Race Weekend Central

Numbers Game 09/03/2012

by Garrett Horton

Chase hopeful Joey Logano needs a win at Richmond to make this year’s Chase. It will be tough given Logano’s history at the short track – he hasn’t led a single lap in his seven career starts.

Since announcing he would be leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the conclusion of this year, Matt Kenseth has just one top-5, which was a third at Daytona in July.

Jeff Gordon has two career victories at Richmond International Raceway, but none since 2000. Despite the winless drought, it is a venue has remained competitive in recent years. In his last 11 starts, he has 8 top-10’s and has led 659 laps.

Only three drivers have finished every race this year – Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Greg Biffle, and Paul Menard.

Denny Hamlin picked up his fourth win of the season on Sunday night at Atlanta. Continuing the trend from his win at Bristol last week, all four of his victories this season have been first time visits to Victory Lane at those venues.

Ryan Newman’s best finish at Richmond since 2005 was a fourth place effort in the spring race in 2009. It is his only top-5 at the three-quarters of a mile track since then.

With his crash at Atlanta, Jimmie Johnson now has five DNF’s on the year.

Kyle Busch has simply been amazing at Richmond since arriving on the Sprint Cup scene in 2005. However, his numbers for its second race are nowhere near as impressive as they are in the spring. His average finish in the fall race is _only_ a 7.7 compared to his 2.1 average in the first event. Perhaps more importantly, he has yet to win NASCAR’s final regular season race despite owning four consecutive spring victories at RIR.

Crew chief Darian Grubb now has nine victories in the last 35 races; five with Tony Stewart in the final ten races of last season and four with current driver Denny Hamlin in 2012.

Marcos Ambrose, who is one of five drivers looking to occupy the second wild card spot in the Chase with a second win, has an average finish of 16.1 at Richmond. While it’s nothing stellar, this is his second highest average finish on any oval track in his career.

The average finish for Sam Hornish, Jr. in nine starts since replacing AJ Allmendinger in the No. 22 Dodge. His most likely competitor for the ride next year, Joey Logano, has an average finish of 19.4 in the same stretch.

The Sprint Cup series returns to Richmond this weekend, and it should be a welcome site for Tony Stewart. Since leading 118 laps en route to a third-place finish here in the spring, the defending Cup champ hasn’t led more than 22 laps in a race.

Kevin Harvick led 101 laps on Sunday – his season total going into the race was 128.

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