2020 NASCAR Cup Series preview: Richmond

Instead of the usual two race weekends at Richmond Raceway, the NASCAR Cup Series will only get the one Saturday night in the second race of the Round of 16.

Richmond has been a playground for Joe Gibbs Racing as they have won every race at the track following the Spring 2015 race. The Spring 2018 race saw Joey Logano win, but his win would be encumbered after failing post-race inspection.

Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch have been the dominant drivers at the 0.75-mile circuit over the last two years. Busch swept the races in 2018, and Truex swept last year. The difference between the two years comes with the aero package. Busch won under the current 750 horsepower, low-downforce package, while Truex won under the high-downforce package. Saturday night’s race will be run under the low-downforce package, assumingly giving the advantage to Busch, who will start sixth. However, Busch failed pre-race inspection twice and will have to drop to the rear before the green flag.

Truex will start 14th after a late-race incident with Chase Elliott last Sunday at Darlington.

Richmond has not been a favorable track for Elliott. In nine starts, he only has three top-10 finishes. However, the last time Richmond used the low-downforce package, Elliott picked up two straight top-five finishes. He will roll off 12th Saturday evening.

Austin Dillon surprised the NASCAR world last Sunday after scoring a runner-up finish at Darlington, overcoming a start at the rear. Dillon surged all the way up to eighth in the playoff standings and is currently 10 points ahead of the playoff cutline.

Darlington did not serve well for Ford as now four of them are below the playoff cutline.

Clint Bowyer (-0), Cole Custer (-3), Matt DiBenedetto (-17) and Ryan Blaney (-17) are all on the outside looking in. Bowyer has scored a top-10 finish in the last four Richmond races and will start 11th Saturday night. Custer starts 13th. DiBenedetto and Blaney will bring up the rear of the playoff field.

Stages for the race end on lap 80, lap 235 and the finish on lap 400. There will be a competition caution on lap 30. You can watch the race on NBC Sports Network beginning at 7:30 p.m. EST. The Motor Racing Network will provide radio coverage.

Starting lineup:

Pit stall assignments:

Goodyear tire notes: https://www.jayski.com/2020/09/08/goodyear-fast-facts-richmond-4/

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