RICHMOND, Va. (April 30, 2009) The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves from NASCARs biggest track 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway to the smaller confines of Richmond International Raceway, a .75-mile, D-shaped oval, for Saturday nights Crown Royal 400 the 10th of 36 events on the Sprint Cup regular-season schedule.
With his sixth-place finish last weekend at Talladega, Penske Racings Kurt Busch vaulted into the top spot in the Sprint Cup driver standings by five points over four-time series champion Jeff Gordon. Its the first time that Busch has been at the top of the standings since March of 2005, 149 races ago.
In previous years, the point standings after the first 10 event have served as a good indicator of what the eventual makeup of the Chase would look like. Since the Chase began in 2004, nearly 80 percent of the drivers that leave Richmond following the May event inside the top-12 have qualified for the Chase.
Dodge has 17 wins at Richmond including three since the manufacturer returned to NASCARs premier series in 2001. All seven Dodge Chargers are guaranteed spots in the field of 43.
Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) will make his 17th Cup start at RIR where he has posted one win, two top-five and five top-10 finishes. The 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion is one of only four active drivers to post six top 10s at RIR.
Our plan when we entered this season was to attack each and every race like it was the most important race on the schedule, with our first major goal being to make the Chase, said Busch. Our strategy has been to attack every race with the attitude of getting everything we can out of it. If we have a top?10 car, then we strive to make sure we come out of the race with a top?10 finish.
Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) will certainly be a driver to watch at Richmond this weekend. In 10 RIR starts, Kahne has one win, two top-five and five top-10 finishes. He claimed his first career Sprint Cup Series victory at RIR in 2005, starting from the pole and leading 242 of the 400 laps. He currently sits just 33 points out of 12th in the 2009 driver point standings.
Whether our results show it or not, I feel like were usually a pretty fast car, said Kahne. Were usually real close to a top-10 or top-15 car. The wreck at Talladega hurt us in the points and that was a deal that you just cant control. Richmond, Charlotte, Dover and Darlington all those tracks, Ive ran well at. This could be a good month or month-and-a-half for us to get back to where we need to be and hopefully back in the top 10 in points.
Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger) qualified on the outside pole at last years spring event.
AJ Allmendinger (No. 44 PVA.org Kings Cup Dodge Charger) will be making his fifth career start at RIR.
David Stremme (No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge Charger) has a career-best finish of eighth in five starts at Talladega.
Elliott Sadler (No. 19 Stanley Tools Dodge Charger) has a career-best Richmond finish of seventh.
Reed Sorenson (No. 43 McDonalds McCafe Dodge Charger) has raced to two top-15 finishes (12th Phoenix, 11th Talladega) in the last two NSCS events.
2009 Dodge Motorsports Driver Statistics
Driver Rank Points Behind Starts Poles Wins Top 5s Top 10s Earnings
Kurt Bush 1 1299 – 9 0 1 3 6 $1,397,490
Kasey Kahne 14 1030 -269 9 0 0 1 2 $1,421,900
David Stremme 22 899 -400 9 0 0 0 0 $1,322,410
Reed Sorenson 24 881 -418 9 0 0 0 1 $1,369,500
AJ Allmendinger 27 847 -452 9 0 0 1 2 $1,503,440
Elliott Sadler 28 845 -454 9 0 0 1 1 $1,284,990
Sam Hornish Jr. 31 775 -524 9 0 0 0 1 $1,150,730
2009 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES POINT STANDINGS
(After 9 of 36 races)
1. Kurt Busch 1,299 points
2. Jeff Gordon 1,294
3. Jimmie Johnson 1,235
4. Tony Stewart 1,232
5. Denny Hamlin 1,193
6. Kurt Busch 1,124
7. Carl Edwards 1,119
8. Clint Bowyer 1,098
9. Jeff Burton 1,092
10. Greg Biffle 1,098
11. David Reutimann 1,077
12. Matt Kenseth 1,063
What You Need To Know
The Race: Crown Royal 400
The Place: Richmond International Raceway
The Date: Saturday, May 2
The Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET)
The Track: .75-mile oval
The Distance: 300 miles/ 400 laps
TV: Fox, 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Radio: SIRIUS Satellite Radio
Dodge Weekend Motorsports on TV
(All Times Eastern)
Friday, May 1
12:00 p.m. Sprint Cup Practice Richmond (SPEED)
1:30 p.m. NASCAR Live (SPEED)
2:00 p.m. Sprint Cup Final Practice (SPEED)
3:30 p.m. NASCAR Live (SPEED)
4:00 p.m. Nationwide Series Pole Qualifying Richmond (SPEED)
5:30 p.m. Sprint Cup Pole Qualifying (SPEED)
7:00 p.m. Nationwide Series Countdown (ESPN2)
7:30 p.m. Nationwide Series Race (ESPN2)
11:00 p.m. Trackside at Richmond (SPEED)
Saturday, May 2
10:00 a.m. NASCAR Now (ESPN2)
11:00 a.m. Nationwide Series at Richmond [Replay] (ESPNC)
11:00 a.m. Trackside at Richmond (SPEED)
5:00 p.m. NASCAR Raceday (SPEED)
7:00 p.m. Sprint Cup Pre-Race Show (Fox)
7:30 p.m. Sprint Cup Race Richmond (Fox)
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