Five Questions For Richmond Raceway Weekend

                                                                           (image courtesy of Richmond Raceway)

by Lisa Nellis

"The weather is here; will the race day be beautiful?" The Richmond forecast shows clear skies for this Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400, to the relief of every NASCAR fan. 

Will Martin Truex, Jr. win his third out of nine races this season? 
Don’t bet on it. Or maybe you should, if you actually gamble. Truex’s Vegas odds are 4:1, and he’s won two out of the last three races here. He’s also coming off a strong finish at Martinsville last weekend to become the season’s first multiple-time winner. Bonus: He’s in a Toyota, who is sponsoring the race.

Who is the mightiest underdog for Sunday? 
My pick would be the No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet of Daniel Suárez here, based on his performances both at Bristol and then Martinsville. Suárez is currently feuding with William Byron and has promised to “get him back” for sending his No. 99 into the wall last weekend. Suárez has finished in the top 10 here three times over his last seven races, and this year he has much better equipment.

Will there be another first-time winner? 
Now that, I might bet on. The number of experienced drivers without a win so far is astonishing. Going without a victory so far in 2021 are Keselowski, Hamlin, Harvick, Elliott, and both Busch brothers. Kyle Busch has two wins here, tied with Truex for the most among current drivers. Of the members of this most unilllustrious group, Hamlin is arguably the strongest pick, based on past finishes here and the fact that Richmond is his home track.

Who will win the truck race? 
This is anyone’s guess, because the vast majority of current Camping World Truck Series drivers have only been to Richmond to race once before, in 2020. Prior to last year, the most recent event was in 2005. There will be no practice or qualifying once again. Grant Enfinger is the sole driver to have won at this track in the series. In this case, and because it's a short track, almost anyone can win here. But, wait. I see Kyle Busch in the starting lineup which usually means almost anyone can come in second here.

What is considered the most memorable race at Richmond? 
Back on February 23, 1986, before Dale Earnhardt Sr. had gained a solid reputation as the Intimidator, the race was being televised on TBS to a national audience. Earnhardt had been leading most of the race, when Darrell Waltrip, on the command of Junior Johnson (his team owner), tried to pass the No. 3. Earnhardt Sr. was having none of that, however, and whether intentionally or unintentionally, spun DW out, sending him into the guardrail. Many fans were intrigued by this aggressiveness, and the Earnhardt reputation began growing. 

This race is particularly memorable to Kyle Petty, too, as due to the Waltrip-Earnhardt incident, Petty took the checkered flag -- the only non-ARCA NASCAR race he ever won.
Five Questions For Richmond Raceway Weekend Five Questions For Richmond Raceway Weekend Reviewed by laweez on Friday, April 16, 2021 Rating: 5