Showing posts with label Road to Richmond. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Road to Richmond. Show all posts

We're taking look at a pair of teammates who clinched in mid-July after the New Hampshire 301, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. There's been some impressive racing by these two members of the Joe Gibbs Racing family, who also had a little sibling rivalry back at Richmond's TOYOTA OWNERS 400. Congrats on the job guys, and we'll look forward to seeing you at Gridside Live! in September.

2016 Rearview
Kyle Busch wasted little time proving his 2015 Sprint Cup Championship was no fluke. Through the season's first 21 races, the reigning champ has four wins, a top-5 finish in over half of his races while leading laps in all but six. How's that for an encore?
2015 Chase
The 2016 Chase didn't exactly start smooth for Busch (37th place finish at Loudon, 20th at Charlotte within first four races). But the ending couldn't have been any sweeter. Four straight top-5's to finish out the Chase, punctuated by taking the checkered flag in Homestead for his first Sprint Cup Championship.

Cup Career at Richmond
Four Wins  |  16 Top-10's  |  6.9 Avg. Finish (best track with min. 10 races)

2016 Rearview
There's something to be said for consistency, and Carl's performance in 2016 is on par with what he's done almost his entire career. In fact, he's already matched his 2015 numbers in wins (two), top-5 finishes (seven) and poles (three) with still 15 races left on the schedule. A good deal of Edward's success can be attributed to the remarkable job he's done in qualifying, posting an average starting position of 7.3 (the best of his career).

2015 Chase
Though he was close on several occasions, Edwards could quite break into the winner's circle during the 2015 Chase. Six top-10 finishes were enough to keep him in contention through Phoenix, but was left on the outside looking in at the Championship Four for the Championship.

Cup Career at Richmond
Two Wins (Including 2015 TOYOTA OWNERS 400)  | 12 Top-10's  |  12.8 Avg. Finish

As the 2016 NASCAR regular season hits the final stretch, eyes turn towards who'll be racing for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship come November. We're hoping back on the Road to Richmond to paint the complete Chase picture, examining each driver as they clinch their spot in the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski was the first driver to clinch his spot in the 2016 Chase following his July win at Kentucky.
2016 Rearview
After winning just one race all of last season, Brad's 2016 campaign might be one of the best of his career. With four wins through 20 races, the No. 2 driver is averaging a top-10 finish every time he rolls out onto the track - a testament to his ability considering the number of driver's who've fallen prey to wrecks this season. He's been a spokesman for the new downforce package since it's roll out last season in Darlington, and with the success he's had it's easy to see why.

2015 Chase
Keselowski was half of the Penske equation that dominated most of the 2015 Chase, but a wreck in the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 dampened his chances to advance past the round of eight. But that still didn't stop him from leaving his mark on the Championship race in Homestead, leading a race-high 86 laps. 

Cup Career at Richmond
One Win (2014 Federared Auto Parts 400)  |  Five Top-10's  |  15.9 Avg. Finish

It's here.

We've come to the Last Race to Make the Chase, and Jeff Gordon still finds himself without a win in his final full-time season. Although we're sure he'd like to have earned more hardware over the course of the 2015 season, he still finds himself sitting 14th in points with a couple different ways he can clinch a spot in the Chase at Richmond:   

A- Win and he's in. Plain and simple. 

B- If a driver inside the current top-16 in Chase points finds their way to Victory Lane, Gordon qualifies regardless of where he finishes. 

C- If a driver outside the top-16 takes home the checkered flag AND Clint Bowyer finishes 2nd place while leading the most laps, then Gordon would need to finish better than 17th. 

D- If scenario C comes to fruition and Gordon finishes worse than 17th, he could still make it into the Chase so long as he finishes no more than seven spots below Paul Menard.

Head hurting yet? For simplicity's sake Jeff, why don't you just pick up your third Richmond win. 
Darlington has been more than kind to the Chesterfield, Va driver
By most accounts Denny Hamlin has had a strong season. His eight Top-5 finishes are already more than he's had in three of the last four seasons, and he's already led more laps this year that in either of the past two.

Denny hasn’t had a multi-win campaign since 2012 – his lone 2015 win came back in March at Martinsville. If he can borrow some of his team’s momentum this weekend at Darlington, Denny might just be able to slap a second winner’s sticker on the No. 11. With a win, four Top-5's and seven Top-10's in his nine races at Darlington, there isn't a track on the circuit where Hamlin has a stronger average finish.

Fueled by some JGR mojo and a special Cale Yarborough throwback scheme (he had five Darlington wins), maybe Denny can channel some of the "Timmonsvile Flash" spark this weekend.

Ten years after his breakout season, Biffle finds himself on the outside looking in. 
A decade ago Greg Biffle was on top of the NASCAR world. A six win campaign led him to his first Chase berth and an eventual second place finish in the final standings (just 35 points behind 2005 champ Tony Stewart). Fast forward ten years and "The Biff" is on the verge of missing the Chase for the first time since 2011.

Two races out and 48 points behind the No. 16 slot in the standings, a trip to the track thats "Too Tough to Tame," might be just what Biffle needs to right the ship. With two wins and a Top-10 finish in nearly half his races at Darlington, there are few tracks on Biffle's resume at which he has a better record.

While his last win at the Lady in Black might have come in 2006, maybe Biff can recapture some of his old school magic on Darlington's throwback weekend. And with nary a win in 26 starts at Richmond, this could be his last real chance to lock into the 2015 Chase.

Clint Bowyer has a lot at stake two with just races before the Chase. 
Racing for a spot in the Chase is one thing, it’s an entirely different thing to be racing for a job. With the absolution of MWR’s full-time team beginning in 2016, Clint Bowyer has more on the line than anyone else.

Clint’s numbers on the Road to Richmond aren’t pretty. In nine starts at Darlington, Bowyer’s found himself inside the Top 10 just once, and only at Atlanta (21.3) does he have a worse average finish than his 20.1 showing at the Lady in Black. 

Richmond has been a little kinder to ol’ Shifty. With two wins and the second-most Top 10 showings at any track, his odds of celebrating in RIR’s Victory Lane are certainly better than his odds in the Southern 500.

With only two weeks left until the 2015 Chase field is set, Richmond may be one of Clint’s last chances to impress next year’s boss. Pile on missing last year’s Chase by just six points, and you’ve got an even more determined (desperate?) driver hunting down that W.
We're pleased to have Track President Dennis Bickmeier contribute our first guest blog post
The Chase Grid. It’s more than just the final field for drivers who have a shot for NASCAR’s coveted title. It represents success, that your driver has raced their way into Victory Lane during NASCAR’s grueling regular season, or has raced well enough to remain among the point leaders after that season comes to a close in Richmond.

It also represents a chance, and that Road to Richmond is filled with those chances. Every race represents an opportunity for a driver to race their way onto the Chase Grid and secure their place in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Sure the likes of McMurray, Menard, Newman, Gordon and Bowyer are in for now, but those on the outside looking in can score a win in two weeks at Darlington or in the Last Race to Make the Chase at RIR on September 12. Not even Jeff Gordon is safe yet – no doubt he’ll be fighting harder than anyone to prolong his final NASCAR season.

Ever since The Chase was born in 2004, our September event has been “The Last Race to Make the Chase.” But when the Chase Grid was born last year and winning meant everything, what did it mean for Richmond International Raceway?

Everything. It means everything. It all comes down to Richmond.

When the checkered flag falls for the Federated Auto Parts 400, 16 drivers will officially have their name on the official Chase Grid. As it stands today, five spots are still up in the air. There will be a lot of drama over the next few weeks as the on track action heats up and the pressure to win becomes even fiercer.

It all culminates in Richmond, the cut-off race before NASCAR’s 10-race playoff kicks off in Chicagoland. Who’s in and who’s out, you’ll want to join us in Richmond to find out.

And when the field is set, join us on the track for our Post Race Party and celebrate the 16 drivers who qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. It’s a unique opportunity in our sport, unlike the ‘stick and ball sports.’ All the competitors with a chance to compete for the Sprint Cup championship in the same place at the same time. It’s a celebration of their accomplishments over the first 26 races and an opportunity to blow off some steam and then get ready for the Chase, and our Post Race Party is we put you right into the action.

Everyone with a ticket to the race can come down on the track after the race to celebrate with the drivers.

- Dennis Bickmeier
President, Richmond International Raceway
Kyle Busch will certainly be looking to add to his record 15 Bristol wins this weekend. 
After his injury caused him to miss out on both Bristol and Richmond’s spring races, you can be sure Kyle is itching to get back on a short track this weekend. Back in 2007-2012, you could have called Kyle the reigning King of Short Track Racing. He collected nine wins between RIR and BMS in those six years, including an NSCS sweep at Bristol in 2009 - and his 15 overall wins in Thunder Valley are more than any other driver in the track's history. However, the best he has done since then was a P2 finish at Bristol in the spring of 2013 – his last Top Ten finish at that track.

Don’t let Rowdy sneak up on you on Saturday night, though - It’s clear his standout summer gives his team tons of momentum heading into the weekend. Smart money says this former King is most definitely looking to reclaim his crown and firmly cement himself inside the top 30 in points.

No one is more aware of the Road to Richmond’s stop in Bristol this weekend than Kasey Kahne. But after two consecutive finishes off the lead lap in Bristol, he needs the half-miler to cooperate on Saturday night. With four straight Top 10 finishes from 2012-2014, this is probably his best bet to snag his first win of the season and lock in a fourth straight Chase appearance. Fan girls (and maybe a few guys) are praying to see a flash of “Kase-Lightning” in Thunder Valley this weekend.

Recent history hasn’t been kind to Kasey at RIR. His only win at the track came back in 2005, which was his very first Sprint Cup Series win. But since Kasey joined Team Hendrick, he has found himself finishing in the Top 10 only twice. On the bright side, one of those Top 10s was this past April at the TOYOTA OWNERS 400. A solid warm-up at Bristol might just be what this driver needs to recapture glory in Richmond.

Darlington is a wild card for Kasey. Despite four poles there, his most at any track on the circuit, he’s without a win there in 12 races. If he can throw it back at Darlington all the way to his first CWTS win in 2004, he might stand a chance. Luck needs to be a “Lady in Black” if Kasey hopes to continue his season.

A few other names to keep in mind as the season makes it's way to Bristol this weekend.

Fun fact! Jeff’s made The Chase ten out of eleven times since it began in 2004 (only missing 2005). History alone says he has a solid chance to secure his tenth consecutive Chase appearance, especially since nearly 20% of his career Sprint Cup wins have come from these next four tracks.

Where do you think Jeff has the best chance to secure a win on the Road to Richmond?

Welcome to the Road To Richmond
The Road to Richmond is winding down, as are the chances for drivers to race their way into The Chase.
Hot off the presses, our brand new blog is your first stop for all things fun AND informative. We’re not a news outlet – and we won’t pretend to be – but we can promise to highlight interesting storylines and exciting content happening NOW in our sport.

Together, we’ll journey the Road to Richmond; each week we’ll take a hard look at the drivers who need a win to lock in their spot in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Can they make it happen before the checkered flag drops at the Federated Auto Parts 400? They better hope so.

Drivers like Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, and last year’s surprise contender, Ryan Newman, could be relying on a Richmond win to further their 2015 season. Tony Stewart’s last Richmond win came in 2002, but Clint Bowyer might just have what it takes to conquer America’s Premier Short Track. Kasey Kahne’s best bet is probably at Bristol – he holds the qualifying record at Darlington, but has never snagged a win there. And will history help or hurt Jeff Gordon?

Follow along with us as the Road to Richmond unfolds!
Jeff’s empty win column looms large with only four races to go before The Chase field is set.
It’s no secret – Jeff’s final full season hasn’t gone quite according to plan. With no wins at any of his top tracks so far this year, his fans are starting to bite their nails. Fear not, Gordon Nation, for the future NASCAR Hall of Famer has a history of success at three of the remaining four races on the regular season schedule. First up – Michigan International Speedway. Jeff is the defending Pure Michigan 400 champ, plus his three wins and record Top 10 finishes (27) at MIS make him the clear favorite in the Irish Hills.

Jeff’s got a lot of work to do between now and Richmond. He's not without success at America's Premier Short Track - two career wins and a pair of second place finishes in 2014 - however his last win at the track came 15 years ago this September. In other words, his last Richmond trophy is nearly old enough to get its Learner’s Permit. We all know the "The Kid" responds well to pressure, but there's no doubt that’s a headache he'd like to avoid. Suffice to say, he’s going to be in a tough spot if he waits until the last minute to get on the Grid.

Sandwiched between this weekend's contest in Brooklyn and The Last Race to Make the Chase are Bristol and Darlington. With 12 wins between the two tracks, Jeff seems poised to make a big move over the next three weeks. You can bet all eyes are on Jeff Gordon this weekend as the Road to Richmond races into Pure Michigan.

Here's a look at a few others who need a win to secure their spot in The Chase.