Commentary

The Good Bad Ugly - Richmond

Updated: May 3, 2008, 10:22 AM ET
By Mark Garrow | Jayski.com

Mark Garrow provides driver trends for Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

* A driver with an asterisk next to his name needs to qualify for the race based on time.

• Allmendinger has two Cup Series starts at Richmond, finishing 32nd and 23rd last year.

• In 21 starts here, Andretti has four top-10s, a top-5, and an average finish of 21.8 with three Did Not Finishes (DNFs).

• Biffle has 11 starts here with five top-10s, two top-5s, and an average finish of 16.0 and a DNF.
• Biffle is driving RK-559, the same car he drove to a 20th-place finish at Martinsville earlier this season. This should be a good sign since he has a better history at Richmond.

• Blaney has made 15 Cup Series starts at the .75-mile track during his career. The veteran driver has started as high as third (2002) and finished as high as fourth in 2006. Blaney has scored two top-10 finishes at the Richmond-area short track in his Cup Series career.

• Clint Bowyer will pilot chassis No. 212 this weekend. This is the same car Bowyer raced to a runner-up finish April 12 at Phoenix International Raceway. Built new for 2007, this car sat on the pole and won last September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Additionally, the third-year Sprint Cup Series driver raced this car to a 12th-place finish last September at Richmond and an 11th-place showing last November at Phoenix.
• In four Sprint Cup Series starts at Richmond 's three-quarter mile oval, Bowyer has a 10.8 finishing average. He also has two top-10s, a pair of 12th-place finishes and has completed all 1,600 laps over those four starts.
• In the past six races, Bowyer has an average finish of 6.6. Since finishing 28th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he has earned a pair of top-5s and six top-10 finishes.

• Jeff Burton will pilot Chassis No. 204 from the Richard Childress Racing stable in this weekend's race. This is the same AT&T Chevrolet Burton drove to Victory Lane earlier this season at Bristol Motor Speedway. Built new for the 2007 season, this is the same car Burton raced at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September (started 23rd; finished 18th), Martinsville Speedway in October (18th and 12th) and Phoenix International Raceway in November (12th and ninth).
• In 27 Cup Series starts at RIR, Burton boasts one pole, one win, seven top-5 and 12 top-10 finishes. Engine woes just 138 laps into the spring race at RIR last season left Burton with a 43rd-place finish.
• Over the season's first nine races, the South Boston, Va., native has claimed one win, three top-5 and six top-10 finishes and has yet to finish worse than 13th.

• Busch will be racing the PSC-551 Dodge Charger this weekend at Richmond. The car debuted in the April 12 Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix where Kurt started 40th and finished 23rd.
• At Richmond, Busch has one win, two top-5 finishes and four top-10s in 14 races. He finished fifth here last year and finished ninth in the fall event and has an average finish here of 18.1.

• Busch has five top-5 finishes in six starts at Richmond. He has led a total of 292 laps in six starts, while completing all 2,400 laps run in those same six starts. With an average finish here of 6.2.

• This is Carpentier's first trip to RIR in a stock car. Previously he raced there in the IRL and finished third.

• In 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has recorded three wins.
• Earnhardt has led 322 laps around the track and recorded seven top-5 finishes and nine top-10s.

• Edwards will make his eighth Cup start at Richmond this weekend. In his previous seven starts, Edwards has two top-10 finishes.

• Gilliland has an average starting position of 35.3 and an average finish of 33.3 at Richmond. His career best finish at Richmond was 22nd achieved in the 2007 Chevy Rock & Roll 400.

• Along with two victories, Gordon has collected five poles, 12 top-5s and 18 top-10s in 30 starts, though his last victory was in 2000.
• During the 2005 and 2006 seasons at the Virginia track, Gordon posted four finishes of 30th or worse and failed to lead a lap during the four events.
• Gordon won the pole for the spring event and led a race-high 114 laps before finishing fourth. In the September race, he qualified second and led a race-high 191 laps en route to another fourth-place finish.

• Gordon has 16 starts here with one top-5 and an average finish of 30.1 and five DNFs. He has also led 30 laps.

• Since posting a sixth-place finish at Bristol, Hamlin has ripped off four consecutive top-5 finishes, including a win at Martinsville and back-to-back third place finishes at Phoenix and Talladega.
• In this race last spring, Hamlin led 12 laps on his way to a third-place finish. He has only finished outside of the top-10 at RIR on one occasion (Fall 2006) when he lost a cylinder and was forced to run out the race significantly down on power.
• The No. 11 team is lowering chassis JGR 166 off the truck at Richmond this weekend hoping it will perform as well on the .75-mile RIR track as it did when Denny Hamlin drove it to a win at Martinsville only four races ago. In 2007, this car scored top-5 finishes at Darlington (2nd - 5/07) and Dover (4th - 6/07) and qualified third at Dover in the fall before a wreck forced Hamlin to the garage and out of the race.

• In 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at RIR, Harvick has earned one win, one pole, four top-5 and eight top-10 finishes. Additionally, he has an average start of 19.9 and average finish of 12.1 while leading 646 laps.
• According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Harvick has the highest Average Running Position (5.5) at RIR over the past six races. Additionally, he has also led the most laps (599) in the last six races at the .75-mile Richmond oval.

• Sam Hornish Jr. will make his first Cup Series start at Richmond this weekend.
• In four short track starts in Cup Series competition this season, Hornish Jr. has an average starting position of 22.5 and an average finish of 26.7.

• Johnson will use chassis No. 461 as its primary in the May 3 race at RIR. In addition to a fourth-place finish at Martinsville in March, Johnson drove this chassis to two victories last fall, Martinsville (10/07) and Phoenix (11/07).
• He has won the past two events at RIR and has three top-5 finishes with an average starting spot of 12.7 and average finish of 17.8.

• In eight starts at Richmond, Kahne has accumulated one win, two top-5s and four top-10 finishes. He has an average start of 14th and an average finish of 18th at Richmond.
• Richmond was the site of Kahne's first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in the spring of 2005. He started from the pole position and led 242 laps en route to victory.

• In 16 starts at Richmond, Kenseth has achieved one win, three top-5, nine top-10 and 12 top-15 finishes.
• Kenseth's average start at RIR is 20.8, his average finish is 14.2.

• Kvapil has an average starting position of 22.8 and an average finish of 22.0 at Richmond.
• He has started as high as third and finished as high as 11th at Richmond.

• Labonte has 30 starts here with 10 top-10s, four top-5s, and an average finish of 17.2 and two DNFs.
• He has led 161 laps here and has completed 98.5 percent of the total possible laps here.
• Labonte's last top-10 finish was an eighth at this race three years ago.

• Martin has finished inside the top 10 in six of his past 12 races at Richmond.
• He has one win, 23 top-10 and 13 top-5 finishes in 44 races at Richmond.

• McDowell is making his first-ever start at Richmond this weekend.

• Jamie McMurray has recorded 10 starts at Richmond International Raceway with two finishes in the top 10.
• Richmond is one of only five tracks where McMurray has yet to lead a lap.

• Under the direction of crew chief Alan Gustafson, the No. 5 Chevrolet of Hendrick Motorsports has earned five top-5 finishes in the past six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Richmond International Raceway. Gustafson's team placed second after leading 248 laps in September 2006 and followed that outing with another runner-up finish at the track in May 2007.
• Casey Mears led six laps in last September's Sprint Cup race at Richmond before finishing 17th. Mears recorded his career-best RIR finish of 11th in September 2006.

• Menard has two Cup Series starts here with finishes of 16th and 26th in 2007.

• Montoya has two Cup Series finishes here, finishing 26th and 41st in 2007.

• Nemechek has 28 starts here with three top-10s, a win, and an average finish of 25.0 and four DNFs.

• Ryan Newman has one victory in 12 starts at Richmond along with one pole, four top-5 and seven top-10 finishes.
• He has two runner-up finishes at Richmond, both coming in 2002.

• Petty has 52 starts here with 12 top-10s, three top-5s, a win, and an average finish of 19.6 and six DNFs.

• Ragan visited Richmond International Raceway twice in 2007, earning his best finish of 2007 in the fall where he qualified eighth and finish third.

• Richmond is the track where Reutimann has recorded his best career finish in the Sprint Cup Series, a 13th place effort last season.

• Riggs has eight starts here with one top-10 and an average finish of 27.9 and two DNFs.

• His best finish at Richmond is seventh (spring '05) and his best start is fifth (spring '05).
• In the spring race last year, Sadler started 40th and finished 27th.

• Sauter is driving the No. 70 this weekend at Richmond.
• He finished fifth in the fall race last year with this team.
• In six starts here, Sauter has an average finish of 27.8 and a DNF.

• Schrader is driving the No. 40 Dodge this weekend, subbing for Dario Franchitti, who was injured in last weekend's Nationwide race at Talladega.
• In 44 races here, Schrader has 12 top-10s, three top-5s, and an average finish of 16.2 and three DNFs.

• Smith is making his first start at Richmond in the Cup Series this weekend.

• Sorenson has four Cup Series starts here with an average finish of 22.5.

• In 18 races at Richmond, Stewart has three wins, six top-5s and 12 top-10s.
• Stewart has led a total of 792 laps at Richmond.

• Truex has four starts here with an average finish of 31st with two DNFs.
• Truex finished 15th here in the fall last year. The other three finishes have been 28th, 40th, and 41st.

• Vickers has seven starts here. In his first Cup Series start, he finished eighth after starting from the pole. Since then, he has finished 24th twice, with the remaining finishes being 32nd or worse.

• Waltrip will start in his 42nd race at the .75-mile track. His best start is second (9/90) and his best finish is ninth in the NAPA machine on May 14, 2005.
• During his Cup career at RIR, Waltrip has earned two top-10 and 21 top-25 finishes. His average start is 23rd and finish is 25th.

• Wimmer has six Cup Series starts here with an average finish of 29.5.

• Wood is attempting his first start at RIR in the Cup Series.

• Yeley has four starts here with one top-10 and an average finish of 14.8.
• He finished 10th in the fall race here last year.

Mark Garrow covers fantasy racing for ESPN.com.

Mark Garrow

Fantasy Racing
Mark Garrow covers fantasy racing for ESPN.com.