Early Week Driver Rankings for Richmond


The Cup Series will once again race on a short, flat track when they travel to Richmond Raceway this week. Richmond is a .75-mile D-shaped oval. It is flat, just like Phoenix and New Hampshire. The secret to running well at Phoenix has been to run the outside lane, up against the wall. NASCAR will use the new short-track aero package this week. It is the same package that was used at Phoenix. It will be interesting to see how this lower down-force package changes the racing at Richmond. Will the drivers be able to pass on the bottom this year, or will the high lane still be the preferred lane at the track? We will find out Sunday at 3:30 pm ET on FS1.

The picks this week will be based on what happened at Phoenix this year. The two tracks are similar in size (Phoenix is 1-mile in length and Richmond is .75-mile, but both are D-shaped, short, flat tracks) and NASCAR will use the same aero package. I will be looking at the Driver Rating and Average Green Flag Speed from the race at Phoenix. I will also sprinkle in the Driver Rankings from the short, flat tracks last year (Phoenix, New Hampshire and Richmond) and the Driver Ratings from the last three seasons at Richmond. 70% of the rankings will be from Phoenix this year though.

The new aero package is a game changer for the Cup Series. Hendrick Motorsports knocked it out of the park when William Byron and Kyle Larson led 265 of 317 laps at Phoenix. Alex Bowman and Josh Berry also finished in the top-10 at Phoenix, so it is obvious that HMS has the advantage with this new aero package.

Here are my early week driver rankings for the Toyota Owner 400

1. Kyle Larson
2. William Byron
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Christopher Bell
5. Ross Chastain
6. Alex Bowman
7. Denny Hamlin
8. Ryan Blaney
9. Brad Keselowski
10. Tyler Reddick
11. Kyle Busch
12. Martin Truex Jr.
13. Chase Briscoe
14. Chris Buescher
15. Joey Logano
16. Bubba Wallace
17. Daniel Suarez
18. Josh Berry
19. Ty Gibbs
20. Michael McDowell
21. Aric Almirola
22. Austin Cindric
23. AJ Allmendinger
24. Erik Jones
25. Austin Dillon
26. Ryan Preece
27. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
28. Justin Haley
29. Noah Gragson
30. Chandler Smith
31. Ty Dillon
32. Harrison Burton
33. Corey LaJoie
34. Todd Gilliland
35. Anthony Alfredo
36. Cody Ware
37. J.J. Yeley


The updated rankings will be posted Saturday after qualifying.


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