Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Richmond Preview: Phoenix Race Offers Great Insight to What May Happen Saturday

Taking a look at Phoenix results a good place to start at for Richmond
After getting a heavy dose of racing on the newer down force tracks over the past six weeks, we get to see some traditional type of NASCAR racing in the Capital of the Confederacy at Richmond International Raceway this Saturday night. Although we were all kind of getting to know who was good and who wasn't in the new Gen-6 cars on the fast tracks requiring maximum horse-power, it's back to the drawing board this week.

The most important factor to mix in with any betting equation this week is referring to the March 3 race at Phoenix. Richmond is only 3/4-mile in distance while Phoenix is 1-mile, but the banking is similar which makes the crew chiefs try to get the same type of balance on their cars at each track. If a driver did well at Phoenix, they're likely to be ahead over the rest of the field this week.

Carl Edwards led a race high 122 laps at Phoenix and captured his first Cup Series win since Las Vegas in 2011. Edwards has never won at Richmond, but did finish runner-up in the fall of 2011. Jimmie Johnson finished second at Phoenix, followed by Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

For Virginia-native Denny Hamlin, who has been out for the past three races due to back injuries suffered at Fontana, he says he's "50-50" to return to the track he's won twice at before. If his X-rays show this week that he is healing properly, he could be given the green flag and return Saturday night.

If Hamlin can return this week, he'll have 18 races to try and win as many races as he can to win one of the two wild card spots in the Chase. He's currently 26th in points and would need to finish within the top-20 positions to eligible for the wild cards.

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