Toyota Owners 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN) favorites, sleepers, fades and Richmond (VA) Raceway track trends

TRACK: Richmond Raceway (.75 mile oval). DISTANCE: 400 Laps — STAGE 1: 70 Laps, STAGE 2: 160 Laps, FINAL STAGE: 170 Laps (300 Miles)


This will be the 133rd race of the history of NASCAR and the Cup Series at Richmond (VA) Raceway but this year, both races will take place under daytime conditions again instead of at night, making both races one in the same.

  • The Toyota’s are the heavy favorites with them sweeping the action at Richmond in 2018 and 2019 to go along with 9 trips to victory lane in the last 14 starts on the .75-mile D-Shaped Virginia oval including last spring. JGR went 1-2-3-4 across the finish line in Sept. 2019 as their top feat. They had the fastest race cars here last April too.
  • Richmond has been a championship precursor lately. 3 of the 4 Championship 4 drivers were in the top 6 last Fall. All 4 of them the year prior were in the top 6 in the 2021 Fall race and half were in the top five in the 2021 spring race. In 2020, 3 of the 4 were in the top five in the Fall race (only race of 2020 at Richmond). For 2019, they went 1-2-3-7 in the Fall race and 1-4-5-8 in the spring. In 2018, they went 1-2-3-14 in the Fall race and 1-4-5-14 in the spring.

Live In Race Betting Trends To Watch
• Strategy is key here and Denny Hamlin scored no stage points in his win last past spring while Kevin Harvick had no points in Stage 1 and was 4th in the second stage. 3 times since 2018 has someone swept both stages here but didn’t win.

Stage 1 finishes by eventual race winner: 10th, 2nd, 6th, no points, 3rd, 1st, 4th, 7th, 8th, no points, no points.

Stage 2 finishes by eventual race winner: 10th, 6th, 6th, no points, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 4th, 3rd, no points, 4th

However, on the season, three of the last four Stage 1 winners won the race. The only reason it isn’t 4-for-4 is because Tyler Reddick pit from the lead with three laps remaining in the opening stage last weekend in COTA. For the second stage, all six race winners this season finished in the top four including each of the last five weeks them finishing second, first, second, second and first respectively.

Also, starting position doesn’t typically matter here as much as it does in other places. Drivers say in qualifying, you attack this track for 2 laps but in the race, you have to baby the tires and take it easy. Push too hard in race mode, you fall backwards due to tire wear. It’s why 3 of the last 4 winners started outside of the top 10 including both Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick from 13th this last year and Alex Bowman from 24th the spring prior. In saying that, each of the last four winners on the season have come from a top three starting spot too.


Flat like Phoenix and Loudon. You can be aggressive with a 2 tire pit strategy in the final stage that might make it interesting as long as everyone doesn’t do the same thing. Day race though will be more abrasive on tires.

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – APRIL 03: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 03, 2022 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


Kevin Harvick (+500)

Worth a look on him this week. He was runner-up last spring and won last summer for his eighth Top-8 result in his last nine Richmond tries. He also has 20 consecutive Top-10 finishes at Phoenix too including what should have been a win last month and that track is the most similar to Richmond. Harvick has three Top-10 finishes in the last five weeks.

Christopher Bell (+700)

He was fourth and third respectively in 2021, sixth in the spring race after leading 63 laps last year after scoring a second place finish in the second stage. Then, Bell was a runner-up last summer in the return trip. Bell qualified in the top five at Phoenix and was sixth in the end too. He has four Top-6 finishes in six races run this season as well.

Denny Hamlin (+900)

He was runner-up in both races in 2021 including leading 207 laps in the spring and 197 more circuits in the Fall. Hamlin won last year’s spring race and fourth in the summer to tally 11 Top-6 finishes in his last 13 Richmond starts. He has just two Top-10 finishes this season however too.


Martin Truex Jr. (+1100)

He has to be one of the favorites, right? He absolutely needs a win and Truex has eight Top-5 finishes at Richmond in his last nine tries including four Top-2’s in his last seven at that. He was fourth last spring after leading 80 laps and scoring a stage win while being seventh last summer. My only pause is that Truex has one Top-10 finish in six weeks this season and hasn’t won a race in his last 50 starts too. However, that win was here in 2021 too though as well.

Kyle Busch (+1200)

He has nine straight top nine results including a top two in nearly half of his last 14 Richmond starts. He also had finished in the Top-10 in almost every short track event last season as well. Now, he’s in Chevrolet power…

Chris Buescher (+2800)

The RFK Racing driver finished third here last summer and 15th last spring.

Chase Briscoe (+5000)

Not much past stats to go off of but he won Phoenix last year and was fourth there last November there and seventh last month. He was 11th here last spring. The only thing is, five of his six finishes this season have been 15th or worse too.

Austin Dillon (+8000)

He surprised everyone in 2020 with a fourth place run at Richmond, but, he’s also had seven top 11 finishes in his last eight on this track. He was 10th in this race last spring too.

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – APRIL 18: Cole Custer, driver of the #41 Ford, and Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 18, 2021 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Who To Fade?

Hendrick Motorsports

Sure, Hendrick Motorsports has arguably had the top speed this season. However, it’s hard to pick them on a track that they’ve won on just once since 2009 (27 starts) and even that lone victory, was on a late race pit strategy and not with the quickest car.

Alex Bowman (+1800) lucked into that 2021 for his only Top-5 in 10 Richmond starts. William Byron (+400) used strategy and strategy only to lead 122 laps in his only Top-5 in nine Richmond starts last spring. Again, he didn’t have a top five car that day in terms of speed and chances to win. Kyle Larson (+600) has just one Top-5 finish in his last eight Richmond starts and that was only a fifth placed run in last year’s spring race.

They just haven’t had the speed to win at this track and I can’t bet on them to do so now either. Not for their odds.

Team Penske

Not one of Ryan Blaney’s (+1600) better tracks. He’s never had a Top-5 here in 13 Richmond starts. Austin Cindric (+10000) was 20th and 12th as a rookie and Joey Logano (+1600) was 17th and 6th himself. Logano and Cindric each struggled in Phoenix last month too.

Ross Chastain (+1800)

Was seventh in the 2021 Fall race and third in both stages last spring. However, he was only 19th and 18th respectively at the finish last year too.

Tyler Reddick (+1800)

He was third at Phoenix last month. However, he was also third in last year’s spring Phoenix race and finished 12th and 31st here too. His teammate now isn’t as strong here either.

Bubba Wallace (+5000)

26th and 13th respectively last year.

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