TOP 10 DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS 

1. CLINT BOWYER #15

2. GREG BIFFLE #16

3. DALE EARNHARDT JR. #88

4. PAUL MENARD #27

5. KEVIN HARVICK #29

6. MATT KENSETH #20

7. JEFF GORDON #24

8. CARL EDWARDS #99

9. JEFF BURTON #31

10. BRAD KESELOWSI #2

Top 10 on Restrictor Plate tracks, Wednesday look for our Top 10 team rankings for Sunday’s AARON’S 499 from Talladega Super Speedway.  

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RACE PREVIEW

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AARON’S 499
TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
MAY 5th, 1 PM CHARLOTTE TIME FOX TV
2.66 MILES, 33 Degrees of Banking

This is race #10 and the 2nd restrictor plate race of the year. A restrictor plate regulates how much air gets into an engine and therefore restricts or limits how fast it can go. They are only used at two tracks: here at Talladega and at Daytona. Drivers fear these races as they force them to run very close together because the speeds are limited. This is the biggest oval track on the circuit and that often times leads to the biggest wrecks at any track. Drivers (and fans) are all waiting for “the big one” – a wreck that can sometimes take anywhere from one car to half of the field out. When the cars get bunched up like they do here it only takes one car getting loose to start a huge chain reaction pile up. We are only 9 races into the season and no one wants to get caught up in someone else’s mistake or misfortune. Many times drivers who know each other will move thru traffic on the track together nose to tail – “drafting” – and with the season just beginning, it will be interesting to see if old alliances stay intact or if new ones are formed due to team loyalties or drivers wanting to hook up with others they think can take them farther. Chevrolet has won 14 of the last 20 races here. Hendrick Motorsports has seven of those wins and Richard Childress Racing has three of them, and those three came in the last six races. Who will win this year? We’ll know on Sunday.  

Tuesday look for our Top 10 Owner/Teams in advance of the Aaron’s 499 from Talladega.

TOP 5 DRIVERS

TOYOTA OWNERS 400 from RICHMOND

The #5 driver to watch has to turn the heat up on his season, #29 Kevin Harvick. At 14th in points Kevin has to get a great finish and there is nowhere better than here where he is a two-time past winner with 24 starts, two wins and six Top 5’s. Kevin is very good at Phoenix which has some similarities to Richmond. Kevin is #3 best average finish and 13 of his last 16 starts here were Top 10’s.

 

My #4 driver to watch is the most recent winner here, #15 Clint Bowyer. Clint has 14 starts, two wins and three Top 5’s. Clint won here in September of last year and is a Top 5 short track driver.

 

My #3 driver is a three time former-winner here, #48 Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie has 21 starts, three wins and four Top 5’s. Jimmie is our points’ leader and has been unbelievable about finding his way into the Top five just about every week. He is a #2 ranked short track driver for me and is #3 hottest over the last six weeks.

The #2 driver just won last week at Kansas, #20 Matt Kenseth. Matt did get a win here in September of 2002 but has not really dominated in Richmond – he only has four Top 5’s in 26 starts. But when Matt comes in here this weekend it is in a Joe Gibbs Racing car who have dominated have dominated Richmond. Joe Gibbs’ Racing, has won six of the last eight races here.

 

My #1 driver to watch got his first win in the Commonwealth in the spring race of 2009. He came back in 2010 and 2011 and won again and then he did it for the fourth time last year, #18 Kyle Busch. Kyle has 16 starts and 12 of those were Top 5 finishes! Seven of his last eight races were Top 10’s and six of last eight were Top5’s. At Richmond, Kyle really is the driver to beat.

Monday we’ll preview the Aaron’s 499 from Talladega.

TOP 30 DRIVERS

TOYOTA OWNERS 400 from RICHMOND INT RACEWAY

 

1. KYLE BUSCH #18

2. MATT KENSETH #20

3. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48

4. CLINT BOWYER #15

5. KEVIN HARVICK #29

6. CARL EDWARDS #99

7. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2

8. RYAN NEWMAN #39

9. KASEY KAHNE #5

10. JEFF GORDON #24

11. TONY STEWART #14

12. MARK MARTIN #55

13. GREG BIFFLE #16

14. JAMIE McMURRAY #1

15. DALE EARNHARDT JR #88

16. A. J. ALLMENDINGER #51

17. MARCOS AMBROSE #9

18. BRIAN VICKERS #11

19. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA #42

20. JEFF BURTON #31

21. JOEY LOGANO #22

22. MARTIN TRUEX #56

23. KURT BUSCH #78

24. ARIC ALMIROLA #43

25. PAUL MENARD #27

26. DAVID RAGAN #34

27. RICKY STENHOUSE #17

28. CASEY MEARS #13

29. DAVE BLANEY #7

30. BOBBY LABONTE #47

 

 

Friday we break down the Top 5 drivers to watch.

TOP 10 TEAMS

TOP 10 TEAMS POST KANSAS

1. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS

2. JOE GIBBS RACING

3. ROUSH/FENWAY RACING

4. PENSKE RACING

5. MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING

6. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING

7. RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS

8. EARNHARDT GANASSI RACING

9. FURNITURE ROW RACING

10. STEWART HAAS RACING

 

For the seventh week in a row Hendrick Motorsports stay at #1. Joe Gibbs Racing gets the win and moves up a spot to #2. Roush/Fenway Racing move up to #3.  Penske Racing drop two spots to #4. Michael Waltrip Racing returns to the Top 5 at #5. Richard Childress Racing drops a place to #6. Richard Petty Motorsports stay at #7 and Earnhardt/Ganassi Racing stay at #8. Furniture Row Racing return to the Top 10 this week at #9. Stewart Haas Racing remain at #10.

 

These are the Top 10 Teams, Thursday look for our Top30 drivers at Richmond Int. Raceway.

TOP 10 DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: SHORT TRACK

1. KYLE BUSCH #18

2. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48

3. KEVIN HARVICK #29

4. CLINT BOWYER #15

5. CARL EDWARDS #99

6. JEFF GORDON #24

7. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2

8. RYAN NEWMAN #39

9. MATT KENSETH #20

10. DALE EARNHARDT JR. #88

Top 10 on Short tracks, Thursday look for our Top 30 rankings for Saturday’s Toyota Owner’s 400 presented by Virginia is for Lovers from Richmond International Raceway.   

RACE PREVIEW

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TOYOTA OWNERS 400
RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
APRIL 27, 7:30PM CHARLOTTE TIME FOX TV
¾ MILE 14 DEGREES of BANKING

The last race of the spring short track season promises the one constant of all short tracks:  short tempers. Success here will depend on how well you qualify and whether or not you can stay up front and hopefully out of the sheet metal bumping and bending that you usually find in the back and middle of the pack. Kyle Busch has won this spring race for the last four years in a row. Kyle and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin have won six of the last eight races here. That gives Joe Gibbs Racing the most wins in the last ten years of any owner (Six.) Denny is hurt but now Matt Kenseth has joined the team and he could easily be a factor in this race. Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing also seem to have this track down as each team has three wins in the last ten years. Will the Joe Gibbs Racing domination continue with the new Gen6 car? We’ll know Saturday night under the lights.

 

Tuesday look for our Top 10 drivers on short tracks.