Date: Friday, April 27, 2012
Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
Location: Richmond International Raceway
Distance: 250 laps/ 187.5 miles
Broadcast: TV— ESPN 2 with broadcast starting at 7 p.m. EST
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and the rest of the NASCAR Nationwide Series enters Richmond this weekend after a week off.
The last time the series raced was at the fast 1.5 mile Texas Motor Speedway—a race that Stenhouse Jr won giving him momentum going to a track that he has never won at.
Although Stenhouse Jr. is winless at the ¾ mile Richmond International Raceway, Stenhouse Jr. does have two wins at the a track that was made in the model of Richmond, and that track is Iowa Speedway.
Sweeping the 2011 events at Iowa and entering Richmond with a two wins and the most recent win in the series, it seems that momentum is riding high on Stenhouse’s side. At this point the only thing that would grow the confidence of the 24-year-old would be if he was leading the series points.
With just a four point lead in the championship series standings, veteran driver and Virginia native, Elliott Sadler will also be looking to capture his first career Nationwide series victory at Richmond.
Before Texas, it was Sadler, not Stenhouse Jr., that had momentum on his side. While Stenhouse’s successes have come on the mile and half circuits this year, when it comes to the smaller circuits it is Sadler that holds the advantage.
Earlier this season, Sadler was able to capture two wins of his own, with a win at Phoenix International Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. Neither Phoenix nor Bristol are similar to Richmond, but with two wins on mile or smaller tracks, Sadler is a good choice to contend for the win.
Friday night’s race could come down to another battle between Stenhouse Jr. and Sadler, but if recent history at Richmond is any indication, the battle for the win might come from another team.
In 2011, the two Richmond events were won by one team and that wasn’t a Roush-Fenway Ford like Stenhouse drives or a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet that Sadler pilots.
Joe Gibbs Racing and their Toyota’s swept the races last year, with Denny Hamlin winning the spring race and Kyle Busch winning the fall event.
This time around, Kyle Busch won’t be in the race, but Hamlin, Joey Logano and Brian Scott will all be driving the Toyota’s for Joe Gibbs on Friday.
The Virginia 529 College Savings 250 will also feature the return and debut of a couple drivers after spending some time away from the series. After losing his ride when Rusty Wallace Incorporated shut its doors after the 2011 season, Steven Wallace will be driving the No. 60 Ford for Roush Fenway this weekend.
James Buescher, this season’s Daytona winner, returns to his Turner Motorsports Chevrolet after spending a few weeks out of the car.
Travis Pastrana will make his first career Nationwide series start after missing his debut last year because of a broken leg. Pastrana is assured a starting position, because he is using the owner points that Robert Benton has accumulated over the season with the No. 09 Toyota that has been driven by Ryan Truex and Kenny Wallace.
By the Numbers:
- 37—the number of races at Richmond that have been raced as a 250 lap event.
- 23—the number of seasons that Richmond has been racing with a ¾ mile setup.
- 21st—the furthest back a driver has started the spring race to go on to victory. (Kenny Wallace in 1995.)
- 7—the number of wins that Chevrolet drivers have in the spring race at Richmond (since it has been a 250 lap event.)
- 7th—the average starting position (rounded up) of a spring Richmond race winner (since the race has been 250 laps).
- 3—the number of times a pole sitter has won the spring Richmond race (since the race has been 250 laps. Kyle Busch in 2004 most recent.)
- Mike Wallace
- Elliott Sadler
- Austin Dillon
- Steve Wallace
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Danica Patrick
- Jeff Green
- Brian Scott
- Sam Hornish Jr.
- Eric McClure
- Blake Koch
- Denny Hamlin
- Tayler Malsam
- Joey Logano
- Brad Keselowski
- Robert Richardson Jr.
- James Buescher
- Justin Allgaier
- Kevin Harvick
- Kasey Kahne
- Matt Frahm
- Erik Darnell
- Timmy Hill
- Josh Wise
- Michael Annett
- Mike Bliss
- Chase Miller
- Scott Speed
- T.J. Bell
- Jeremy Clements
- Kevin Lepage
- Kurt Busch
- Johanna Long
- Jason Bowles
- Joe Nemechek
- Cole Whitt
- Morgan Shepherd
- Casey Roderick
- J.J. Yeley
- Tanner Berryhill
- Ryan Blaney
- Scott Riggs
- Travis Pastrana