Ty Gibbs is seems to be collecting early season wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Seven starts and three wins have put Gibbs in a spot of having a lead in playoff points but a second spot in the regular season standings. A.J. Allmendinger holds the lead in the season using the NASCAR math of a race win plus top 5, top 10 and stage wins. Despite the real series leading 3 wins for Gibbs, the #54 driver and #9 driver, Noah Gragson are tied 20 points off of Allmendinger.

For Richmond Raceway and the ToyotaCare 250, Ty Gibbs was driving hard for the win all day. He and team mate John Hunter Nemechek started one and two with Toyotas leading the field to the green flag. Nemechek took the stage 1 win. Gibbs was in front for stage 2. In the final laps, the #54 of Gibbs and the #18 of Nemechek were still racing for the lead. The #18 had gotten around the #54 with 3 laps to go after several exchanges over the final 50 laps. Gibbs was on the bumper of the #18 with a nudge here and tap there.

It came down to the final turn of the final lap as Ty Gibbs came into turn three underneath Nemechek and drove the #54 up into turn four forcing Nemechek onto the brakes or into the wall. The move put Gibbs out front on the front stretch for the win.

Post race, Gibbs knew there was trouble ahead. “I definitely deserve one back but we’re racing for wins” he said.

Nemechek, who is actually running full time in the Camping World Series, was noticeably put off by the last lap. “Him and I will settle it one day,” Nemechek said. “I don’t want to say too much and get myself in trouble…. Just got drove through… He didn’t even try and make the corner…”

Also noteable for the ToyotaCare 250 was a first time Xfinity starter, Rajah Caruth. The 19 year old African-American driver is an ARCA and Advance Auto Weekly Series driver racing with Alpha Prime Racing at Richmond. His first Xfinity start comes at a track he had visited as a child with his family. He finished 24th.

The Comcast Dash 4 Cash winner at Richmond (four drivers determined eligible after Circuit of the Americas) was Sam Mayer, driver of the #1 Accelerate Pros Talent Chevrolet. The eligible drivers at Martinsville will be Ty Gibbs, Sam Mayer, AJ Allmendinger and Riley Herbst.

The Top 5 finishers in the ToyotaCare 250

  1. Ty Gibbs
  2. John Hunter Nemechek
  3. Sam Mayer
  4. AJ Allmendinger
  5. Riley Herbst

PHOTOS from the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway

The weather was out there and on the radar days before the weekend at Richmond International Raceway. The hope, of course, was that some supreme intervention would take place and push the rain off by just one day. It was the race that was pushed as the rain came all day and into the scheduled race time Saturday night. The Toyota Owners 400 was run on Sunday.

It was a week before that the scheduled daylight race at Bristol was pushed under the lights by wet weather. It was the flipside at Richmond as the Saturday night race went off the stripe in the early afternoon of Sunday.

The Friday events went off under comfortable blue skies and a nice, but cool, evening. Practices and qualifying were played out as teams gathered their data and set up for racing. The Xfinity Series ToyotaCare 250 was, apparently, the star shine for Toyota as Denny Hamlin took off from the pole in the FedEx #11 Toyota and, except for two laps, was out in front to the finish.

The rain delayed Toyota Owners 400 was a runaway for Kurt Busch and the HAAS Automation #41 Chevrolet. Joey Logano gave up the lead from the pole at lap 95 and Busch kept himself out front. Team mate Kevin Harvick gave him a go as did Jamie McMurray but Busch held it. Justin Allgaier even chased from the 2nd spot for a few laps. Jimmie Johnson was up close as was Kahne, Kenseth and Gordon but were mostly trying to hang on to single digit finishes.

At the checkers it was Busch, Harvick, Johnson, McMurray and Logano rolling through as winner through five.

There was also a brief and fiery reminder of just how much this sport rides the line. It was what seems to be a freak accident Friday night involving the gas can and nozzle as fuel went onto pit toad at the tail of Brendan Gaughan’s #62. Something sparked and the pit was a fireball as the Gaughan frantically pulled from the pit with flames licking off the back. Crewmembers were treated and or hospitalized but all, at this time, are reported to be OK and recovering.

It was just a day or two shy of a year ago when fire was also an issue at RIR as Goodyear tires were over heating and flaming up. Remember Clint Bowyer’s #15 rolling on flames….?


Footage FOX Sports Broadcast

Photos: Xfinity Series ToyotaCare 250 (Friday 4-24)

Photos: Sprint Cup Toyota Owners 400 (Sunday 4-26)

BONUS PHOTOS: Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at South Boston Speedway (Thursday 4-23)

There was a bit of James Taylor in the mix over race weekend at Richmond. Yes, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.

Not in that order, but it was there.

The rain was Friday. The sun was out for practices and qualifying for the Nationwide ToyotaCare 250 and the K&N Series Blue Ox 100.

However, just before the clock ticked over for Sprint Cup qualifying for the Toyota Owners 400 the skies went dark and opened up. There was wind and lightning and rain. The scheduled start of the ToyotaCare 250 was on hold. Then it stopped and the track dryers were racing to get it done. Covers were coming off cars. Fans were getting back in the seats. Drivers were suiting up. (more…)

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. (more…)

Richmond is coming up. It’s a big week with four races beginning Thursday with the K&N Pro Series Blue Ox 100 followed by the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. Friday is the Nationwide Series ToyotaCare 250 and the big dance is Sunday for the Sprint Cup Toyota Owners 400.

Now, with Thursday racing featuring the name of a certain driver questions remain. The 100% GO has not been issued for Denny Hamlin to race this week although there was speculation he could be. We’re certain he’ll be around as he has been for the past few races since Martinsville but not in the seat. Speculation was on with a “50-50” shot at being back for the Toyota Owners 400 but as of this point Brian Vickers is entered as the driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota.

It’s on the doctors to give the green but they will not unless they are sure he is 100%. We’ll hold on and see. (more…)