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Race Preview and Fantasy Picks: Crown Royal 400

By admin | April 30, 2009

By Richard Allen

Track and Location:
Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia.

Track Layout:
.75 mile D-Shaped oval with 14 degrees of banking in the turns.

Race Distance:
400 Laps

Date of Race:
Saturday(May 2, 2009)

Radio Coverage: MRN(6:45pm Eastern)

Television Coverage:
Fox(7:00pm Eastern)

Start Time:
  7:40pm Eastern

Last Year’s Winner:
Clint Bowyer

NASCAR is actually catching somewhat of a break this week. They are following the highly talked about and replayed race in Talladega with a Saturday night race on one of the circuits best tracks.
The Richmond International Raceway usually produces some of the best racing of the year. The track’s unique size is one of its outstanding features. At .75 mile it is not a ½ mile short track but it is not big enough to be a super speedway either. That combined with the wide sweeping turns and just enough banking to allow for side by side racing cause the track to create plenty of action.
One thing to keep in mind in regard to choosing fantasy teams for this race is that the results from this race may be more beneficial than the results of the race run here in the fall of last year. The fall race was run as a day race due to weather.
Much of the fantasy information shown below applies to the ESPN Fantasy Stock Car Challenge. However, the thoughts below can be applied to most NASCAR fantasy games.
Here are some thoughts for the Crown Royal 400:

Drivers who should do well:
This track has produced several winners throughout its history and has proven itself to be kind to most. However, it is a short track and is susceptible to the rages and frustrations of that type of track.

Denny Hamlin-
He completely dominated this race a year ago until tire problems forced him to pit under green. He will be looking to get one the track owes him.

Tony Stewart-
Over the course of the last four races here, which is the number of races in which the CoT has been used, Stewart has scored more points here than any other driver.

Clint Bowyer-
He runs well on this type track as does his team. He was in the right place at the right time last year.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.-
Statistically, this has actually been one of his better tracks and he was in position to win, or at least score a good finish, until he and Kyle Busch tangled late in last year’s race.

Kyle Busch- See above.

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson-
These two Hendrick drivers have scored well here over the last four races and are never a bad bet on any track.

Drivers to avoid: Stay away from drivers who have struggled and away from drivers who seem to be struggling in general this season.

Matt Kenseth-
He has struggled since winning the first two races of the year and had a 38th and 39th here last year.

Robby Gordon-
He is having a rough go of it this year and his runs here last year do not indicate this is the track to turn that around.

Casey Mears- Even though his RCR team has done well in the past here, he has had his struggles. Add to that he will be working with a brand new crew this race.

Kevin Harvick- He has performed very well here in the past but will be working with a new crew this week.

Winner of the Crown Royal 400: Tony Stewart

These are only suggestions. Do your own research and enjoy the Crown Royal 400.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

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