Richmond International Raceway will have the second of two Cup races this year on Saturday night (September 8th). But more importantly, this event ends the regular season for 2012 before the Chase's ten-race playoff format starts. Several drivers will be contending for a win to ensure making the Top 10 or one of the two wildcard spots. So who will be victorious? Here are the top seven.
7. Jimmie Johnson - He has three wins at Richmond but nothing since '08. He's been one of the hotter drivers recently and looks like he may be the guy to beat for a championship this year.
6. Tony Stewart - He too has three wins at this track but that was ten years ago. He was third earlier this year at Richmond while leading over 100 laps. Expect him to be near or at the front again.
5. Carl Edwards - He is desperate for a win to help him possibly make the Chase. He's never won at Richmond but has five straight Top 10s plus he won a pole in 2010. Edwards should be near the front, perhaps battling for a win.
4. Kevin Harvick - He hasn't won a Cup or Nationwide event this year and appears antsy to do so. He won this race a year ago and has run decently of late with seven straight Top 10s so I'm expecting him to make a charge to the front.
3. Jeff Gordon - He's won twice at Richmond during his long career but not for quite some time. He was third at this race a year ago and he's another one that is frantic to get a win - which would almost certainly put the four-time champion in the Chase.
2. Denny Hamlin - He's the hottest driver in NASCAR right now and has finished out of the top 20 at Richmond only once in 13 starts. He has two wins at the track and was fourth earlier this season. He will be at the front battling for the victory.
1. Kyle Busch - Only Kyle Busch can stop Kyle Busch at Richmond. He's won four of the past seven races there and hasn't been out of the top six during that stretch. One interesting fact though: Busch has never won the Richmond race in September. Still, he needs a win to secure a spot in the Chase and he'll get it here. So there you have the answer - yes, Kyle does repeat.
A good long shot choice is Ryan Newman, who needs a win to vault himself into the Chase. He does have a win at the track and almost always has decent runs there. Again, the Federated Auto Parts 400 will take place Saturday evening at the three-quarter mile Richmond International Raceway and the broadcast is on ESPN at 7:00PM Eastern Time.
Sources - NASCAR, Racing Reference
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.
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