NASCAR Richmond Preview

Story posted March 31, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Dylan Price

This Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Richmond Raceway, “America’s Premier Short Track,” for the Toyota Owners 400. Former Super Bowl Champion and Virginia native Chris Long will lead the drivers to the green flag as the honorary pace car driver.

Last fall, the series stopped in Richmond during the playoffs for the 64th annual Federated Auto Parts 400. The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and a former champion in his own right, Martin Truex Jr., took the win, in his third career victory at the track.

In that same race, Gibbs teammates Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell finished second and third, respectively, to round out the top three. For Hamlin, that marked his second consecutive runner up placement at the track.

The fourth and final Gibbs teammate, former champion, Kyle Busch, is always a threat to win at Richmond. All-time, Busch sits in a tie for third with Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace and David Pearson all joining Busch, capturing six checkereds at the course.

Heading into this race, five of the last seven winners at the track have been piloting Toyota’s giving a slight edge to them, in a race sponsored by the manufacturer.

With that said, the winner of last year’s spring visit to the track, Alex Bowman, already holds a victory on the season, and is coming off a near victory Sunday. Bowman will look for redemption from COTA with a win at Richmond.

Bowman does have good odds, given the success of Chevrolet to this point in the season. Coming into this race, the “melon man” Ross Chastain, William Byron, defending champion Kyle Larson and Bowman all have victories for the manufacturer. In four of the first six races, a Chevrolet has been in victory lane, and of the nine drivers leading NASCAR in top-five finishes, six pilot Chevrolets.

The hottest driver in the sport right now might just be the driver of the No. 1 car for Trackhouse Racing, as Chastain got the team its first win, and his first career cup series victory last weekend. Chastain also currently ranks third in overall points and leads all other drivers with four top fives and four top 10s this season.

One thing that NASCAR has seen with the Next Gen Cars is a variety of winners, with six different winners in six races.

In the first appearance for the Next Gen Cars at Richmond, all eyes will be on the race to see if the variety of winners continues and how the quality of racing is altered at one of the most iconic tracks on the circuit.

Dylan Price is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email