virginia and a snapshot of their responsibilities.

Team Member Hometown Organization Car No. At-Track Responsibilities
David Jones Roanoke, VA Starcom racing 00 Car Chief
Scott Woodfin Colonial Heights, VA Chip Ganassi Racing 1 Hauler Driver
Stephen Price Lynchburg, VA Chip Ganassi Racing 1 Rear Tire Changer
Ethan Tingler Radford, VA Richard Childress Racing 3 Rear Tire Changer
Cliff Daniels Smithfield, VA Hendrick Motorsports 5 Crew Chief
Chris Haymaker Moneta, VA Hendrick Motorsports 9 Front-End Mechanic
Tony Bove Burlington, VA Hendrick Motorsports 9 Engine Tuner
Joe White Windsor, VA Stewart-Haas Racing 14 Spotter
Keith Eads Arlington, VA Stewart-Haas Racing 14 Tire Specialist
DeWayne Zirkle (Ryder) Roanoke, VA Roush Fenway Racing 17 Hauler Driver/Front Tire Catcher
Jonathan Salmons Bassett, VA Roush Fenway racing 17 Engine Tuner
Bradley Donaghy Orange, VA Joe Gibbs Racing 19 Tire Carrier
Jeff Curtis Fairfax Station, VA Joe Gibbs Racing 19 Lead Engineer
Chris Jones Smith Mountain Lake, VA Joe Gibbs Racing 20 Front End Mechanic
Chris Sherwood Portsmouth, VA Joe Gibbs Racing 20 Car Chief
Bryan Goodman Midlothian, VA Front Row Motorsports 34 Engine Tuner
Bradley Sisson King George, VA Richard Petty Motorsports 43 Social Media Manager/Hospitality
James (J.P.) Kelley Luray, VA TrackHouse Racing 99 Gasman, Pit Department Foreman
Lamar Neal Virginia Beach, VA TrackHouse Racing 99 Tire Carrier

 NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Richmond Raceway, Virginia State University Create eSports Management Pilot Program – Richmond Raceway and Virginia State University announce a pilot program to evolve the track’s current eSports team and offer new opportunities to historically black colleges and university (HBCU) students interested in careers in sports management. Through this strategic alliance, Richmond Raceway eSports fueled by Sunoco operations will be managed in partnership with Virginia State University’s Department of Sport Management.

“We’re ambitious that this pilot program can become a tool to connect with HBCUs across the country, as well as cultivate diverse talent,” said Brandon Thompson, vice president of diversity and inclusion, NASCAR. “As NASCAR continues to strengthen its diversity and inclusion platform, partnerships with schools like Virginia State University will exemplify our creative approach to reach the next generation of sports leaders.”

As part of an expanded relationship with Richmond Raceway, the first-of-its-kind program will teach students how to manage an eSports team competing at the highest level of sim-racing. Richmond Raceway eSports fueled by Sunoco, which is competing in its fourth season in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, will continue to field two cars driven by Jimmy Mullis (No. 46 Sunoco Toyota Camry) and Zack Novak (No. 90 Virginia Tourism Corporation Toyota Camry), as they compete for the largest purse in series history – totaling $330,000.

“We are proud to partner with Virginia State University on the evolution of Richmond Raceway eSports fueled by Sunoco to become a program that will educate and grow the future leaders of the sport on and off the track,” said Richmond Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier. “Our eSports program continues to resonate with a new generation of race fans, so we look forward to Virginia State University leading the program to new heights in the future.”

Through this initiative, NASCAR will welcome a Virginia State University student intern to manage the program and coordinate with students in the sports marketing department to fulfill curriculum requirements and experiential projects involving team operations, graphic design, social media marketing, live event coordination and more.

“VSU is dedicated to using a holistic approach to academic excellence and student success and engagement,” says VSU President Dr. Makola M. Abdullah. “This partnership will help to meet our goals of providing our students with leadership and professional development skills and experiential learning to further prepare them to be globally competitive.”

For more information on the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, visit www.eNASCAR.com..

Darlington Raceway Rolls with Goodyear for the Goodyear 400 on May 9 – Darlington Raceway and Goodyear announce a partnership on the entitlement of the spring NASCAR Cup Series race as part of the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR on May 9. The official name of the race will be the Goodyear 400.

“Goodyear is one of the most iconic brands in the history of motorsports, so we are proud to welcome them back to Darlington Raceway for the Goodyear 400,” said Darlington President Kerry Tharp. “Goodyear has been a part of many monumental moments in Darlington Raceway’s storied history. We look forward to writing a new chapter with Goodyear as part of the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR.”

Goodyear has a rich history at Darlington Raceway as it conducted its first official NASCAR tire tests at the track in 1954 and earned its first NASCAR victory in the 1959 Southern 500® with driver Jim Reed.

In support of the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR, Goodyear will once again replace the yellow “Eagle” logo on the sidewalls of its racing tires with a vintage “Blue Streak” sidewall design. In keeping with the race weekend’s throwback theme, the Blue Streak tires will include white Goodyear lettering and a white logo that reflect the design of NASCAR tires used in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The Blue Streaks were phased out in 1981 as Goodyear’s racing tires moved to the “Eagle” design.

“Goodyear is honored to be a part of the Official Throwback Weekend, a tradition that drivers and fans look forward to each year,” said Karen Maroli, Goodyear’s vice president of marketing. “Goodyear and NASCAR have a shared legacy that spans six decades and multiple generations, and the throwback nature of the Goodyear 400 allows us to celebrate the accomplishments of the past while also showcasing the incredible talents of drivers today.”

The Goodyear 400 is a continuation of Goodyear’s longstanding relationship with the sport of racing. As the “Exclusive Tire Supplier” for NASCAR’s top three series, Goodyear is the longest-running continuous partner in NASCAR history. From the introduction of the racing slick in 1972 to the radial tire in 1989 and multi-zone tread design in 2013, Goodyear and NASCAR have consistently innovated to deliver compelling racing.

Goodyear produces more than 100,000 tires for NASCAR’s top three series every year, and each tire is custom-built by the hands of passionate Goodyear associates in Akron, Ohio – Goodyear’s global headquarters – and donned with the name of the employee who helped produce it.

Brad Keselowski & Checkered Flag Foundation Support ‘Month of the Military Child’During the month of April, you can expect to see purple on Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 Team Penske Ford Mustang. In addition to having his own name in purple above his driver side door, Keselowski will carry the name of a military child – also marked in purple – above his passenger side door in an effort to recognize them for their heroism and sacrifices. The design element is something Keselowski and his Checkered Flag Foundation implemented to show their appreciation and support of military children during the nationally recognized Month of the Military Child, a time to celebrate the strength and resiliency of military children.

Three different children will ride along with Keselowski on the No. 2 Ford Mustang during the three NASCAR Cup Series races taking place in April. This initiative is part of the Checkered Flag Foundation’s longstanding history to honor and assist all heroes, including the families who support them.

Information about the Military Children riding along:

Martinsville: Jacob Verbeek, Age 11 from Connecticut – Jacob Verbeek is the son of fallen U.S. Marine Jared Verbeek who passed away in the line of duty in 2011. Jacob’s father was recognized on Matt DiBenedetto’s race car during the 2016 600 Miles of Remembrance at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Richmond: Andrew Powell, Age 4 from Fort Hood, Texas – Andrew Powell’s father currently serves in the U.S. Army. Andrew loves things that go fast which includes planes, trains and of course race cars, and finds enjoyment reading NASCAR statistic books.

Talladega: Stephen Sume (pronounced “Soom”), Age 15 from Poughkeepsie, New York – Stephen’s father currently serves in the U.S. Army. Stephen is a huge NASCAR and Brad Keselowski fan, and has a love for learning that he plans to use to become an engineer one day

Since 2017, the Checkered Flag Foundation has supported the National Military Family Association’s Operation Purple Healing Adventures (OPHA), retreats that allow military families to bond with each other and adapt to a new normal after a service-related injury.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Josh Berry is the Xfinity Series’ third first-time winner of 2021

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Cook Out 250 at Martinsville Speedway was postponed after weather took over on Friday night in Virginia. The race was rescheduled for Sunday, April 11 and the series crowned another first-time winner in Josh Berry.

Berry, who drives part-time for JR Motorsports, took the lead from Ty Gibbs on Lap 223 of 250 and held onto it the rest of the way in only his 13th series start.

Berry crossed the finish line 0.590 seconds before his JR Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson. Gragson had an extra payday of $100,000 as the highest finisher among the four Dash 4 Cash eligible drivers to kick off the initiative.

Berry led a race-high 95 laps and became the first driver to win a Xfinity race in the No. 8 car since Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Michigan back in 2006.

Daniel Hemric finished third while Gibbs held onto fourth. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brandon Jones finished fifth. Series leader Austin Cindric finished sixth, followed by Harrison Burton, Justin Haley, Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett rounding out the top 10.

All four of the JR Motorsports Chevrolets and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyotas finished in the top 10.

Berry is now eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus at the next event at Talladega Superspeedway along with Gragson, Hemric and Jones.

After a break in action, the Xfinity Series will return at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, April 24 at 4 p.m. ET for the Ag-Pro 300 on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The race will be 300 miles and 113 laps.

Show Me The Money: Gragson wins first Dash 4 Cash prize, Talladega is up next

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 and recognize NASCAR Xfinity Series regular competitors. This weekend program makes its official start of 2021 with four drivers – Justin Allgaier, Harrison Burton, Noah Gragson and AJ Allmendinger – vying for the big $100,000 bonus payout.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash will take place at four tracks in 2021 – Martinsville Speedway (April 9), Talladega Superspeedway (April 24), Darlington Raceway (May 8) and Dover International Speedway (May 15).

The March 20 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway was the initial qualifier for 2021 Dash 4 Cash program. The top four full-time finishers in the Atlanta race qualified for the first round of the Dash 4 Cash at Martinsville Speedway this weekend.

Noah Gragson won the first $100,000 bonus and is eligible again next week at Talladega Superspeedway with his teammate Josh Berry, Daniel Hemric and Brandon Jones.The Dash 4 Cash winner and next three highest finishing full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers at Talladega will then qualify for the next round of the Dash 4 Cash program at Darlington. That format will continue to Dover.

Owner Points Update Following Martinsville-1

Team Penske is leading the owner points with 317 points, two race wins, four stage wins and 14 Playoff points. Joe Gibbs Racing occupies spots two through four in the owner points. The No. 18 has 275 points, 42 back from the leader with three stage wins and three Playoff points. The No. 20 for JGR is in third with 242 points, 75 back from Team Penske’s No. 22 in the lead. Fourth place is the No. 54 for JGR with 231 points, sitting 86 points back from the leader with one race win, three stage wins and six Playoff points.

Kaulig Racing’s No. 11 rounds out the top five in owner points with 230 points, 87 back from the leader.

Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 and 16 are sixth and seventh, respectively, and Richard Childress Racing’s No. 2 is in eighth. JR Motorsports’ No. 7 is in ninth and the No. 51 for Jeremy Clements Racing is holding onto 10th in the owner points.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Etc.

Big Machine Racing honoring Dan Gurney with Darlington throwback: Big Machine Racing announced that they will honor Dan Gurney, the late racing legend, at Darlington Raceway in May for the Xfinity Series. Gurney’s All-American Racers, Inc. (AAR) color from the 1970 Trans Am Series season will be featured on the No. 48 Chevrolet. Gurney had a strong career, winning races in NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, the Trans Am Series and more. In 1967, he was part of the first and only all-American duo to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans with teammate A.J. Foyt. He was a highly successful team owner and race car manufacturer. Keep an eye out for Big Machine Racing’s Dan Gurney throwback at Darlington in a few weeks.

Tire Pros Extends Sponsorship with Josh Berry: After his first Xfinity Series victory last weekend at Martinsville Speedway, Josh Berry secured sponsorship for two upcoming races. Tire Pros will sponsor the No. 8 at Talladega Superspeedway and Dover International Speedway. Co-owner of JR Motorsports, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, announced on Twitter that Tire Pros would be back with the team after originally only backing the No. 8 for a total of six races, four of them with Berry behind the wheel.

Rookie Update: Ty Gibbs continues to lead the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 128 points and two awards. But, Josh Berry is only eight points behind him with 120 and two awards after his victory last weekend at Martinsville. Ryan Vargas is in third with 61 points and three awards. Jordan Anderson and Sam Mayer have still not made a start in the Xfinity Series in 2021 so they have no points accounted for at this time.

Manufacturer UpdateChevrolet is leading the manufacturers championship standings right now with four wins and 261 points. Myatt Snider, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier and Josh Berry got Chevrolet their four wins. Toyota is second in the manufacturer standings with one win and 249 points. Ford’s one win came from Ty Gibbs at the Daytona Road Course. Ford is currently in third place in the manufacturer standings with 242 points and two wins. Their two wins came from Austin Cindric in the season-opener and at Phoenix Raceway.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Richmond Rumble: Camping World Trucks Series returns

Short tracks have always played an integral part in defining the competition landscape in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In the inaugural 1995 season, majority of the tracks on the schedule were less than a mile in length; including Richmond Raceway, the destination for this weekend’s ToyotaCare 250, this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Richmond Raceway has hosted 12 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races since the inception of the series in 1995. The first Camping World Trucks race at Richmond was held on September 7, 1995 and the event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte driving the No. 5 truck for Henrick Motorsports.

In total, the 12 Truck races at Richmond have produced nine different poles winners and nine different race winners. NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart (2002, 2003), Jack Sprague (1998, 2001) and Mike Skinner (1996, 2005) are tied for the series-most Truck wins at Richmond Raceway with two each.

Richmond Truck Winners Season
Grant Enfinger 2020
Mike Skinner 2005
Ted Musgrave 2004
Tony Stewart 2003
Tony Stewart 2002
Jack Sprague 2001
Rick Carelli 2000
Greg Biffle 1999
Jack Sprague 1998
Bob Keselowski 1997
Mike Skinner 1996
Terry Labonte 1995

This weekend at Richmond Raceway, ThorSport Racing’s Grant Enfinger is the only former series winner in the field. Enfinger grabbed his victory at 0.75-mile track last season leading three times for 18 laps. Enfinger is looking for his first win of the 2021 season this weekend, he has made four starts this year on a part-time schedule posting two top 10s.

Saturday’s ToyotaCare 250 (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is scheduled to be 250 laps (187.5 miles) and broken up into three stages. The first two stages will be 70 laps each and the final stage will be 110 laps.

The starting lineup for this weekend’s event at Richmond was decided by Metric Qualifying, ThorSport Racing’s Ben Rhodes will start on the pole with Hattori Racing Enterprises’ Austin Hill will be starting second.

Short Track Truckin’

Looking at the field for this weekend, expect the competition to be fierce as there are 10 former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series short track winners entered.

The best to ever race short tracks in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. Though he never took home the checkered flag at Richmond Raceway, of his 51 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins, 22 were on short tracks (43.1%). Hornaday’s 22 short track Truck wins were spread across 12 different tracks.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday’s short track Truck Series wins

Tracks Seasons
Martinsville 2010
LOR 2010, 2009, 2007, 1997
Memphis 2009, 2008, 1998
Mansfield 2006
Evergreen 1999, 1995
Bristol 1998, 1997
Flemington 1997, 1995
Colorado 1997
Louisville 1997, 1996
Tucson 1997, 1995
Portland 1996
Mesa Marin 1995

And it should be no surprise the winningest driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Kyle Busch with 60 career Truck wins, also leads all active drivers in short track victories with seven wins.

Active Truck Winners Total Wins Bristol Bristol Dirt Eldora Iowa LOR Martinsville Richmond
Kyle Busch 7 5 0 0 0 0 2 0
Johnny Sauter 5 1 0 0 0 0 4 0
Timothy Peters 5 1 0 0 2 1 1 0
Matt Crafton 4 0 0 1 1 0 2 0
Brett Moffitt 3 1 0 0 2 0 0 0
Grant Enfinger 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
John H. Nemechek 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Sam Mayer 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Stewart Friesen 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Todd Gilliland 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

Of the 10 short track Truck winners entered this weekend at Richmond Raceway, eight are still looking for their first win of the 2021 season. The two Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers, Kyle Busch (Atlanta) and John Hunter Nemechek (Las Vegas) have already visited Victory Lane this season.

In last season’s return to Richmond Raceway, four of the 10 short track Truck winners finished inside the top-10 of the event – Grant Enfinger won, Matt Crafton finished runner-up, Brett Moffitt finished fourth and Stewart Friesen finished 10th.

Kyle Busch Motorsports can’t be stopped

Kyle Busch Motorsports have literally been unstoppable the last three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races taking the wins with three different drivers – John Hunter Nemechek (Las Vegas), Kyle Busch (Atlanta) and Martin Truex Jr. (Bristol Dirt). Now the powerhouse organization has tapped their namesake owner, Kyle Busch, to strap into the No. 51 and join series standings leader John Hunter Nemechek and rookie Chandler Smith in the quest to get their fourth straight victory of the year this weekend at Richmond Raceway.

Kyle Busch has amassed 60 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins across 19 different tracks. In total, Busch has competed on 23 different tracks in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series leaving just four he has yet to win at, including this weekend’s destination, Richmond Raceway. The other three are currently not on the schedule – South Boston Speedway, Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis and Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, Illinois.

Of Busch’s 60 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins seven have been on short tracks – five at Bristol and two at Martinsville.

This weekend’s starting lineup was decided by Metric Qualifying and Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers will start 12th (Busch), 18th (Nemechek) and 23rd (Smith).

ThorSport Racing dominated Richmond last season

Last season’s return to Richmond Raceway resulted in a dominating performance by ThorSport Racing with three of their four trucks finishing 1-2-3. Led by Grant Enfinger taking the victory, teammates Matt Crafton finished in second and Ben Rhodes in third. The three ThorSport drivers all spent time out front and led a combined total of 109 of the 250 laps putting on a show for their fans.

This weekend could be more of the same as last season, because same four ThorSport Racing drivers are entered this weekend. And last season’s winner, Grant Enfinger, is especially hungry for a victory this season as he is only running a limited schedule in 2021. Enfinger’s last win came on the Martinsville Speedway short track at the end of last season.

Enfinger’s teammate, Matt Crafton is currently on a 21-race winless streak dating back to last season at Kansas Speedway (7/25). But Crafton knows his way around the short tracks. He has four victories on short tracks at three different tracks – Martinsville, Iowa and Eldora.

The one ThorSport Racing driver with wins already this season is Ben Rhodes. The Kentucky native kicked the season off with back-to-back wins at Daytona and the Daytona Road Course. And though Rhodes has yet to win on a short track in the series, he did finish runner-up last weekend on the Bristol Dirt.

Though he has five short track wins in his Truck Series career, tied with Timothy Peters for second-most among active drivers, Johnny Sauter struggled at Richmond Raceway last season. He started 20th and finished 27th; three laps down.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie Update – After taking a one-point lead in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points standings following Atlanta, Carson Hocevar finished 21st on the Bristol dirt to up his advantage to 14 points over Chandler Smith coming out of Thunder Valley. Smith finished 34th after being caught in a multi-truck incident.

The remainder of the standings stayed the same following Bristol, too. Chase Purdy was the highest-finishing rookie at Bristol, finishing 18th. Hailie Deegan was 19th.

Hocevar and Smith both raced the Camping World Truck Series race at Richmond last year, with Smith finishing 12th and Hocevar was 22nd.

Last season’s Bristol Motor Speedway winner and fellow 2021 rookie, Sam Mayer, will be making his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season debut this weekend for Bret Holmes Racing in the No. 32 truck.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year
Rookies Points Awards
Carson Hocevar 109 2
Chandler Smith 95 2
Chase Purdy 71 1
Hailie Deegan 69 0
Kris Wright 37 0
Tim Viens 0 0

Just the second time its happened – This weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race will be just the second event of the 12 run at Richmond Raceway that multiple female drivers will be competing. In total, five female drivers have competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Richmond Raceway. The first female driver to compete in the series at Richmond was Tammy Jo Kirk in 1997. David Gilliland Racing’s Hailee Deegan and Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing’s Jennifer Jo Cobb are entered in this weekend’s Truck race at Richmond.

Track Driver Date
Richmond Jennifer Jo Cobb Thursday, September 10, 2020
Richmond Natalie Decker Thursday, September 10, 2020
Richmond Deborah Renshaw Thursday, September 8, 2005
Richmond Deborah Renshaw Thursday, September 9, 2004
Richmond Tina Gordon Thursday, September 4, 2003
Richmond Tammy Jo Kirk Thursday, September 4, 1997

The best finish by a female competitor in the Camping World Truck Series is fifth by Natalie Decker at Daytona International Speedway in 2020. The best finish by a female competitor on a short track in the Truck Series is 13th by Tammy Jo Kirk at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1998. The best finish by a female at Richmond in the series is 26th by Tina Gordon in 2003.

— NASCAR —