Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rare daytime Sprint Cup race coming to Richmond

“I think (a day race at Richmond is) definitely going to put on a great show for sure,” Sprint Cup driver Denny Hamlin says.

Getty Images

“I think (a day race at Richmond is) definitely going to put on a great show for sure,” Sprint Cup driver Denny Hamlin says.

RICHMOND, Va. — Denny Hamlin has gotten accustomed to having Sundays off when NASCAR's Sprint Cup series comes to Richmond International Raceway, where the premier series has traditionally raced under the lights on Saturday nights.

But the track's spring race has moved to the afternoon. Organizers hope today's Toyota Owners 400 will appeal more to families with young children with a day race. Hamlin and others think they might be in for a treat.

"I like having Sundays off every now and then, but I think it's definitely going to put on a great show for sure," Hamlin said. "This racetrack, it does change a lot during the day."

Hamlin, born in Tampa but raised in Virginia, has won twice on the 0.75-mile oval, but not since 2010. He did a tire test at Richmond about a month ago.

"We have a tire that lays some rubber down here at this racetrack so we did have to change some things in our car and I was pretty happy with it. Overall, we'll lean on that test more so than past information," he said.

Worn tires quickly cost the drivers speed, and Kevin Harvick, who earned the pole based on his practice speed after Friday's qualifying was rained out, said that could make things interesting on what is expected to be a warm, sunny day. His fastest practice laps came early.

"It will be interesting just for the fact that the second and third times out weren't near what the first time was because the tires fall off, which is great," he said. "And I think it will be exciting for the race to see where the falloff goes and, being in the day, there are a lot of things that lead toward a fun day from the driver's seat."

Joey Logano, starting second, expects the product to be better in the sunshine.

"I think it is really nice that usually when the track is warm and the sun is beating on it that it takes more rubber and the track gets wider. When the track is wider it puts on a better race, in my opinion," he said.

Jimmie Johnson led Saturday's practice, followed by Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch. Tony Stewart, who makes his season debut after recovering from a back injury, turned just 64 laps on Saturday after leading all drivers on Friday with 38.

Hamlin, who won the season-opening Daytona 500, was 11th in practice Saturday, the slowest among the four cars in the red-hot Joe Gibbs Racing stable. JGR drivers have won the past three races — Busch back-to-back at Martinsville and Texas and Carl Edwards last weekend at Bristol.

Hamlin credits teamwork with helping JGR win half of the eight races run so far this season.

"We're all learning from each other every single week and it's just raising everyone's game quite a bit. I think everything is kind of clicking really well, everyone at (Toyota Racing Development) is doing a really good job of providing us the technology that we need to go fast. Every department within JGR is clicking really, really well right now," Hamlin said, adding that having Martin Truex's Furniture Row Racing car as a JGR affiliated-car has also helped.

Sprint Cup points

Through eight of 36 races. The top 16 drivers, based on wins then points, will make the 10-race Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts Back

Kevin Harvick* 287—

Carl Edwards* 286 1

Jimmie Johnson** 271 16

Joey Logano 266 21

Kyle Busch** 262 25

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 250 37

Kurt Busch 247 40

Brad Keselowski* 224 63

Denny Hamlin* 222 65

Martin Truex 214 73

* Wins

Today's race

Toyota Owners 400, 1 p.m., Richmond (Va.) International Raceway TV/radio: Ch. 13; 102.5-FM

Rare daytime Sprint Cup race coming to Richmond 04/23/16 [Last modified: Saturday, April 23, 2016 8:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays, Archer take on surprising Twins to open road trip

    Blogs

    After spliting the four-game series with the Angels to log a winning homestand and get back to .500 at 25-25, the Rays tonight open a nine-game, 10-day, country-crossing road trip against the surprising Twins.

    The Twins are leading the AL Central with an impressive 25-18 record, though they have not played …

  2. Hard to believe NFL overtime change is about player safety

    Bucs

    If someone's house was engulfed in flames, would you hand him a fire extinguisher?

    Of course not.

    Fans await the beginning of overtime between the Patriots and Falcons in Super Bowl LI in February. [Associated Press]
  3. Muslim faith greater than fear for Wharton's Rania Samhouri (w/video)

    Tranckandfieldpreps

    TAMPA — Rania Samhouri graduated Monday night from Wharton High School, and many times throughout the ceremony she flashed back to a moment that changed her life.

     Rania Samhouri stretches after track practice on Monday April 24, 2017 at Wharton High School in Tampa, Florida. Rania, who is Muslim, recently started wearing her hijab during track competitions. She graduates from Wharton this year and will attend University of South Florida on scholarship next year.
  4. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return

    Bucs

    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  5. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits

    Colleges

    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.