Are they really that much better?
And if so, do they have to still prove it?
The ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway was a good race for the Cup drivers that ran it. Make no mistake. They ran it. Start to finish the front of the field was Sprint Cup.
Well, Elliott Sadler did get up and towed the field for a time and he is full time Nationwide but he also has a winning past with the Cup series. Sadler, however, is at least running the NW series full time so points matter for the #11.
The rest of the NW field was chasing for the 5th spot most of the time as Sam Hornish, Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Sadler traded off the tow for the run of the ToyotaCare 250.
Hornish had a good start but by the end fell back a bit with Sadler leaving the front to Harvick, Busch and Keselowski. Harvick ran up front for a good chunk but the car or the track came alive for Keselowski after a late race series of cautions put them on the line for several restarts. Busch gave it a shot in the latter laps but couldn’t hold it.
Restart Busch. Restart Harvick, Restart Keselowski. The last laps had Brad Keselowski out front for the win.
The race was stopped and slowed on two big incidents. Dexter Stacey’s #92 Ford blew the motor on the front stretch and painted the track with motor oil. If there is a shortage of cat litter in Richmond this may be the reason.
Later, out of the back stretch and through turns 3 and 4, racing for position put Austin Dillon in the wall taking out the #3 and badly damaging the #31 of Justin Allgaier.
For the Nationwide points drivers, Brian Vickers was the highest finisher at 4th followed by Regan Smith in 5th.
The rest of the top 10 were Elliott Sadler, Sam Hornish, Jr., Kyle Larson, Travis Pastrana and Reed Sorenson.
Eight of the top 10 have, or have had, steady experience in the Cup ranks. Do the rest of the Nationwide drivers go for the win or just give it up to the Cup guys and race each other for the best place they can get?
On the other hand, do these “names” showing in the Nationwide sell more seats? Is it advantageous to have the stars show up and run. The best way to move up is show you can run with the best and having some ringers to run against should improve your game.
At the end of the evening of the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway the fans got a great show with lead changes, some spins, a crunch or two and a bit of drama.
A driver winning a race with nobody watching is a bit like a tree falling in the forest with nobody to hear it…
The fans had a great race and that is what measures the day. Or the night, in this case, at Richmond.
Full gallery of images: ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway!