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Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway

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Jeff Burton says there's "no chance" Kevin Harvick will forget his win at Michigan to snap the second-longest winless skid of his career. Steve Letarte and Kyle Petty also review the turning point of the race.

When it comes to short-track racing, two NASCAR Cup Series teams have been dominant recently.

Of the eight most recent short-track races, Hendrick Motorsports has won five and Joe Gibbs Racing the other three.

The teams’ short-track power will be tested again this weekend as the Cup tour visits Richmond Raceway for the last short-track race of the regular season. Denny Hamlin, driving for JGR, won the April race at the track.

Sunday’s race (3 p.m. ET) will be televised by the USA Network.

Drivers to watch at Richmond:

FRONT RUNNERS

Kyle Busch


  • Points position: 8th
  • Last three races: 36th at Michigan; 11th at Indianapolis; 36th at Pocono
  • Past at Richmond: Six wins and 12 top 10s in the past 13 races

Busch’s season has taken a hard turn toward trouble. He hasn’t had a top 10 in the past eight races, so he’s arriving at Richmond at a good time. He’s the active driver leader in wins (six), top fives (18) and average finish (6.9) at the track.

Kyle Larson


  • Points position: 5th
  • Last three races: 7th at Michigan; 35th at Indianapolis; 5th at Pocono
  • Past at Richmond: Won in 2017; six finishes of seventh or better in past eight races

Like that other Kyle (Busch), Larson has been on a skid. He hasn’t won since the season’s second race. He was fifth in the spring race at Richmond, however, and typically runs well there.

Joey Logano


  • Points position: 6th
  • Last three races: 4th at Michigan; 6th at Indianapolis; 20th at Pocono
  • Past at Richmond: Won in 2014 and 2017; 17th in April

Logano has been a force at Richmond. In addition to his two career wins, he has 12 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. His 10.5 average finish is second only to the number he’s put up at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

Ryan Blaney


  • Points position: 2nd
  • Last three races: 5th at Michigan; 26th at Indianapolis; 33rd at Pocono
  • Past at Richmond: Best career finish of 7th April this year

Can he do it? Can Blaney, the only non-winner among the 16 playoff drivers, win to secure his place in the playoffs? That isn’t likely this week. He’s finished no better than seventh at Richmond (although he led a race-high 128 laps and won stage 1 in April).

Martin Truex Jr.


  • Points position: 4th
  • Last three races: 6th at Michigan; 21st at Indianapolis; 7th at Pocono
  • Past at Richmond: 3 career wins (two in 2019 and one in 2021)

Of the final three races in the regular season, Richmond is likely to be Truex’s best shot at joining the playoff grid with a victory. He has won three of the past six Richmond races and finished fourth in April this year. He fell out of the top 16 standings in the playoff race Sunday at Michigan.

Denny Hamlin


  • Points position: 17th
  • Last three races: 3rd at Michigan; 14th at Indianapolis; 35th at Pocono
  • Past at Richmond: Four career wins

Can Hamlin repeat his spring victory at Richmond in a race he led for only five laps? He has been one of the top Cup drivers in Richmond history, with four career wins and 11 finishes of sixth or better in the past 13 races.