After trips to superspeedways, the West Coast and the longest racetrack on the schedule in Austin, Texas, NASCAR nestles into a series of legacy tracks for the next month, beginning with a trip to the “Old Dominion” – Virginia’s Richmond Raceway.
Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) marks the 133rd Cup race at the 0.75-mile oval short course, the third largest track behind Martinsville Speedway (148) and the Daytona International Speedway (151) to host a Premier Series event. Richmond is followed by two unique short courses at Bristol Motor Speedway (9 April) and Martinville (16 April) to round out a course of three races on sub-mile ovals.
Before the green flag drops, check out the trends you’ll be following throughout the race, notable moments on track, tire info and the action plan for the weekend.
RELATED: Richmond’s story cherished by all | Odds for Sunday
FENCES REPAIR 🤝
After last weekend’s race at the Circuit of the Americas, the mood was hot and while short-track action could bring more intensity, there must be some truth to the state phrase “Virginia is For Lovers”.
Specifically for Trackhouse Racing, teammates Ross Chastain and Daniel Suárez will have to set aside differences following their internal pit lane confrontation at COTA. On Wednesday, Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney offered his perspective when he had disagreements with teammates Joey Logano and Austin Cindric on the track.
“It’s important to try to set things right when you and a teammate have a crash because you can’t walk around the race shop and the crew members, you can’t let them be mad at each other too,” Blaney said. “It’s a strange situation between these guys. It’s like, ‘Oh, my driver’s mad at the teammate. Should we be mad at each other too?’ Then it’s a weird business dynamic, so these things have to be done quickly.”
MORE: Blaney on teammate relationships | Traces of the Suárez-Chastain incident
📈 TRENDS TO WATCH 📉
— Joe Gibbs Racing has won six of the last nine Cup races at Richmond
— Kyle Busch has had a top 10 finish in the last 10 races at Richmond
— Five different drivers have won the last five races at Richmond.
— Five of the last six short track races have been won from a starting position of 13th or worse (About Racing Insights)
— The driver who led the most laps failed to win the last four races at Richmond (About Racing Insights)
RELATED: Forecast Richmond results
REMARKABLE MOMENTS 🎥
1986: Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip go off the lead on the final laps | REGARD
2008: Kyle Busch spins Dale Jr. in the final laps | REGARD
2016: Edwards moves Kyle Busch to victory on the final lap | REGARD
2019: Truex scores first short track win of Cup Series | REGARD
ON-TRACK SCHEDULE 🗓️
Saturday April 1st
– 10:05am ET: Cup Practice (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
– 10:50am ET: Cup Qualifiers (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Sunday April 2nd
– 3:30pm ET: Toyota Owners 400 (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
MORE: Full weekend schedule in Richmond, Texas
RULE CHANGES/NOTES TO A GOOD YEAR OF TIRES
The rules package returns on Sunday, lowering the rear spoiler from four inches to two inches. Several updates have been made to the underbody of the vehicle, e.g. B. Removing three diffuser moldings, engine cowling moldings and trimming the diffuser outer fence.
The GEICO Restart Zone returned to its 2022 dimensions after it was extended for the first five races of this season.
Cup cars will run on the same tire codes used at Richmond last season for the first year of the next-gen car. Because Richmond is a high tire wear track, teams will be given nine sets of tires for the 400-lap event.
In the event of a lost wheel contained in the pit lane, the offending team will be assessed a drive-through penalty under green flag conditions. If the violation occurs during a caution period, the offending team will be restarted at the back of the field.
If the wheel comes off outside of the pit lane, the new rule guidelines impose a two-lap penalty as well as a two-race ban for two crew members. Each penalty is series specific: violations in one series do not affect the eligibility of those crew members to participate in other series.
After the Phoenix race, competition officials issued a safety violation for the loss or separation of an improperly installed tire/wheel from the vehicle (Sections 126.96.36.199 A&C) for the #10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford driven by Aric Almirola. Crew members Ryan Mulder (front tire changer) and Sean Cotten (jack) were suspended for two races.
RELATED: See rule changes for 2023
Fans can join the action all season long with NASCAR Fan Rewards, a free program that rewards fans for being in the action by watching races and playing NASCAR Fantasy.
Participation is free. Fans must be at least 18 years old to participate in the program.
Earn points by checking in to a race from home or at the track, setting your Fantasy Live lineup, making purchases from the NASCAR.com Store, and more. Points can be redeemed for race tickets, merchandise and VIP experiences at the track, including pace car rides and green flag waving in qualifying.
FANTASY LIVE 🏆
Do you want to manage a team and race to the top of the leaderboards? Check out NASCAR Fantasy Live, open now. The free-to-play game lets you choose your drivers each week and show off your Crew Chief instincts by subscribing to a driver by the end of Phase 2, and there’s a $25,000 prize for the winner.
How to play: Fantasy Live | Start a team today!
ALSO ON NASCAR.COM 💻
Get additional camera views by subscribing to NASCAR Drive, where in-car cameras will be available each week – as well as a battle cam and an overhead view.
NASCAR has partnered with LiveLike to add fan engagement to the NASCAR Mobile App. During the race, log into the mobile app to receive polls, quizzes, the cheer meter and more – and see instant results from NASCAR fans like you.
Source : sports.yahoo.com