It’s a NASCAR Short Track Battle at Richmond Sunday

William Byron in the #24 car spinning in front of other cars at Richmond Raceway 4-2-23
William Byron in the #24 car spinning in front of other cars at Richmond Raceway 4-2-23 (Photo credit: YouTube)

This week the NASCAR drivers will have the chance to settle some scores as they go short trackin’ at Richmond Raceway in the Cook Out 400.

There have been some issues taking place on the track between drivers in recent weeks. These issues have left drivers feeling disrespected by other drivers. Just last week Denny Hamlin got into the side of Kyle Larson’s car sending him to the wall with a few laps left in the race. Corey LaJoie also had an on-track incident with Ryan Preece which led to an altercation after the race on pit road.

When a driver has an issue with another driver, they often look for a chance to get payback. That chance is very likely to present itself on a short track with the cars racing side-by-side and bumper-to-bumper almost all race long.

Here is the data for the track and this week’s race at Richmond.

Richmond Raceway Data:
Track Size: 0.75-mile (3/4-mile)
Banking/Turns: 14 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 8 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 2 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 1,290 feet
Backstretch Length: 860 feet

Cook Out 400 Data:
Season Race #: 22 of 36 (July 30, 2023)
Race Length: 400 laps / 300 miles
Stage 1 Length: 70 laps
Stage 2 Length: 160 laps
Final Stage Length: 170 laps

Here are the active drivers that have won a NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond in their careers.

Kyle Busch6 Wins2018 sweep, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
Denny Hamlin4 Wins2022, 2016, 2010, 2009
Kevin Harvick4 Wins2022, 2013, 2011, 2006
Martin Truex Jr3 Wins2021, 2019 sweep
Kyle Larson2 Wins2023, 2017
Brad Keselowski2 Wins2020, 2014
Joey Logano2 Wins2017, 2014
Alex Bowman1 Win2021

Will Kyle Larson put his issue with Denny Hamlin aside to try to get the season sweep at Richmond after winning the spring race at the track? If the situation is there, will he bump Denny Hamlin for payback and the win?

Denny improved his position in the standings with the win last week. If the situation presents itself, will he again bump his way to a win this week … even if that means bumping Kyle Larson again?

Will Ryan Preece get payback with Corey LaJoie and collect other drivers in the process to change the outcome of the race?

Counting this weekend’s race, there are only five left before the Playoffs begin. There are less than a race worth of points dividing three cars under the cut line and two above it. There are drivers that know they will have to win to get in. How will they approach racing on the short track? What will they be willing to do to ensure they make the post-season list of 16 drivers?

There are so many things that can happen on a short track. That is what typically make them the most fun to watch for fans.

We will see what stories develop when the green flag waives to start the Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway Sunday, July 30th at 2 p.m. central time (3 p.m. eastern time).

By: Buck Stevens

Buck Stevens