The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Richmond "1" Driver Handicaps by Matt McLaughlin -- Thursday May 3, 2007

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Matt McLaughlin's Richmond "1" Driver Handicaps

Matt McLaughlin · Thursday May 3, 2007

 

2007 Richmond “1” Driver Handicaps

Jeff Gordon: You can't say Gordon runs poorly at Richmond; he was won twice with Top 10 results in 16 of his 28 career Cup starts at the short track. But in the last four Cup races at Richmond, Gordon hasn't finished better than 30th, and he has just one Top 5 finish in his last ten races here.

Jeff Burton: Burton won here back in 1998, prevailing in a stirring late race battle with Jeff Gordon. But his ninth place finish last Fall was his first Top 10 at this track since 2003.

Matt Kenseth: Kenseth won here in 2002 and finished second in the Fall race of 2005. Those are his biggest highlights, but he has Top 10 finishes in seven of the last ten Richmond Cup races.

Jimmie Johnson: While Johnson finished second in this race back in 2004, he has struggled since, finishing twentieth or worse in half of his ten Cup starts at Richmond. He has just that one Top 10 finish in those ten races to show for his efforts.

Denny Hamlin: Hamlin finished second in this race last year to put the world on notice he was for real. But he backslid to fifteenth here in the Fall, a major disappointment for the No. 11 team.

Tony Stewart: Stewart won his first ever Cup race at Richmond in 1999. (I think a debris caution sealed the victory). He's won here a total of three times in his career, finishing second in this race in 2005. But Stewart has just two Top 5 finishes in the last nine Richmond Cup races, although he also has won a pair of Truck Series races here.

Kyle Busch: Busch has taken to this track like a retriever puppy to lake water. He has top 5 finishes in all four of his Cup starts here, including a second place finish last Fall. Busch also scored his first career Busch Series win here back in 2004.

Kevin Harvick: Harvick had a good year here last year, finishing third in this race and winning Richmond last Fall. He also won both of last year's Richmond Busch races (as well as the Fall race of 2005 to make it three straight). Prior to that, he'd only had two Top 5 finishes in ten Richmond starts.

Jamie McMurray: McMurray has managed just two Top 10 results in eight Cup starts here. In fact, his average finish at Richmond is a rather pedestrian 23rd.

Kurt Busch: Busch won here in 2005, but that was his only Top 5 result in twelve Richmond Cup starts; he has just one additional Top 10 finish in those twelve races. His average finish here remains twentieth.

Clint Bowyer: Bowyer finished tenth and twelfth in last year's Richmond Cup races as a rookie.

Carl Edwards: Edwards has two Top 10 finishes in five Richmond Cup starts, accumulating an average finish here of eighteenth. He has never led a Richmond Cup race.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: Junior's most recent Cup victory was scored in this race last year. It was Earnhardt's third Cup victory at the track, where he has a total of nine Top 10s in fifteen career starts.

David Stremme: Stremme's 26th place finish here was his best result in three Richmond Cup starts. Hard to get happy about that.

Elliott Sadler: Being from Virginia doesn't necessarily equate to being good at Richmond for Sadler. He has just one Top 10 finish in sixteen career Cup starts at this track.

Greg Biffle: Biffle arrives at Richmond this weekend having scored five consecutive top 10 finishes in Cup races at this track. He also finished first, second, and third in the three Truck Series races he ran here.

Mark Martin: Martin won here way back in 1990, and he has Top 10 finishes in slightly more than half of his 42 career starts at this track, producing a career average finish of 12th place. Martin also has five Richmond Busch series wins to his credit.

Martin Truex, Jr.: Last year, Truex finished 40th and 41st in his two Cup starts here. On a brighter note, he's going to have to work hard to finish any worse than that this weekend.

Juan Pablo Montoya: This will be Montoya's first NASCAR start at Richmond.

Bobby Labonte: While short tracks have never been his forte, Labonte has finished second here twice, once in 1999 and once in 2003. So given those four year intervals, it's time for him to finish second again, right? OK, maybe not.

Others To Watch:

Kasey Kahne: Kahne won here in 2005 and finished third in last Fall's Richmond race. But this year, he's running so badly I hear even those three creepy chicks dumped him and are now stalking Jamie McMurray.

Dale Jarrett: Jarrett won here in 1997 and ’99, but the question isn't whether he’s going to win this week, it's will he even qualify for the race? It's not looking good. Jarrett has qualified outside the Top 20 in seven of the last eight Richmond Cup races. He shouldn’t expect any help from his owner; Michael Waltrip has qualifed outside the Top 20 in fourteen of the last eighteen Cup races at Richmond, missing the show here last Fall.

Have you seen the all new Frontstretch newsletter yet? If you haven’t, well, you’re missing out … today, Kim DeHaven told us what to watch for in Saturday’s race at Richmond, and Tom Bowles filled us in on the weirdness behind Kyle Petty’s replacement drivers this summer.

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JD Bawlsac
05/03/2007 10:58 AM
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In all your comments you didn’t mention anything about how they ran in the COT. I think that will have the greatest effect on there performance at Richmond.