After a week off for the Easter holiday, the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series are back on track with night racing at Richmond International Raceway. A newcomer, a Drive for Diversity member, will make his JGR debut in the Nationwide Series, as Daniel Suarez will start in the No. 20 Telcel/Silent Circle Toyota Camry at RIR.
JGR driver Kyle Busch is the active leader in wins at the 0.75-mile short track with four. The driver of the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota Camry in Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 Cup race has 13 top 10 finishes in 18 starts at RIR, with his last win coming in the spring of 2012; Busch had won four straight spring races at RIR from 2009 to 2012. In Friday night’s Nationwide Series ToyotaCare 250 race, Busch will be in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota. Busch has four wins and 14 top 10 finishes in 17 Nationwide Series starts at RIR, the most recent win coming in fall of 2011.
Denny Hamlin, in the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Saturday night, has two wins and nine top 10 finishes in 15 starts at RIR. The Virginia native is one of two drivers – Busch is the other – with an average finish in the top 10 at Richmond – Hamlin with 8.9 and Busch with 7.2.
Matt Kenseth, in the No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Tools Toyota on Saturday night, has just one win at Richmond, back in the fall of 2002. In 28 starts, he has 12 top 10 finishes, including his last three starts.
Elliott Sadler, in the No. 11 OneMain Financial/National Forest Foundation Toyota Camry on Friday night, is another Virginia native, this one looking for his first Nationwide Series win at RIR. Sadler has eight top 10 finishes in 21 starts in the series at RIR, and just one top 10 finish in 24 Cup Series starts.
Suarez comes to JGR via the K&N Pro Series East and the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series. The 22-year-old won the first two K&N Pro Series East races of the season at New Smyrna and Daytona, and has two wins and a second-place finish in three NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series races. Suarez will also race in Friday night’s K&N Pro Series East race at RIR; he has a top finish of 20th in three previous K&N East races at Richmond.
Qualifying for the Nationwide Series ToyotaCare 250 takes place Friday at 3:10 p.m. ET, with the race going green at 7 p.m. ET. The Sprint Cup Series qualifies for the Toyota Owners 400 on Friday at 5:10 p.m. ET, with the green flag dropping at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday. Keep up with the action at joegibbsracing.com.
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