Ford Performance Goes Back to Back as Harvick Wins at Richmond

0
365
Richmond Raceway, Richmond, VA — August 14, 2022

For the second time this season, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Richmond Raceway for some Sunday afternoon side-by-side short track action in the Federated Auto Parts 400.

Only three races remain in the 2022 regular season (Richmond, Watkins Glen, and Daytona) to decide the 16-driver Playoff field, and for the first time in the elimination-style format of Playoffs (2014-2022), the series has produced 15 different winners leaving just one spot still open on points. With such limited time left and only one spot remaining, the intensity amongst the competitors vying to make the postseason is growing by the second.

The Playoffs

The following seven drivers have clinched a spot in the 16-driver postseason field: Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, William Byron, Tyler Reddick, and Denny Hamlin.

The following drivers would clinch with a win: Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, and Kurt Busch.

There is only one spot remaining in the playoff standings. Ryan Blaney holds that position based on points and is 19 ahead of Martin Truex Jr., the first driver outside looking in.

Of course, a win today by anyone in the top 30 in points that have not yet won a race this year is going to fill the 16 diver field. At that point, points earned matter if there is another new winner at Watkins Glen or Daytona. Kurt Busch is currently the low man in points among race winners. He sits out his fourth race in a row after suffering a concussion at Pocono, and Ty Gibbs again fills the seat in the #45 car of 23XI Racing.

Richmond History

This week the NASCAR Cup Series teams will be dialing in the Next Gen cars for the close, beating, and banging-type racing the fans have come to love at short tracks like Richmond. Originally known as the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, Richmond Raceway held its first race in 1946 as a half-mile dirt track.

The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway was run on April 19, 1953, and was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty with an average speed of 45.535 mph.

The first 24 NASCAR Cup Series races held at Richmond Raceway were run on a dirt surface (1953-1968). NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson won the final Richmond race on dirt.

 The track surface was changed from dirt to asphalt between Cup Series races in 1968, with NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty winning the first NASCAR Cup Series race on the paved Richmond surface on September 8, 1968.

Who Runs Well at Richmond

NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Richmond Raceway with 13 victories (spring 1961, 1967 sweep, fall 1968, fall 1970, 1971 sweep, 1972 sweep, 1973 sweep, fall 1974, and spring 1975). Petty’s 13 Richmond wins are the third-most victories by a single driver at a single track in NASCAR Cup Series history, behind his 15 wins at Martinsville and North Wilkesboro.

Nine of the 53 NASCAR Cup Series Richmond Raceway winners are active this weekend, led by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch with six victories (spring 2009, spring 2010, spring 2011, spring 2012, 2018 sweep). Busch’s JGR teammates, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. are the two most recent winners at Richmond, with Hamlin taking the victory back in April, and Truex is the defending winner of this weekend’s race from last season.

Active Race Winners (9) Wins Season
Kyle Busch 6 2018 sweep, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
Denny Hamlin 4 2022, 2016, 2010, 2009
Kevin Harvick 3 2013, 2011, 2006
Martin Truex Jr 3 2021, 2019 sweep
Brad Keselowski 2 2020, 2014
Joey Logano 2 2017, 2014
Kurt Busch 2 2015, 2005
Alex Bowman 1 2021
Kyle Larson 1 2017

 

Other Stories to Watch

This week, Petty GMS announced that Las Vegas native and current full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson will pilot the No. 42 Petty GMS in 2023. Gragson will be replacing Ty Dillon, who currently drives No. 42 this season. Bubba Wallace signed an extension with the team owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin, 23XI racing.

Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott and current point standings leader can clinch the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championship presented by Coca-Cola this weekend if he earns 58 points at Richmond Raceway.

If Elliott wins the Regular Season Championship this season, he will become the fifth different driver to accomplish the feat since the award was created in 2017; joining Kyle Larson (2021), Kevin Harvick (2020), Kyle Busch (2019, 2018) and Martin Truex Jr. (2017).

After Stewart-Haas Racing Kevin Harvick snapped his 65-race winless streak last weekend at Michigan, everybody in the garage has got to think they have a chance to win this season. So, who else is facing a mounting winless streak they would like to see ended?

The top 10 longest active winless streaks by drivers that have previously won in the NASCAR Cup Series are – in descending order – Chris Buescher (218 races since his last win), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (186 races), Justin Haley (113 races), Erik Jones (103 races), Cole Custer (78 races), Austin Dillon (77 races), Michael McDowell (58 races), Brad Keselowski (49 races), Aric Almirola (37 races) and Ryan Blaney (33 races). Of the group listed trying to end their winless streak, only RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski has won at Richmond Raceway (2014, 2020).

Today’s Race

The Federated Auto Parts 400 will cover 300 miles on the three-quarters-of-a-mile raceway. With stages set for 70/160/170 laps. Kyle Larson sits on the pole with Ross Chastain beside him in the front row. Martin Truex Jr. starts sixth and Ryan Blaney in 10th.

Also in the top 10 starting positions are Cole Custer(7th), Brad Keselowski(8th), and Michigan’s Erik Jones(9th). All non-winners in 2022.

Stage One

Ross Chastain(1) took the lead at the drop of the green flag. However, the field only completed three laps before Tyler Reddick(8) spun off the bumper of Ty Dillon(42), bringing out the first caution of the day.

Chastain again cleared Kyle Larson(5) on the restart to maintain the lead. By the halfway point of the Stage, Chastain had built a two-and-a-half-second lead on Denny Hamlin(11), who moved into second. Larson ran third, with Brad Keselowski(6) and William Byron(24) rounding out the top five.

Ryan Blaney(12) ran in the sixth position with Martin Truex Jr.(19) in 9th. The top six remained the same to the conclusion of the stage when the green and white waved. Truex dropped to 10th and lost four points to Blaney, with the gap now at 23 between the pair.

Martin Truex Jr. races at Richmond Raceway / NASCAR Photo

Stage One Results

POS CAR DRIVER POINTS
1 1 Ross Chastain
2 11 Denny Hamlin 0.744
3 5 Kyle Larson 1.98
4 6 Brad Keselowski* 3.347
5 24 William Byron 4.191
6 12 Ryan Blaney* 5.053
7 22 Joey Logano* 5.805
8 48 Alex Bowman 7.49
9 41 Cole Custer* 8.213
10 19 Martin Truex Jr. 10.829

*Ford Mustang Drivers

Stage Two

Chastain was the first driver off pit road after the Stage ending service stops. He was followed by Larson, Hamlin, Blaney, and Byron. Chastain led into turn one on the drop of the green flag, but it was Joey Logano(22) making the big move around the outside from back in the lead pack.

After leading 79 laps, Chastain surrendered the lead to Logano, and the #1 car dropped back to fifth in the running order.

Early in the Stage, Kyle Busch(18), fighting for a spot in the top 20, put a bumper to the rear of Ty Gibbs(45) using the “bump and run” to make the pass. The teenager was not intimidated by the six-time Richmond winner, and he copied the move on the net lap to regain the position. If Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing cannot agree on the terms of a new contract, it is rumored that Ty Gibbs may take over the seat in the #18 car in 2023.

Green flag pit stops began at lap 55, and Logano was able to extend his lead over Larson to four seconds during their pit sequences. Blaney ran sixth, and Truex 10th after stops were completed. One more service stop will be made in Stage Two as almost all teams are using the two-stop strategy during the longer portions of the race.

Aric Almirola(10) started in the 32nd position. Halfway through the second Stage, he had worked his way up to fifth. Almirola is another non-winner in 2023. Blaney improved his position to fourth while Truex dropped to 13th, also at the 80 lap point of Stage Two.

The second round of green flag pit stops began with 59 laps to go in the Stage. This time Larson cut the lead by a second when everyone returned to the track.

Blaney’s crew was not sure they got the left side tires tight before the jackman dropped the car. After reviewing the video of the stop, they felt it was not a problem. But, Blaney complained he felt he had a tire loose.

Truex had a slow pit stop and went a lap down to Logano, putting him at a big disadvantage to Blaney in their race for points. With ten laps to go in the Stage, Truex was able to unlap himself.

Larson cut the deficit between himself and the leader to under a second, but Logano was able to hold on for the Stage win. Blaney added six more points to his lead over Truex, with the interval now sitting at 29 points.

Stage Two Results

POS CAR DRIVER POINTS
1 22 Joey Logano* 10
2 5 Kyle Larson 9
3 11 Denny Hamlin 8
4 4 Kevin Harvick* 7
5 12 Ryan Blaney* 6
6 10 Aric Almirola* 5
7 17 Chris Buescher 4
8 9 Chase Elliott 3
9 14 Chase Briscoe* 2
10 18 Kyle Busch 1

*Ford Mustang Drivers

The Final Stage

Larson was first out of the pits, and he was able to keep Logano, who exited second, behind him on the restart. Chastain and Kyle Busch got together in heavy traffic out of turn four and spun in the middle of the pack. Neither car was seriously damaged.

This time Logano timed the start perfectly and jumped ahead of Larson as they exited turn two on the restart. Cautions breed cautions; running in the middle of the pack Christopher Bell(20) spun unassisted, and the yellow was out again.

Again, Logano got the jump while Larson dropped into a battle for second with Chase Briscoe(14). Kevin Harvick(4) and Almirola sat fourth and fifth. Blaney ran 10th, and Truex sat in 12th.

Kevin Harvick / NASCAR Photo

Logano drove off to a two-second advantage over Larson. Then the top five shuffled positions as Harvick moved to second, Chris Buescher(17) third, Chase Briscoe(14), and Hamlin took fifth.

Green flag pit stops began on lap 294, and when everyone had cycled through pit road, Logano was back out front with a one-second lead over Harvick. Chase Elliott(9) moved up into the fourth position with Buescher ahead and Almirola behind.

With 70 laps to go, Harvick got side-by-side with Logano for the lead. After racing for five laps, Harvick was able to make the pass. Logano had led for 222 laps. Final pit stops began with 60 laps to go.

Joey Logano(22) and Kevin Harvick(4) race at Richmond Raceway / NASCAR Photo

Harvick maintained the lead once everyone had pitted. However, Buescher was closing the gap from second to first. Logano began to fade away from the leaders falling back to the third position.

For the first time since early in the race, Truex was in front of Blaney as they ran in ninth and eleventh, respectively.

The Finish

Both of the leaders were working their way through lapped traffic as the interval fluctuated around a half-second with 30 laps to go. With 20 to go, Harvick negotiated the slower cars better than Buscher, growing the gap to a second-and-a-half.

For the second week in a row, Harvick takes the checkered flag and serves notice that he is now a contender to be reckoned with in the playoffs.

Truex finished seventh, three positions ahead of Blaney in tenth. But still lost ground in the points due to Blaney’s performance in the first two Stages of the race.

Playoff Standings

RK DRIVER POINTS STATUS
1 Chase Elliott 882 In Win(4)
2 Ross Chastain 739 In Win(2)
3 Joey Logano* 718 In Win(2)
4 Kevin Harvick* 665 In Win(2)
5 William Byron 649 In Win(2)
6 Denny Hamlin 574 In Win(2)
7 Tyler Reddick 563 In Win(2)
8 Kyle Larson 745 In Win
9 Christopher Bell 703 In Win
10 Kyle Busch 663 In Win
11 Alex Bowman 592 In Win
12 Daniel Suarez 574 In Win
13 Austin Cindric* 556 In Win
14 Chase Briscoe* 549 In Win
15 Kurt Busch 485 In Win
16 Ryan Blaney* 766 +26
NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Cut Line
17 Martin Truex Jr. 740 -26
18 Aric Almirola* 552 -214
19 Erik Jones 540 -226
20 Bubba Wallace 517 -249

*Ford Mustang Drivers

Results of the Federated Auto Parts 400 from Richmond Raceway

POS CAR DRIVER BEHIND LAPS
1 4 Kevin Harvick 400
2 20 Christopher Bell 0.441 400
3 17 Chris Buescher 2.492 400
4 11 Denny Hamlin 3.839 400
5 9 Chase Elliott 6.672 400
6 22 Joey Logano 12.152 400
7 19 Martin Truex Jr. 13.205 400
8 10 Aric Almirola 13.848 400
9 18 Kyle Busch 15.978 400
10 12 Ryan Blaney 18.716 400
11 24 William Byron 21.550 400
12 2 Austin Cindric -1 399
13 23 Bubba Wallace -1 399
14 5 Kyle Larson -1 399
15 6 Brad Keselowski -1 399
16 3 Austin Dillon -1 399
17 42 Ty Dillon -2 398
18 1 Ross Chastain -2 398
19 99 Daniel Suarez -2 398
20 48 Alex Bowman -2 398
21 31 Justin Haley -2 398
22 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -2 398
23 14 Chase Briscoe -3 397
24 16 Noah Gragson -3 397
25 21 Harrison Burton -3 397
26 41 Cole Custer -3 397
27 38 Todd Gilliland -3 397
28 7 Corey LaJoie -3 397
29 34 Michael McDowell -5 395
30 77 Landon Cassill -5 395
31 8 Tyler Reddick -6 394
32 15 JJ Yeley -7 393
33 78 BJ McLeod -8 392
34 51 Cody Ware -9 391
35 43 Erik Jones -160 240
36 45 Ty Gibbs -220 180