Ah…. Virginia in the Spring! Richmond Raceway had a push from Friday evening as rain came in just as green flag events were set to start. The march 31st Spring opener, NASCAR Whelen Modifieds, was rolled in to XFinity Saturday. The Virginia Is For racing Lovers 150 was now held over to Saturday afternoon to follow the ToyotaCare 250.
Saturday was April 1st… April Fools Day, as it were… The weather pulled more rain out of the jester’s hat and pulled the plug on XFinity practice and qualifying. The same for NASCAR Cup… No practice and no qualifying. The starting order to be determined by the “rules”, or points, or numbers from a hat, or magic. With that, Justin Allgaier was determined to start in the first slot.
He would lead the field to green when racing could get started. The rain held the new schedule back by a bit with racing going green about an hour late. This also pushed everything else back, as in the start of the Whelen Modified race. This might not have been a thing but some of the drivers, such as Bobby LaBonte, also had eyes on South Boston Speedway and the SMART Modified Tour which was now set for later Saturday night.
Yes… It’s all a bit confusing… Mostly wet and windy… But still confusing.
Once the rain had moved on and the green flag had waved, racing progressed with few incidents. The day set a second place finish for John Hunter Nemechek which extends his “almost but not quite” set as a runner up at Richmond. Nemechek has run 2nd in Trucks and XFinity for his most recent visits.
It was Chandler Smith taking charge on the final restart to get by Nemechek and take his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win. The rookie was able to make the pass and the victory run over the final six laps to put the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet in Victory Lane.
Josh Berry also made the top three with a front running performance. Smith, Nemechek and Berry all had leading laps and solid racing for the entire rum of the ToyotaCare 250.
The Whelen Modifieds took the track as soon as the XFinity teams could clear it out. Early spins and crowded racing put several cautions on the field early on. The late half settled down as the laps began to turn with challenges for place on the longer run.
At the finish of the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 150, it was Austin Beers who led the field under the checkered flag. The performance carried forward his fast practice and pole winning drive at qualifying from Friday.
PHOTOS: NASCAR XFinity ToyotaCare 250 – Richmond Raceway – April 1, 2023
PHOTOS: NASCAR Whelen Modified – Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 150 – April 1, 202