NASCAR Cup Series 2021 Toyota Owners 400 Race at Richmond: Preview and Prediction

Published 04/17/2021, 4:00 PM EDT
Apr 10, 2021; Martinsville, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series drivers cross the start line during the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Ryan Hunt-USA TODAY Sports


Last weekend at Martinsville Speedway, Martin Truex Jr. became the first driver to win his second race in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. The Joe Gibbs Racing star has a big chance to make it three wins in the first nine races in 2021, as the Cup field visits Richmond Raceway for the Toyota Owners 400 on Sunday.

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His Martinsville win has already propelled Truex Jr. to pole position at a track where he has a supreme record off late. He has four consecutive top-three finishes at Richmond, with two of them being race wins. This sets things up very nicely for a driver carrying great confidence this season.

Denny Hamlin, once again, has front-row honors as he continued his staggering consistency this season. Another top-five finish, though, meant Hamlin extended his points lead but is still winless.

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Apr 10, 2021; Martinsville, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) races at the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Ryan Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The home-town hero has two wins at Richmond and has a host of top-five finishes since the 2016 win. With the kind of form he is in, Hamlin will look to get the playoff-securing win at his home track.

Can Kyle Busch keep up his fantastic NASCAR Cup Series record at Richmond?

Kyle Busch has won just a single race since the start of the 2020 season. However, the two-time champ has done enough over the years to be a regular contender and there is no doubt about the same, especially at Richmond.

Busch has as many as six wins at Richmond, with two back-to-back wins in 2018. ‘Rowdy’ has six straight finishes inside the top-10 there, which includes two wins and another top-three finish.

Apr 10, 2021; Martinsville, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski (2) races Kyle Busch (18) during the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Ryan Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

One driver who will certainly fancy his chances at Richmond is Brad Keselowski. The Team Penske former Cup champ won the 2020 playoff race there and has four straight top-10s. While Keselowski starts lower in the starting order (20th), he can certainly pick up the spots quickly at Richmond.

One of the biggest surprises so far in 2021 has been Kevin Harvick‘s form. He has been way off his pace and Richmond comes at the right time for him. Harvick has six top-fives in his nine races there, but more importantly, has three wins overall. He will also start Sunday’s race inside the top-10.

Can Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott give Hendrick the win?

On the other hand, Kyle Larson has been brilliant this season. He has really picked up the race at Richmond in recent years, and one of his six wins in the No. 42 car came there. Now stronger in the Hendrick No. 5 car, Larson will look to get his second win in 2021 on Sunday.

His teammate Chase Elliott is a contender wherever he goes, being the reigning Cup champ. However, Richmond hasn’t been one of his best tracks, despite three top-fives in his last five races.

Joey Logano has an up and down record at Richmond, but with two wins there and already a winner in 2021, Logano will be upbeat about Sunday’s race.

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Who will win the 2021 Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond?

Richmond is a track where you can never really have an outright favorite, and things can change very quickly. However, based on current form and momentum, and how things have gone so far, we might just see Martin Truex Jr. win yet again.

Prediction: Martin Truex Jr. to win the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway.

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Aayush Majumdar

998 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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