This weekend NASCAR drivers head to Richmond where Sprint Cup Series drivers will race in the Richmond 400, also known as the Capital City 400, at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, April 28, 2012, with a race start of 7 p.m. EDT. Who will capture the checkered flag? Here is a look at the top five Sprint Cup drivers with the best chances to win.
Denny Hamlin is probably on everyone's list of the most likely drivers to capture the victory in the Virginia night race. He's got the momentum going this season, taking his second win just last weekend in Kansas at the STP 400. Hamlin has a good record at his home track in Richmond with two wins, six top-five finishes, eight top-10 finishes and two poles.
Hamlin also has an impressive average race finish of 7.6 and he's led for 1,188 laps in his career here, second only to Jeff Gordon.
Will Kyle Busch finally make some noise here in Virginia? He's failed to capture the checkered flag so far this season, but he was the winner of the spring race here last year. He's tied for the most wins in Richmond with three and has an average finish of just 5.0. While I don't think 2012 will be Kyle's year, he's got some very good odds to win the Richmond 400 on Saturday and can't be discounted.
While my favorite driver, Jeff Gordon, seems to have run into a bad streak of luck in 2012, I've got to hope he'll do something this weekend in Richmond. He holds the record for the most poles of all the active drivers at five and is ranked at the top for most laps led at 1,143. Gordon has visited victory lane here twice and has 15 top-five and 24 top-ten finishes.
Kevin Harvick was last fall's race winner, and although he doesn't have the top stats of all drivers in Richmond, I feel he'll have a strong finish. Harvick has two victories, six top-fives and 14 top-tens with an average race finish of 11.5. In ten different races Harvick has finished inside the top-ten and barring any engine troubles or accidents he could be a surprise winner in the Richmond 400.
Jimmie Johnson is still trying to latch onto the 200th victory for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson has been extremely close the last two weekends, taking a second place finish at the Texas Motor Speedway on April 14 and a third place finish in the STP 400 just last Sunday.
With a pretty stellar record at the Richmond track that includes three wins, five top-fives and seven top-tens, will he get that elusive 200th win? He's another driver that should have a strong finish, but if doesn't capture the checkered flag we can expect to see some tempers flying following the Richmond 400.
K.C. Dermody grew up watching auto racing at the old Baylands Raceway in Fremont, California, and has been a fan ever since.
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