If Joe Gibbs Racing is looking for a cure for the ills behind a 12-race winless streak in the NASCAR Cup Series dating back to last September, this Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway figures to be just the place to find it.
Richmond is the home track of JGR veteran driver Denny Hamlin, but Hamlin’s teammates have made themselves at home there, winning six of the last 10 Cup Series races at the ¾-mile short track. Altogether, JGR has made it to Victory Lane 17 times at Richmond.
Due to their impressive record at the track, JGR drivers are among the favorites to win this weekend despite genuine struggles in 2022. JGR has just two top-five finishes this season. Young gun Christopher Bell was third at the Circuit of the Americas this past week, and Kyle Busch finished fourth in Las Vegas last month.
Martin Truex Jr. has recently dominated Richmond Raceway for Joe Gibbs Racing
Martin Truex Jr., who sits in seventh in the current points standings despite no top-5s, is certainly one of Joe Gibbs Racing’s best chances to win at the Action Track. He drove the No. 19 Toyota Camry to victory at Richmond last September, giving him three victories in five races and six straight top-five finishes on the short track.
In that same race, teammates Hamlin and Bell followed Truex Jr. across the finish line in second and third, respectively. JGR drivers also finished 1-2-3 in September 2019. The No. 19 team picked up the victory there as well. Busch finished 2.63 seconds behind in second while Hamlin came in third.
Truex Jr., who won the 2017 Cup Series title, has had a fantastic run at Richmond since 2016, leading 1,157 laps and scoring points in 17 of 18 stages.
Denny Hamlin comes home, Christopher Bell building on success, Kyle Busch has won six races in Richmond
Hamlin, a native of nearby Chesterfield, Virginia, has three Cup victories at Richmond, and Bell has back-to-back top-four finishes. While Hamlin is chasing his fourth victory in Richmond, Bell is looking for his first in the Cup Series. In five Xfinity Series starts, Bell also captured three checkered flags.
A victory by the 27-year-old would also extend a streak of six straight wins this season by drivers 30 and under.
Busch has six Richmond victories on his resume, dating back to Toyota’s first triumph there in 2009. His six career victories, including a sweep of both 2018 Richmond races, are the most among active drivers, but this is also the first appearance of NASCAR’S Next Gen race car at the track.
The two-time Cup Series champion said he hopes JGR’s prior success will carry over into the Next Gen car.
“Having good cars there has certainly been something we’ve been fortunate with at Joe Gibbs Racing over the years,” Busch said in a JGR press release. “I’ve won there six times, and I’ve been in the top-10 about every time we go there and also a lot of top-five finishes, so I would like to think we can keep that going and, more importantly, get a win. It would certainly be a good time for it, so we look forward to Richmond being one of those places we can do that.”
Stats courtesy of Racing Reference