Moving into Richmond both Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth have clinched their respective spots in the 2012 Chase field. Carl Edwards will need a victory and for Kyle Busch to finish 24th or worse (with no laps led) this weekend and for Jeff Gordon to finish 12th or worse to secure a spot. If Busch or Gordon supplant Tony Stewart in the top 10, Edwards will be eliminated.
RFR Chase History: Roush Fenway Racing has now placed 24 entries in the Chase field since its inception in 2004. The team has placed multiple entries inside the field in each season including occupying half the field in 2005 with a record five teams. Roush Fenway won the inaugural Chase and has finished second in the field on four more occasions, including last season.
Roush Fenway History at Richmond: Overall, Roush Fenway has started 278 races at Richmond in NASCAR action, winning 14 times, while bringing home 82 top-five and 130 top-10 finishes, 13 poles and leading a total of 4,845 laps across all three of NASCAR’s major series.
On the Sprint Cup Side: Roush Fenway has made 172 Cup starts dating back to 1988 at Richmond, winning on four occasions, with the first coming in 1990 and the last in 2005. Current Roush Fenway driver Matt Kenseth won at Richmond in the fall of 2002. Roush Fenway’s last Cup victory at Richmond came via Kurt Busch in 2005.
Winning Trends: Roush Fenway has won four Cup races at RIR, with three of the four wins coming in the fall. Roush has not won a ‘spring’ race at Richmond since Feb. 25, 1990.
Greg Biffle #16 3M Ford
Biffle on racing at Richmond International Raceway: “It feels good to be locked into the Chase. I’m ready for Richmond, but it’s been a hit or miss track for us. Richmond is definitely a driver’s track and the night race this weekend will be exciting for fans. We are taking a brand new chassis this weekend and hopefully we can get another win before the Chase starts.”
Crew chief Matt Puccia on racing at Richmond International Raceway: “Richmond is one of the fastest short tracks that we go to. It’s a unique D-shaped track and qualifying is very important. We are using this race as a last opportunity to prepare our short track program for the Chase and hopefully we can learn some stuff for Loudon.”
Richmond Stats: Biffle has an average starting position of 17.8 and average finish of 16.7 at Richmond.
Point Standings: Biffle is currently leading the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings, by eight points with one race remaining before the Chase.
Matt Kenseth #17 Ford EcoBoost Ford
Kenseth on racing at Richmond International Raceway: “You never know how the racing will be this weekend at Richmond with guys still trying to race their way into the Chase. I think certainly since NASCAR added the wild card element that it’s put another interesting twist into qualifying for the Chase so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens. It’s nice to know that we’re locked in as we head into Richmond though because in the past, I’ve gone there having to still make the Chase, so it’s nice to know we’re already in. Of course we’ll still be racing to get another win hopefully before the Chase begins.”
Crew chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Richmond International Raceway: “We’re locked into the Chase, which is nice, but we’re still shooting for another win before all that begins. With us being locked in though, we will try some set-ups this weekend that might help us at Loudon in a few weeks. Our short-track program has been something that we have been continually working on this year, so we’re hoping to find a few things from this weekend that will help us down the road. This car was a great car in regards to aero numbers so we’re hoping it has a great run this weekend at Richmond.”
In 25 Cup starts at Richmond, Kenseth has completed 9,758 of 10,003 laps (97.6 percent) and led for 223 laps
Kenseth has an average starting position of 21.8 and an average finishing position of 17.0 at Richmond
Kenseth has achieved one win, three top-five, and nine top-10 finishes at Richmond in the Cup series
This weekend at Richmond, Kenseth will pilot the No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion
Entering the weekend at Richmond, Kenseth is currently third in the NSCS driver point standings
Carl Edwards #99 Cheez-It/Kellogg’s Ford
Edwards on racing at Richmond International Raceway: “We’re going to Richmond to win. We need some luck and we need it to be good luck. We’ve passed more cars in the last month than we’ve passed all year. I wouldn’t go to Richmond with any other team, in any other car. I feel like the No.99 Cheez-It Ford is the favorite there because of how we ran in the spring and we’re settling for nothing less than victory lane.”
Crew chief Chad Norris on racing at Richmond International Raceway: “Carl has run really well at Richmond the last several races there. He probably should have won the spring race after leading over half of it, and he led a good portion of the race last fall as well. We’re taking the same car we raced there in the spring and hopefully we can close the deal this time. A lot of things have to happen for us to make the Chase, but the only thing within our control is to go out and win on Saturday night.”
CARL EDWARDS is currently 14th in the points with two top-five, 11 top-10 finishes and one pole.
FOR THE RECORD… Edwards has three top-five and eight top-10 finishes at Richmond. He has led 442 laps (fifth most of any active driver) and completed 96.5 percent (ninth most) of the laps he has attempted at the 0.75-mile D-shaped oval. His average starting position is 11.4 and his average finish is 14.8.
ON THE TRACK… The No. 99 Cheez-It team will be bringing chassis RK-801 to Richmond this weekend. This is the same car that led 206 laps in the spring and nearly won the race if not for a late-race penalty on a restart.
RACE TO THE CHASE…. To make the 2012 Chase Edwards needs to win while Kyle Busch has to finish 24th or worse (with no laps led) at Richmond. Jeff Gordon also has to finish 12th or worse at Richmond.
REWIND SEPTEMBER, 2011… Edwards entered Richmond with little to lose. He was already locked in the 2011 Chase and his only goal was to win. He came within 0.139 seconds of that goal, which was the margin of victory Kevin Harvick had over Edwards crossing the finish line.