The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season continues today with the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. Read on below to see my prediction for who will win the race, as well as my top 10, dark horse, and driver to fade predictions.
Winner: Christopher Bell- 2022 got off to a rocky start for Bell, with back-to-back finishes outside the top 30 to start the season. Bell rebounded last week at COTA with a 3rd place showing that got lost in the shuffle during the last lap melee. Richmond has been one of Bell’s best tracks in both the Cup Series and the Xfinity Series, as he won 3 times and led over 450 laps in 5 starts in the Xfinity Series, while he finished inside the top 4 in both starts at Richmond last year and 15th in 2020. The last 12 Cup Series races have been won by drivers under the age of 30 and the first 6 races of the 2022 season have been won by 6 different drivers. I predict that both of those streaks will continue when Christopher Bell brings home the win today at Richmond!
Top 10: Martin Truex Jr.- Truex has quietly put together a solid campaign in 2022, with 3 top 8 finishes in the last 4 races and just 1 finish outside the top 15 all season. Richmond Raceway has been a dominant track for Truex of late, as he has 3 wins, 6 straight top 5’s, and 645 laps led during that 6 race stretch. Truex has done well at Richmond throughout his career though, with 3 wins, 8 top 5’s, 14 top 10’s, and over 1200 laps led in 31 career starts. Truex showed speed in both Practice and Qualifying yesterday and he will most certainly be a threat to win today. A top 10 finish is a lock for Truex this afternoon.
Dark Horse: Harrison Burton- Burton’s rookie season has gotten off to a rough start, as he has had 4 finishes outside the top 20 through the first 6 races. Burton is coming off of a 17th finish at COTA last week and he had some past success racing at Richmond in the Xfinity Series, leading 54 laps and finishing inside the top 10 3 times in 4 starts at the track. Lastly, Burton is racing for Wood Brothers Racing, who were founded in Stuart, VA. Racing for the oldest team in NASCAR at a track in his team’s home state, I expect Burton to have added incentive to race well today and I predict that he will earn his first top 15 finish of the campaign.
Driver to Fade: Landon Cassill- Driving part-time for Spire Motorsports in the Cup Series, Cassill has had mixed results in 2022, finishing 15th and 30th in his two starts so far this season. Cassill has struggled at Richmond throughout the years, finishing in the top 20 just 2 times in 19 previous starts and finishing outside the top 30 9 times during that same stretch. Granted, he hasn’t raced for powerhouse teams in his career, but even drivers racing for underfunded teams find success occasionally at different tracks. This isn’t one of those tracks for Cassill and I predict that he will finish outside the top 20 again today.