The NASCAR Sprint Cup heads to Richmond International Raceway for the Saturday night running of the Toyota Owners 400 under the lights. This 3.4-mile flat track layout will allow for speeds that are just fast enough to keep the fans happy and slow enough for drivers to send messages to fellow competitors during the race.
When trying to find a winner in the race on Saturday you must look back to March 15 and the Phoenix race as the tracks are very similar in layout and set up.
The raceway at Richmond is similar to both Phoenix and New Hampshire and drivers with success on those tracks the past few years will be the favorites on Saturday night.
Kevin Harvick, at Phoenix, led for 224 of the 312 laps, winning for the fourth consecutive time at that track. Brad Keselowski finished sixth but led for 52 laps. Joey Logano finished eighth after leading for 35 laps. Jamie McMurray led the only other lap and finished second. Only four drivers led the entire race, which is a rarity.
Due to how he raced in Phoenix and has raced in the first eight races this season, Harvick is the odds on favorite to win on Saturday. He might have finished in 38th at Bristol, but still led six times and for 184 laps in the race. He was hit with bad luck in that race, but has 6 finishes in the top two this season in just eight starts, which is not bad.
On two occasions, Harvick has won during the same season at Phoenix and Richmond. In 2006 as well as 2013, he won both at Phoenix and both at Richmond.
He has won three times in his 28 starts in Richmond compared to winning seven times in Phoenix. Even though he races better in Phoenix, he is still a notch or two above the rest that do well on these tracks including Logano and Keselowski.
Last season Keselowski took the checkered flag during the spring in Richmond and Logano followed up with a win in the fall.
Two solid long shots on this track to look at are McMurray and Ganassi teammate Kyle Larson. McMurray was second in Phoenix and fourth in two of the last three races at Richmond.
Jeff Gordon has not won since 2000 at Richmond and has only two wins there over his entire career, but he finished second each time last season at Richmond. He should have good value with odds of 14 to 1 in this one.
Harvick is 9 to 2 to win. He has only won twice this season but has led for 950 laps through eight races. If he reaches 1,000, he will become the ninth driver in NASCAR history to lead 1,000 laps over nine races.