Photo courtesy of Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images
It’s a two-race weekend at Richmond Raceway this weekend as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs are in full swing while the Cup Series has just three races to go before the 16-driver postseason field is set.
Here’s what to keep your eye on at the 0.75-mile short track.
1. The 16th Cup Series winner
One open spot is left in the Cup Series playoffs and two drivers still seeking their first wins of the season include 2017 champion Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney. Truex has won three of the last six races at Richmond and hasn’t finished outside the top five since the spring race in 2018. He’s led 725 laps during his top-five stretch.
Historically, Richmond hasn’t been a good track for Blaney but two-straight top-10 runs and 128 laps led in the spring race certainly give the driver of the No. 12 Ford confidence heading into the weekend. Blaney currently holds a 19-point lead over Truex on the playoff cutline.
Outside of those two, Austin Dillon could surprise Sunday. He’s got three top 10s in his last four Richmond starts.
2. Can Bubba Wallace make it five top 10s in a row?
Wallace owns an average finish of 25.1 at Richmond but like he did at the Indianapolis Road Course, scoring a top-five result, the driver of the No. 23 Toyota can capitalize on his momentum and a new extension by ending his woes on the short track. He finished 26th and three laps down in the spring.
3. Kyle Busch’s disastrous summer
The two-time Cup Series champion currently has an average finish of 15.4, which is his worst since the 2014 season. Why is that?
Dating back to Sonoma Raceway in June, Busch has not scored a top-10 finish and he has zero momentum heading to Richmond as he was involved in an early crash at Michigan last Sunday. He’s DNF’d in two of the last three races.
Busch had a decent run on the 0.75-mile short track in the spring as he finished ninth.
4. Grant Enfinger finding 2020 form
Enfinger made the Championship 4 in 2020, scoring four top 10s in the playoffs that year. After going winless in the regular season, the driver of the No. 23 for GMS Racing is playing spoiler and has a good chance to go back-to-back as he won the Richmond night race two years ago.
John Hunter Nemechek won the most-previous Truck race at Richmond in the spring of 2021.
5. Who will be the two Truck drivers eliminated?
I think many NASCAR fans expect Matt Crafton to miss out on the Round of 8 but Enfinger entered the postseason as the second driver below the playoff cutline with Crafton. With Enfinger locking his spot into the Round of 8, Christian Eckes is now in the danger zone sitting seven points below the cutline. Carson Hocevar currently holds the eighth and final spot while Ty Majeski is seventh, 19 points above the cutline.