Richmond Handicaps

Dale Earnhardt Jr.- Earnhardt won a Cup race here as a rookie back in 2000 and has six top 10 finishes in nine Cup starts at Richmond. He finished third in this race last year. Junior also won three of the five Busch races he started at Richmond and finished fourth in another. He knows his way around here.

Jimmie Johnson- In four Richmond Cup starts Johnson has yet to post a top 10 finish here, though he just missed with an eleventh place result in last fall’s Cup race.

Jeff Gordon- Gordon has a pair of Cup wins at Richmond scored in 1996 and 2000, so mathematically he’s due in one of this year’s races here. While earlier in his career this was a great track for Gordon he hasn’t had a top 5 finish here in the last five races and has missed the top 10 three times in those races.

Matt Kenseth- Kenseth has four straight top 10 finishes at Richmond heading into this weekend’s race, including a win in the fall 2002 event and seventh place results in both last year’s races. In the Busch series he had eight top 10 finishes in ten starts at Richmond.

Kurt Busch- While he’s dominated at the short track in Bristol lately, Richmond hasn’t been kind to Busch. He has just one top ten finish (eighth in this race last year) in six Cup starts here. He did win a pole and finished third during the 2000 Craftsman Truck weekend here.

Kevin Harvick- Harvick’s post-race antics after both Richmond races here last fall were over the top with him confronting Matt Kenseth after the Busch race and Ricky Rudd after the Cup event. Perhaps Harvick is still smarting after knocking Rudd out of the way in the fall 2001 Cup race to take the lead late only to have Ricky run him back down and move the 29 masterfully aside not too much later in the race. Harvick finished second in that race, one of two too 10 finishes he’s managed in Cup races here. Harvick did win the Busch race here last spring.

Ryan Newman- Newman won here last fall and finished second in two of his other three Cup starts at Richmond. Oddly enough he has yet to claim a pole here.

Tony Stewart- Stewart won his first Cup race at Richmond and has scored two additional Cup victories here since. He’d have had a fourth win here but he and Dale Earnhardt Jr. collided on pit road and Stewart, who’d been leading the race, cut down a tire prior to the restart. Oddly enough Stewart hasn’t finished better than 27th since winning this race in 2002. And with his driving as of late, Stewart might be in for some payback from any number of drivers this weekend.

Bobby Labonte- While Labonte has never won here, he has finished second at Richmond twice, including in last spring’s race. Labonte has top 10 finishes in four of his last six Cup starts at Richmond

Elliott Sadler- This track has been a personal Waterloo for Sadler. In ten starts the best he’s ever finished here is seventeenth and his average finish is around 29th. In his last three Cup starts here, Sadler has finished 34th or worse.

Kasey Kahne- Kahne finished eleventh and eighth here last year in the two Richmond Busch series races.

Jamie McMurray- McMurray had two unexceptional Cup runs at Richmond last year, but he was the runner-up in last fall’s Richmond Busch series race.

Mark Martin- Martin won a Cup race at Richmond way back in 1990. He’s finished sixth or better in three of the last four Cup race here, and has a total of twenty top 10 finishes in 36 career Cup starts at Richmond.

Rusty Wallace- In forty career starts Wallace has won at Richmond six times (more than any other active driver) and he’s scored a total of 21 top 5 finishes in those forty starts here. Since 1992 Wallace has missed the top 10 just once in the Richmond spring race and he’s won three of those spring races.

Sterling Marlin- Marlin hasn’t had a top ten finish here since 1999. In 36 Cup starts at Richmond he has just three top 5 finishes and a total of eight top 10s.

Jeremy Mayfield- Mayfield was the runner-up in last fall’s Cup race here. He’s made twenty career Cup starts here and both his top 5 finishes have occurred in the last four races run here. At least he’s improving.

Casey Mears- Mears struggled mightily at Richmond last year finishing 28th and 41st in the two Cup races.

Dale Jarrett- Jarrett has won here twice (most recently in 1999) but has been off his feed a little at Richmond as of late. He hasn’t cracked the top 20 in the last four Cup races run here

Robby Gordon- Gordon went several laps down in this race last year but rallied back for a fourth place finish (in the era prior to the Lucky Dog pass.) Prior to that his Richmond Cup results were an exercise in futility with no other finishes inside the top 25 in eight Richmond starts.

Joe Nemechek – Nemechek’s most recent Cup victory occurred at Richmond in 2003. Oddly enough that was his only career top 5 finish here in twenty starts and he has just three top 10s total in Cup races here.

Others To Watch

Terry Labonte – Labonte has won here three times, most recently in 1998. Overall his career Richmond stats are solid with 27 top 10 finishes in 51 Cup starts here, but as of late Richmond hasn’t been as kind to Labonte. Since finishing second in this race in 2000, Labonte has finishes outside the top 20 six times in seven races.

Ricky Rudd – To date, Rudd’s last Cup win on an oval occurred at Richmond back in 2001. He’s got top 10 finishes in six of the last eight Cup races run here and could surprise some people on Saturday.

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