Wow… Somewhat unexpected but not completely. Kevin Harvick won at Richmond.

Kyle Larson had the pole in the Federated Auto Parts 400 and finished 14th. Harvick started 13th and crossed the checkers with the win so it was almost a spot trade. It’s OK as Larson is still ranked a few spots above Harvick even though Larson has one win against Harvick’s two…

It is NASCAR points math… Just run with it and don’t be confused…

Ross Chastain was the stage 1 winner. Joey Logano took stage 2 and also led the race for the high count of 222 laps.

We also have to take a late season look at Harvick… There could be any combination of reasons that kept Harvick out of Victory Lane for so long. The “new” NextGen car, team and crew issues, experience tempered with age… What can’t be overlooked, however, is that Kevin is a Cup Champion that has a history in this sport that bridges the past and future. It was Harvick who drove the Earnhardt car with #29 in 2001…

However, one week before Richmond, Harvick broke a 65 race winless streak at Michigan. Now he has two wins back to back with the 60th Cup win just now at Richmond…

Has something clicked…? Has this new car come into the grips of Harvick just in time to make a real run in 2022…? Was 2021 on cruise control…? Did Stewart-Haas change the coffee in the shop…?

Harvick’s Crew Chief, Rodney Childers, believes the team and all involved have been steadily taking the new car forward for the past few months and it is coming together with results.

Whatever, the reason… Luck, skill or collaboration… The #4 team have two wins and, no matter who wins or loses before the playoff cutooff, that puts Harvick in the post-season Championship run.

NASCAR moves on to the two final races in the regular season. Watkins Glen and Daytona give the final chances to “win in” to the playoffs. Ryan Blaney is currently in the mix without a season win so far. If another driver wins that hasn’t already Blaney’s points move to the back burner.

Darlington is the first race in the playoffs. Martinsville is the last elimination before the “Championship 4” go for it at Phoenix.

Full PHOTO GALLERY – Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway

The Camping World Series is already in their playoff season with Grant Enfinger taking the first playoff win at Indy on July 29. (NASCAR Cup has a couple more to go)

Richmond notched a 3rd season win for Chandler Smith and put him in the mix with Enfinger to move to the next round. Three time series champ Matt Crafton is in a must win position going to Kansas in September.

Ty Majeski had the pole and the 1st stage. Chandler took stage 2 and the race win. The top 4 drivers across the line at Richmond, Chandler Smith, John H. Nemechek, Ty Majeski and Grant Enfinger are all chasing playoff points.

Full Photo Gallery – Worldwide Express 250 for Carrier Appreciation at Richmond Raceway

National racing attention is on the doorstep of Virginia. NASCAR and IMSA are this month (August).

NASCAR is first and just a week away at Richmond Raceway. The “regular season” of NASCAR Cup racing is getting into “last chance” time. Four races remain, including today at Michigan.

For Virginia fans, Richmond is next. The Federated Auto Parts 400 weekend also hosts the Camping World Trucks, which is already into their “playoff” season. The Worldwide Express 250 for Carrier Appreciation is the second race of the Trucks championship run. It is a Saturday and Sunday of action on track with start times set in the afternoon.

Race week at Richmond includes the chance to drive on track for charity benefiting Special Olympics of Virginia. The Pixar movie “CARS” will be shown, a concerts are set with Cody Christian Duo, Cody Johnson and more. Local music, Kids Zones, autograph sessions and midway plaza shows are also filling out fan activities around the track.

Racing will be tight at Richmond. There are some hot drivers still chasing a win to make the Cup playoffs. For the Trucks, the championship is already on the line with this race forward.

A few weeks later another big series comes to race in Virginia. The IMSA-WeatherTech series will take over Southside at Virginia International Raceway. The showcase Michelin Gt Challenge shares the weekend with the Michelin Pilot Challenge, Prototype Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo and Mazda MX-5 Cup. It is a full schedule of sports car racing!

The weekend also hosts Car Corrals for fans’ parking, a driver-fan discussion forum, music with American Idol performer, Dan Marshall, race day appearance with Miss Virginia and full display area with activities for kids.

Active Military are in for free and Veterans receive 50% off tickets (Government issued ID at gate).

These big series are always a show. However, let’s not forget the weekly racing all over Virginia also putting on great racing and family entertainment. The variety of racing in Virginia is what makes it great for racing Lovers!

We’re stepping quickly into July. Virginia has been hosting big events like SRX at South Boston in June and NHRA at Virginia Motorsports Park in May. The first two legs of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown roll in July, one already at South Boston and the second coming to Langley.

For August, Richmond hosts NASCAR Cup and Virginia International Raceway hosts IMSA WeatherTech. VIR has been busy with events like HyperFest and a good prelude to IMSA, the FANATEC GT World Challenge. Richmond Raceway is busy with non-racing community and culture events. However, when racing is on the calendar, Richmond is all in with the business of speed.

For NASCAR and IMSA, the racing this season has been wide open. The “new” NASCAR Cup car is making itself known to the teams, drivers and fans. The variety and speed of IMSA continues to draw and the racing has been challenging across the divisions.

As we approach August and Virginia racing, it seems the number 9 may be coming in fast…

Race winners are shown across the board for manufacturers with 13 winners and, among those, 5 are repeat winners, including Chase Elliott in the Hendrick #9 Chevrolet. Elliott currently has a points lead and Hendrick Motorsports as a team has logged wins with all four drivers (Elliott, Byron, Larson, Bowman).

Chase Elliott (#9 NAPA Chevy) leading in NASCAR Cup points (July 2022)

For IMSA, the #9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R has been making big waves in the GTD Pro class. Drivers Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell have multiple wins and the plaid Porsche team are keeping the pressure on.

Number 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche (Jaminet / Campbell) leading in IMSA GTD Pro (July 2022)

There is plenty of racing before August 13-14 and NASCAR Cup at Richmond Raceway and August 26-28 and IMSA/WeatherTech at Virginia International Raceway. It will be interesting to follow those Number 9 cars and drivers on their way here.

It took truckloads of dirt… Some rain… and maybe a bit of desperation. Racing at Bristol with the “new” Next Gen car brought some of the short track action that, well maybe…, perhaps…, had been missing at Martinsville.

Richmond had a promising show with 13 lead changes traded over 7 drivers so there was some competition on the track. The cautions were light at Richmond but more so at Martinsville. Bristol did put on a show with the dirt surface but it was spread out with the rain delays. The “Dirt Race” lead changed over 6 times among 5 drivers and the cautions, including the stages and competition pit stops, totaled 14 through 89 laps.

The Food City Dirt Race at Bristol did bring a finish for the books. Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe were racing for the front and Briscoe pushed the limits on a final lap dive. The #14 Ford went loose on the rain slick dirt and touched up on Reddick’s #8 Chevy. Both cars went sideways as the #14 lost several slots. Reddick managed to correct the #8 but not before Kyle Busch drove by both in the M&Ms #18 Toyota.

Chase Briscoe (#14) takes a last lap dive under Tyler Reddick putting both in a spin which allows Kyle Busch (#18 Toyota) to gain the win at Bristol’s Food City Dirt Race

Busch claimed the checkered flag at Bristol. Reddick stayed on track for the 2nd slot and Briscoe’s hard dive was rewarded with a mid-field finish.

This car still has to gain some track time and mileage. NASCAR will be reviewing the entire package from the aero to the tires. Short track racing put this car in such tight competition that the effort to pass and gain position was pressed almost flat. The dirt surface and weather at Bristol allowed some of these apparent limitations to fall away.

The speed at Darlington should bring the car back into a competitive nature. This package has advantages for speed. It will be interesting to see what changes NASCAR may put forth for a racing show when the short tracks come around again on the schedule.

This car is a major step forward. It looks good. The engineering is superb and in line with the performance across other series and in the showroom. For NASCAR, it may just be a tweak or two to make it work better from track to track.

Racing is on.

Doubles on doubles. William Byron came into Martinsville with some momentum of an early season win. He already notched his playoff spot with a March win at Atlanta. However, there was a lot of hunger from a lot of drivers coming into the 75th year of racing at the historic raceway.

Racing was set to start with Chase Elliott on the pole. However, the weather took center stage about the time of driver introductions with cold rain and some reports of a snow flurry blowing by. The rain held the scheduled start for a bit over an hour before the track went green.

It was Chase Elliott’s race to lose while running up front for the start through the finish of stage 2. Byron, however, was on the bumper of the #9 for both stages and managed to win the race out of the pits for the run on stage 3.

Byron held on for the remainder of the race even as green flag pit stops cycled through. A late race tap of the wall by Todd Gilliland left the door open with a green-whit restart. Joey Logano made a bump move but Byron hung on to the #24 to take the win. Logano came in second with Austin Dillon coming in the third spot.

The other double beyond the second Cup win for 2022…? William Byron had also won the Camping World Series race at Martinsville on Thursday night.

William Byron does a burnout with the Camping World Truck win at Martinsville Speedway

At the end of the racing for Blue Emu weekend at Martinsville, William Byron came away looking for space for two Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks. Perhaps there was some old #24 magic blowing about as Jeff Gordon was around the pit and garage area and both he and Byron noted a long-time friendship. Byron spoke how Gordon would give him pointers or things to watch well before his actual driving career hit its stride. It took time, he said, but those conversations began to fall into place the more laps he ran at the “paperclip”.

William Byron celebrating a 2nd Grandfather Clock at Martinsville Speedway

Next up is Bristol – Racing on the dirt!

The Top 5 at Martinsville – The Blue Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400

  • William Byron
  • Joey Logano
  • Austin Dillon
  • Ryan Blaney
  • Ross Chastain

FULL Photo Gallery

It was a weekend for Toyota at Richmond Raceway. The NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series in April have carried the Toyota sponsorship for quite a while. The ToyotaCare 250 already notched the manufacturer with an Xfinity win Saturday as Ty Gibbs grabbed the checkered flag.

The NASCAR Cup Toyota Owners 400 doubled down as Denny Hamlin drove the #11 FedEx Toyota to a Sunday win.

It did not look so obvious at the start. Ryan Blaney in the #12 Penske Ford and William Byron in the Liberty #12 Chevy started out on row 1 with the drop of the green. Blaney held the lead for the stage one win with Byron right there for second.

Blaney started stage two out front but Martin Truex, Jr took over following green flag pit stops. Truex and Christopher Bell traded off but the stage 2 win went to Truex with Bell claiming second. The #19 and #20 of Truex and Bell put Toyota in the spotlight at the stage 2 half way point.

The restart for the final stage put the #19 and the #20 back into running order. A caution brought on by a triple car shot as Cole Custer and Ty Dillon touched which pushed into Austin Cindric. William Byron stays out as others pit for position on the lead at the restart.

Martin Truex, Jr was chasing on the #24 of Byron. As laps ticked by, Truex stayed on the #24 but Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin were making gains. Hamlin was running fresher tires than the rest and made better time.

At five laps to go Hamlin went by Truex and took the inside of the #24. Harvick also drove the advantage of the high side #24 and followed the #11 by. Hamlin and Harvick ran one and two for the checkers.

Denny Hamlin smoking the tires of the #11 FedEx Toyota following the win of the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway

The racing doesn’t have too far to go for the next event. NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Series all make their way to Martinsville for the next race weekend. Blue Emu / Call 811 weekend runs late in the day Thursday through Saturday to finish under the lights at the historic “paperclip”, celebrating 75 years of NASCAR at the track.

Full Photo Gallery of the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway – April 3, 2022