Apr 25, 2014; Richmond, VA, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kevin Harvick (4) during practice for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Ice Picks - Richmond

Nothing beats a Saturday night Sprint Cup race in spring like short track racing on a personal and intimate 3/4 mile track like Richmond Motor Speedway.

The return to Richmond brings back the horror of last year’s season-ending fiasco I call “Spin Gate”.  It’s a time we all want to forget, so I won’t mention it again unless God forbid we have another.

With Friday’s qualifying cut short by the weather, NASCAR decided to go by first practice speeds, which sent rookie Kyle Larson to the pole position for Saturday’s race.

Kyle Larson is an easy pick for a filler driver in some fantasy games but keep this in mind, out of all the Sprint Cup races at Richmond, only 19% of all winners have come from the pole.

The top speeds during practice on Friday are as follows:

#31-Newman 124.235
#14-Stewart 123.468
#88-Earnhardt, Jr. 123.429
#22-Logano 123.378
#5-Kahne 123.310

The top ten starting spots produce the most wins but 13 winners have come out of 20th or deeper in the starting field and Kevin Harvick won last year’s spring race from the 17th starting position.

Chevrolet leads the series in wins at Richmond with 36 victories, followed by Ford with 29 and Toyota with seven.

Kyle Busch has racked up 3 wins, which leads all active drivers in the last five years, but Carl Edwards leads all active drivers with a 7.0 average finish including a win last September.

Last year’s spring winner was Kevin Harvick and, if his equipment holds up, he may very well have three wins for this season when the dust settles at Richmond Motor Speedway on Saturday night.

There have been two races resulting in green-white-checkered finishes at Richmond International Raceway: spring of 2008 (400/410) and spring of 2013 (400/406). There’s a good chance, in my opinion, we can get into overtime Saturday night.

I wouldn’t call this a “wild card” race, but if the tempers boil, the bumper will be the weapon of choice to move someone over or to possibly take a win.

Here are my Ice Picks for Richmond:

 

A List

 

Kyle Busch- with three win’s the past five years and running in the top ten most of this season.

Jeff Gordon- is running Chassis No. 24-816 for this Saturday night’s race. This chassis was first raced at Richmond in September 2013 when Gordon started first and led 49 laps en route to an eighth-place finish.

Kevin Harick- is running a new Chassis No. 4-868 Saturday night.

 

B List

 

Joey Logano- is running with Chassis PRS-905, its new for Richmond. Joey was among the leaders in practice.

Carl Edwards- is running Chassis RK, last run at Bristol, finishing first.

Denny Hamlin- runs good here and this is his home state track.

Brian Vickers- likes the minimal banking in the turns, should get you good points.

 

C List

 

Justin Allgaier- For those who can’t afford Kyle Larson. I’m picking Justin because he ran good during practice and loves his car for tomorrow night.

The weather won’t be a problem tomorrow night so relax and enjoy short track racing at its best.

Groupings are based on last years final point standings: A list 1-10, B list 11-25 and C list 25 and up including Rookies.

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Good Luck!

Tags: NASCAR Richmond International Raceway

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