Richmond Handicaps

Jimmie Johnson- Johnson got his first top 10 finish at Richmond in a big way finishing second here in May and leading 91 laps.

Jeff Gordon- Gordon has won two Richmond Cup races in 1996 and 2000 so mathematically I guess he should win one in 2004. But Gordon has been spastically sporadic here as of late. In the last ten Richmond races he has a win and four other top 10 finishes offset by five finishes outside the top 10 including three of 36th or worse. Truthfully Gordon doesn't have a lot riding on this race. He's in the playoffs either way and his points total is going to be whittled down to practically nothing after the race anyway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.- Earnhardt won here in May and won another Cup race at Richmond back in 2000 as a rookie. He has a total of seven top 10 finishes in ten starts here including his first ever career Cup top 10 back in 1999. In the Busch series Earnhardt just et this place up with three wins and a second place result in five starts.

Tony Stewart- Stewart has won three times here in eleven starts. Put prior to his fourth place finish here in May he'd missed the top 25 three straight times.

Matt Kenseth- Kenseth won here in 2002 and has five straight top 10 Cup finishes at Richmond coming into this weekend.

Elliott Sadler- Sadler is still looking for his first top 10 finish here at Richmond in eleven starts. He didn't miss by much here in May with an eleventh place result, his best ever at this track. But his average Cup finish at Richmond is still a dismal 27.5 and he's led only one lap here in those eleven races.

Kurt Busch- Busch has one top 10 finish in seven starts here. The other seven finishes were all eighteenth of worse. Busch has also only qualified inside the top 20 here once.

Ryan Newman- Newman won this race last year and had second place finishes in both 2002 Richmond Cup races as a rookie. He has top 10 finishes in four of five starts here and has led laps in every Cup race he's run at Richmond.

Kasey Kahne- Kahne finished 28th in his first Cup start at Richmond earlier this year, but he did finish ninth in that weekend's Busch event.

Mark Martin- Martin's only Richmond win occurred back in 1990 when the earth's crust was still cooling. Over the course of his career though Martin has posted some enviable stats at Richmond with 21 top 10 finishes in 37 starts. He's finished in the top 10 in four of the last five races here. Martin has also won five Busch series races at Richmond. They don't have to tape a map of the track on the dash of the 6 car to tell Martin how to get around this place.

Jamie McMurray- McMurray finished 38th in May's Richmond Cup race and hasn't managed a finish better than nineteenth in three Cup races he's run here to date. McMurray did manage a runner-up finish in the 2002 Richmond Busch race.

Bobby Labonte- Labonte has never won here but he has finished second twice. He comes into this weekend with finishes of sixth or better in the last three Richmond Cup race and top 10 results in five of the last seven Richmond outings.

Dale Jarrett- Jarrett has won here twice (1997 and 99). But his last five Cup races at Richmond have failed to yield a top 10 and he's finished thirtieth or worse in three of those races. Can Jarrett step up to the plate and make UPS stand for Unusual Points Situation this weekend?

Jeremy Mayfield- Mayfield was runner up in this race last year, by far his best ever Cup outing at Richmond. Both top 5s Mayfield has managed at Richmond have occurred in the last five races here.

Kevin Harvick- Harvick won a Busch race here and has finished in the top 3 in the last three Richmond Busch races. He's finished second in the last two truck races here. He hasn't won at Richmond in the Cup series but he almost did in 2001 before Ricky Rudd unleashed a little Ratt on him and reminded Harvick "Round and round, what goes around comes around, give it time." A sheepish Harvick finished second that night. There's no doubt Harvick knows his way around this place but his conduct after the fall Richmond Cup and Busch races last year was so utterly loathsome and despicable Richard Childress should have dragged him behind the trailer and horse-whipped the boy.

Casey Mears- Hard core fans will know that Mears has started three Richmond Cup races. What they're trying to figure out is why? To date his best finish here is 28th and that was his first stab at the joint. He's gotten worse in the subsequent two starts. But let's not overlook Mears Busch career here. He's run three Busch races at Richmond and finished terribly in each.

Michael Waltrip- You know if they could teach a mule to drive and that mule ran 37 races at a track and never won or even managed a top 5 finish the mule would probably be smart enough not to return to that track. But Waltrip isn't. He (Waltrip not the mule) did manage his first ever Richmond Cup top 10 here in the spring with a tenth place finish. And he has won a Bush race here so Waltrip should probably race on Friday then get his ass out of Richmond.

Jeff Burton- Burton has only one Richmond Cup win but it was a doozie. He edged out Jeff Gordon by .051 seconds in the fall race of 1998. Currently Burton has top 10 finishes in four of the last six Cup races here. Given Herculean odds could be a good dark horse pick.

Robby Gordon- Gordon did finish fourth here in the spring of 2003 but other than that he has finished outside the top 20 in his other eight Richmond Cup starts.

Rusty Wallace- Wallace's accomplishments at Richmond are the stuff of legends with six wins in 41 Cup starts here. He's scored top 5 finishes in 21 of those 41 starts and top 10s in 28 of those races for an overall career finishing average slightly worse than 9th. He's led over 3000 laps here! But he's missed the top 10 in three out of the last five races run here and hasn't led a lap at Richmond since the fall of 2001. OK, now I understand this Last Call business.

Others To Watch

Joe Nemechek- Nemechek won the spring race in 2003.

Greg Biffle- Biffle hasn't scored a top 10 finish here in a Cup race but he did finish second in this spring's Busch race. Biffle also finished first, second or third in the three truck races he's run at Richmond.

Sterling Marlin- Marlin has also started 37 Richmond Cup races without scoring a win here, but at least he has three top 5 finishes and eight top 10s so he hasn't dealt with a Waltripian Level of Ineptitude.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2004

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