NASCAR Preview

Last Updated Saturday, May 9, 2009 1:40 am, EDT

Race Capsule

Richmond International Raceway
  • What:

    Race 9 of 35 on XFINITY circuit

  • Where:

    Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, VA

  • When:

    May 1, 2009 7:43 pm EDT

  • Laps:


  • Track Length:

    0.75 miles

  • Race Length:

    188.00 miles

  • Purse:


Drivers to Watch

Matt Kenseth Kenseth ran in the top five for most of the first race at Pocono, but he ended up 16th when he had to pit for fuel in the waning laps. He has eight top-10 finishes in 19 starts at the track. "You need a lot of horsepower to get down the long straightaways, and you have to have a good handling car to carry that momentum through the turns," said Kenseth.
Kyle Busch Pocono has not been one of Busch's better tracks -- he has finished in the top 10 only twice in nine starts. Even though he was 43rd (last) in this race last year and 22nd in June, he said the team "ran a lot better there the last two races but ran out of gas there last August and didn't get great fuel mileage there in June and it ruined our day. We just haven't had any luck, so I'm hoping we can get that back and get some good finishes over the next several weeks."
Joey Logano Logano finished 23rd in his Pocono debut in June. "I'm looking forward to this weekend," said Logano. "Aside from Daytona, which is a different kind of race, this is the first track that I am going back to for a second time. That's a huge confidence booster going into the race weekend. We will be able to unload off the track and really get to tuning on the race car."
Mark Martin Pocono may seem like Martin's kind of track, but he has never driven to victory at the 2-1/2-mile triangle even though he has a solid record there -- 19 top-five and 31 top-10 finishes in 45 starts. He was eighth last August and 19th in June. Martin is on track to have his best season in the points, but he's not waiting to put it in that category. "This already is the best year ever," he said. "It's been the most fun ever. It's been the most rewarding and humbling at the same time to be able to be a part of Hendrick Motorsports. Rick (Hendrick, team owner) makes it so much fun. I feel like being a part of (crew chief) Alan Gustafson's season and watching him get recognized for the incredible ability he and this team have is just the best. And the thought that I could have been sitting at home instead of spraying champagne -- (put) all of that together and it's just beyond my dreams."
Carl Edwards Edwards is another two-timer at Pocono with wins in June 2005 and last August. He has four top-five and five top-10 finishes in nine starts there and had another good finish (second) in June. "Our last race at Pocono was our best run of the season," Edwards said. "I have all the confidence going back that we will have a great race there. We have had a lot of success there, and hopefully we will be a force there this time."
Kevin Harvick Harvick finished fourth a year ago in the August race at Pocono for his fifth top-10 finish in 17 starts at the track. Harvick struggled in the June race, however, and finished 24th. He will drive the same car that he ran last week at Indy. "For me, the trickiest part of Pocono is the tunnel turn," said Harvick. "You have to carry so much speed into that turn that there is not much room for error."
Burton finished ninth in the June race at Pocono for his 15th top-10 finish in 31 starts at the track. "Pocono is a place where I always feel like we run well, but we certainly have never run well enough to win," said Burton, who needs another top-10 run on Sunday to boost his chances of making the Chase. He is 228 points back of 12th-place Matt Kenseth.