The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity teams wrapped up a weekend at the .75-mile Richmond International Raceway for the Toyota Care 250 and the Toyota Owner’s 400. Here are some takeaways from this weekend’s events:
· Cup Drivers in Xfinity: Dale Jr. won the Toyota Care 250 on Saturday afternoon holding off many Xfinity Series regulars. However, there was no backlash about the victory for Jr. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver did not receive any backlash like there would have been if Kyle Busch had won the race. It is not a Sprint Cup driver in the Xfinity Series problem for most fans, but a Kyle Busch problem. If you are going to complain about one Sprint Cup driver, then you should complain about them all.
· Tony Stewart: It was great to see the return of Tony Stewart on Sunday in the Toyota Owner’s 400. He experienced some struggles, but was able to overcome them for a 19th place finish. When he got out of the car, he stated that he “could go for another 800 laps.” Hopefully, Stewart will continue and improve on this performance throughout the season. NASCAR is much better when Stewart is around.
· Tires: Goodyear brought a softer tire this year to Richmond. There were no tire issues throughout the race weekend. Enabling a tire strategy with the other strategies being played, called for a great race on Sunday.
· Day vs Night: When Richmond announced that their spring race would return to the day, it was received greatly by fans. It allowed for many younger fans to be brought to the speedway. There seemed to be younger fans in the stands on Sunday than normal. I believe all tracks who have two events should have one day and one-night race, if they have the MUSCO lighting.
· Last Lap Pass: The last lap pass on Sunday between Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch was typical short track racing. It was apparent that there were no team orders in place from Coach Joe Gibbs. This pass was completely different from what we saw at Kansas and Martinsville last fall. This is typical short track racing, and I hope to see more of it. Would you rather have teammates racing for the win or parading around?
What are your takeaways from Richmond International Raceway?