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What to Watch: 2022 Return to Richmond




Everything you need to know for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race in Richmond, the 24th regular season event of the 2022 campaign.

Race day info

Where:Richmond, Virginia
Estimated start time: 3 p.m. ET | Full weekend schedule
Television/radio: USA, NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio | Full TV schedule
The handbag: $7,144,995
Forecast: A small chance of showers after 2 p.m. ET. Mostly sunny, with a high of almost 83 degrees, according to | Weather tracker
Race distance:400 laps | 300 miles
Stages:70 | 230 | 400
Pit road speed:40 mph
Note car speed:45 mph
Richmond 101: Get the full overview
Starting position: Larson on the pole

Pit stalls: where drivers will pit

UPDATE: Kurt Busch out again

Main things to watch

big storyline

It’s been the storyline all week and it’s no different here. Will there be a 16th winner? Kevin Harvick’s memorable win at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday left two strong playoff candidates on the cutline: Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. Unfortunately for Ryan Blaney, the timing is perfect this week for Truex to strike, at least that’s what history tells us. Truex has taken three wins in the last six races at Richmond and has completed an impressive 1,285 laps on the Virginia short track speed track. Blaney, on the other hand, has only two top-10 finishes in 12 starts, although they came in the last two races. The good news for Blaney fans is that his improvements here have been remarkable lately. But will it be enough to maintain his 19-point lead?

Who shot? Who not?

After breaking the streak of 65 consecutive races without a win, Kevin Harvick is in a prime position to become a title favorite. The momentum the No. 4 team has recently found is very remarkable, with five top 10s in the last eight races and storming their way to Victory Lane. Also, don’t expect them to slow down in Richmond this weekend. Harvick and his company finished second in the spring race and finished in the top eight in 12 of the last 15 races. Harvick has the hot hand.

Although Tyler Reddick has won two of the last six races, the No. 8 team’s performance on ovals has been disappointing compared to their success on road courses. Reddick has three finishes of 21st or worse, including a couple of DNFs, in addition to the two wins and heads to Richmond, where he has not yet made a top 10 in the Cup Series. Sure, a few wins leave Reddick and the company comfortably on their way to the playoffs. But with more ovals than road courses in each of the rounds, they have to flip the switch. Thankfully, Reddick finished 12th in the spring race, so there’s definitely something to build on there.

Driving under the radar

If you haven’t been paying attention to racing in Richmond, this driver to watch out for for Sunday may come as a big surprise: Austin Dillon. Dillon raced his No. 3 Chevrolet to 10th place and now has five top 10s in the last seven races at Richmond. Lately he’s one of the best here. With all the talk of other drivers a little closer to the cutline, winning Dillon this weekend is certainly not out of the question. And as the 16th, and arguably most unlikely, winner, it would shake up the playoff picture significantly.

Practice and qualify

The fact that both the practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday went largely without incident revealed how much better drivers are handling the Next Gen car compared to this year’s spring race in Richmond. Most expected the Toyotas to come out of the gate in dominant form, but it was the Chevrolets and Fords that shared most of the afternoon’s success. Kyle Larson earned his third Busch Light Pole Award of the season, beating Ross Chastain at the buzzer with a lap time of 23,042 seconds. Hendrick Motorsports claimed three of the top five places on Sunday’s starting grid. Chastain set the pace in practice, followed by Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Aric Almirola, Martin Truex Jr. and spring winner Denny Hamlin. | Full summary here

Ryan Blaney leads cars to the green flag.
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Race day staples

Our biggest stretches of the week – get you covered from all angles for race day.

Example paint scheme: Vivid paint schemes for Virginia | Pick a favourite
Power Classifications: Denny Hamlin is on the rise | Updated driver rankings
NASCAR Betting: BetMGM odds for Sunday’s race| Underdogs, value bets
Fantasy Fast Lane: Can Martin Truex Jr. turn the tide? | Top plays, sleepers
calling watch: Which drivers are close to the cutline?| read more
Drivers in the back seat:
Is Bubba Wallace too strict on herself? | Watch the debate
Stacking tokens:
Kyle Petty joins the show | Listen to the full interview

get the suit

Read the top headlines from the week leading up to Sunday’s race.

Martin Truex Jr.: Driver talks about Richmond’s success, more | read more
Driver analysis:
Did Ryan Blaney or Martin Truex Jr. the advantage? | read more
Jordan Brand:
New 23XI Schedule for the No. 45 in Richmond | read more
Etiquette on the track:
Justin Haley opens up on growing fan base, interacting with drivers | read more
New facility:
NASCAR Productions Center Begins Construction | read more
New signature:
Noah Gragson signs 2023 deal with Petty GMS | read more
Block party:
Bubba Wallace, NASCAR Hosts Richmond Event | read more
The President of Richmond speaks:
‘I want Richmond to win’ | read more
Breakdown of the playoffs:
What the field looks like when you enter Richmond | read more
Austin Dillon:
In his role as GM of Carolina Cowboys | read more
Justin Haley:
Xfinity Series race with Kaulig Racing at Daytona | read more
Fool Season:
Driver moves, changes heat up | Follow them here
Get your tickets:
Tickets are now on sale for the Busch Light Clash 2023 | read more

Take action

Think you know NASCAR? Test your courage with gaming, fantasy.

betMGM: Audience Loves Truex to Spoil Hamlin’s Homecoming | read more
The action network:
Odds, picks and predictions for Richmond | read more
Bets on the back seat:
Can Kevin Harvick take out Denny Hamlin? | Watch the fragment
Play it LIVE:
Full Guide to 2022 NASCAR Fantasy Live Game |Ask the frequently asked questions
Go all the way:
2022 Cup Series Championship Odds |View them here

Racing twice in Richmond ️

There is so much NASCAR history at Richmond Raceway, so let’s break down some of the basics.

Do you remember?: Memorable Moments in Richmond | Relive them
Earlier in 2022:
Denny Hamlin takes round 1 in Richmond | Full race summary
Rewind Race:
Hamlin continues for home state win | View highlights
Last year at Richmond 2:
From back to front Truex puts on a show | View highlights

Quick Facts

Hard, race-relevant stats, brought to you by the experts at Racing Insights.

Chase Elliott will close out the regular season championship by leaving Richmond with a 121 point lead.
Ryan Blaney lost 52 points to Martin Truex Jr. in the last four races in the cutline battle.
Truex finished in the top five of the last seven races at Richmond, the longest run since Rusty Wallace had seven.
Four of the last eight races in 2022 have been won by drivers taking their first win of the season.
The longest active top-10 streak is four races by Bubba Wallace. The tallest driver this year is six.

What do you say?

Notable quotes from the stars of the sport heading into Sunday’s race.

Just the atmosphere, the people. I think the most important thing is the people and that you can feel comfortable with an organization, that’s quite unique the way it is, I feel. JR Motorsports, it’s been a home to me for the past four years and the leadership and the same qualities they really bring to their business, I feel like that’s what we’ve seen here at GMS. So I’m looking forward to the opportunity.” — Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series at the signing of the 2023 deal with Petty GMS Motorsports

I think it was definitely a turn off for me personally. I wanted to come out and do it really well and I feel like I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning. Some things I feel like I got it right early on, but I don’t know. I don’t know what the number would be. I haven’t really thought much about that. I think the most important thing is to taper off every weekend. Last weekend in Michigan was so tough because we just missed it in practice and qualifying and then you get into the race and you drop early and you don’t have a chance to really build anything. I just try to get better and better every weekend.” — Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, about his 2022 season

We would show up and fight like we always do. We know Richmond is a good opportunity for us and we want to make the most of that opportunity, but we’re not really changing who we are at this point in the season. James (Small, crew chief) and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing are doing everything we can and that’s all I can ask as a driver. I am very confident going to Richmond and know what I was capable of. —Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota




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