Found April 29, 2013 on Fox Sports:
Short-track racing under the lights usually produces some of the most exciting contests of any season. Saturday night's Toyota Owners 400 was no exception either. Richmond International Raceway is one of the drivers' favorite tracks, and they let it all hang out last weekend. Throughout the 400 laps unlikely frontrunners took turns leading, while some favorites had challenges. In the final segment it looked as though Juan Pablo Montoya was going to claim his first oval victory, but a late caution and the team's decision to pit allowed others into the mix. The resulting restart saw Kevin Harvick make a terrific low-side pass into the lead and never look back. Prior to the caution it was Harvick who was chasing, but the restart gave him just the window of opportunity he needed to seal the deal. Talladega Superspeedway is on the schedule for this weekend. The giant track is the second restrictor-plate race of the season, and almost all know that it can produce some surprising results. Favorites can often encounter trouble, while surprises can come from almost anywhere in the pack. The Aarons 499 can be a game of roulette, but some can claim relatively consistent competitive races. UPGRADE Kevin Harvick - Coming from seventh position on the final green-white-checkered finish, Harvick pulled an impressive pass that shot him into the lead with little more than a single lap remaining Saturday night. Harvick was quick all evening, and forced this win into his hands with gutsy driving. He has been a driver on the cusp of success for much of the early season, but just hadn't made the breakthrough. This will be his last season with Richard Childress Racing, but both parties want to end the relationship on top. Last week's win pushed him two spots higher in the points to ninth and gives him momentum to roll onward. He scored two top-5s in the last three lead-lap finishes at Talladega Superspeedway and should be a top fantasy choice this week. Clint Bowyer - Bowyer has best average finish, 6.6, in the last five Talladega races, nearly four positions better than the next closest competitor. He finished on the lead lap four times in that span, claiming two wins, three top-5s and four top-10s. His second-place finish Saturday in Richmond was his second consecutive, and third in the last four races. Those results put him fifth in the championship standings, placing him in a very strong position for a spot in the Chase. Michael Waltrip Racing continues to put racy cars on track, and Bowyer is definitely capable of closing the deal for his first win of the season this week in the Aarons 499. Brad Keselowski - Keselowski is another driver who can claim a win in the last five Talladega races. With that win, two top-5s and four top-10s, he has the third-highest finishing average among active drivers in that period at 11.0. Keselowski suffered through his fair share of adversity Saturday night. The No. 2 car hit the wall early, which put Keselowski behind but not out. Continuing to work diligently on its car, the team helped Keselowski wheel it further and further up the standings. However, finally the engine lost a cylinder and the night was over. Before that, Keselowski had worked his way back in touch with the leaders, and could have been in line for a top-10 result. Talladega is a place where this team came rebound quickly. Jimmie Johnson - While Talladega and Daytona International Speedway are different tracks, both are restrictor-plate behemoths where Hendrick Motorsports often makes an impression. Bearing that in mind, it is hard to look further than February's Daytona 500 winner. He may only have an average finish of 17.2 in the last five Talladega races, but he does own a win and another top-10 in that time. He was in line for at least a top-10 result Saturday evening, until he was caught in an incident that forced him to the pits for repairs. However, Johnson steadily picked his way as far forward as possible, coming home 12th when all was said and done. Johnson can win on restrictor-plate tracks, which is why fantasy owners should consider playing him this week. Matt Kenseth - After getting slapped with significant penalties following his win in the STP 400, Kenseth promptly put the adversity behind him and qualified on pole for last week's Toyota Owners 400. This team brushed off a severe setback and came back swinging, which is the mark of champions. Despite testing Kurt Busch's temper on the final lap, Kenseth tallied another top-10 finish for the season, which will help him overcome the points deductions from prior rule infractions. This team has been a leader for much of the season, and it is sad to see something off the track drop it from contention. This team will be hungrier than ever, and that could mean plenty of top-10s in the near future. DOWNGRADE Marcos Ambrose - It is slightly difficult to find current drivers who haven't scored at least one top-10 finish in Talladega through the last five races, but Ambrose can claim that prize. His average finish at the track in that time is 25.2, with an average start of 20.2. No matter how you slice it, Ambrose simply isn't a top choice this week. His engine gave way early Saturday night, ending his Richmond effort, and this week presents a circuit where Ambrose just hasn't gotten the job done. At times he has shown that he can race with the best of them in the draft, but that alone is not enough to warrant a fantasy selection this week. Carl Edwards - With just one top-10 finish in the last five Talladega races, Edwards may not be a go-to driver this week. His average finish in the last five Talladega races is 20.2, despite finishing on the lead lap three times. He only led 10 laps in those races, and Roush Fenway Racing hasn't traditionally been a powerhouse on restrictor-plate tracks. The team has a victory already this season, along with four other top-10 finishes in the first nine races. Those results are enough to place Edwards second in the point standings, but that doesn't mean the team will do that every week. Talladega can be hit or miss for teams and drivers, and recently this team has been missing there. Ryan Newman - While his team owner is struggling, Newman hasn't fared quite as badly. Two top-10 finishes in the last five events isn't what the team is aiming for, but it isn't terrible either. This week, however, could be a week to pass on the No. 39. His average finish in the last five Talladega races is 26.2, with three lead-lap finishes. His lone top-10 in those races is disappointing given that he only failed to finish in one of those tries. Stewart-HAAS Racing has struggled to live up to its potential this season, represented in Newman's inconsistent finishes this season. Frustration is starting to build, which could breed mistakes. That won't help right the ship. Jamie McMurray - Saturday night's Toyota Owners 400 showcased Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, but yet again neither driver was able to seal the deal. Juan Pablo Montoya led late in the race, and McMurray was solidly in the top runners at times as well. The final pit stops and green-white-checkered finish dropped both down the order, and McMurray fared the worst, coming home 26th. At Talladega, two lead-lap finishes and just one DNF are two ingredients for a disappointing average finish, and that is just what McMurray brings to this week's Aarons 499. His average finish in the last five Talladega races with those statistics is 26.2, making him a less than optimal selection for fantasy rosters this week. Kurt Busch - It is a bit difficult to put Busch in the Downgrade column this week. The No. 78 was close to winning Saturday night, and Busch drove well above what the car was probably capable of, but the race didn't come to him in the final laps. Busch is driving for a team that has won at Talladega, and anyone knows that Busch can finish strongly at a restrictor-plate race. Unfortunately, his average finish in the last five Talladega races is 28.6 with just two lead-lap finishes. In fact, he failed to finish twice in those five tries, and that is why Busch is a gambler's pick this week. Talladega can produce random top and bottom finishes, and since Busch has finished more on the downside recently, it makes selecting him a risk. Follow @cjradune on Twitter. Radune was named the 2012 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Get a FREE RotoWire 10-day trial (no credit card required) at .

Kevin Harvick wins at Richmond

Kevin Harvick won Saturday night's race at Richmond International Raceway by plowing through traffic on a two-lap sprint to the finish. Juan Pablo Montoya was trying to hold off Harvick for his first win since 2010 when the caution came out with four laps remaining. It sent the race into two laps of overtime, and most of the field gave up track position to pit for tires. Montoya...

CUP: Harvick Wins In Wild Richmond Finish

Kevin Harvick charges to first win of season after late-race caution spoils night for Montoya…

CUP: Harvick Shines On Strange Weekend

Kevin Harvick the winner in a weekend of fights, crashes and – uh, that kick…

Harvick Wins at Richmond

Photo: Justin Edmonds/NASCAR via Getty Images The last three races on the Sprint Cup schedule have been won from the pole and Matt Kenseth tried to keep that record going at the Toyota Owner’s 400 on Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway. While he shot off like a rocket and led the most laps, the Chevrolets of Kurt Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya had the most power towards...

Kevin Harvick Scores Dramatic Win at RIR

Photo Courtesy of Justin Edmonds/NASCAR via Getty Images When the dust finally settled on Richmond International Raceway Saturday night, ‘Ol Happy Harvick was all smiles yet again. Harvick plowed through traffic in overtime, driving from seventh to Gatorade Victory Lane. He did it with one of those “Where did he come from?” moves. “Just shifted gears, hit the pedal and hoped...

Kevin Harvick wins Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway

Kevin Harvick won the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night finishing ahead of Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano. Matt Kenseth sat on the pole for the race. Kenseth and Clint Bowyer would lead much of the first three-quarters of the race. On lap 159 Brad Keselowski cut a right front tire four laps later the sprinklers at the track began watering the grass...

Start ‘N’ Park Blog Pick ‘Em Challenge – Recap for Richmond

With another week in the books, here are this week’s Start ‘N’ Park Blog Pick ‘Em Challenge results. Michael got the clean sweep by picking Kevin Harvick Friday night in the Nationwide Series race and Clint Bowyer Saturday night in the Sprint Cup Series race. By doing so, he was able to overtake Matt for the overall standings lead by one point, 74 to 73. Nationwide Series...

Richard Childress Racing Toyota Owners 400 Race Recap

Richard Childress Racing teammates finished first (Kevin Harvick), fifth (Jeff Burton) and 13th (Paul Menard). Harvick and Menard are tied for ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 72 markers, while Burton sits 19th. The No. 29 Chevrolet SS team ranks ninth in the Sprint Cup Series owner championship point standings...

RotoWire NASCAR Barometer

Short-track racing under the lights usually produces some of the most exciting contests of any season. Saturday night's Toyota Owners 400 was no exception either. Richmond International Raceway is one of the drivers' favorite tracks, and they let it all hang out last weekend. Throughout the 400 laps unlikely frontrunners took turns leading, while some favorites had challenges...

Late caution costs Montoya much-needed victory

(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.) By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer It's been a season of bad breaks for Juan Pablo Montoya. So it was only fitting when things again didn't go his way. Montoya was sailing toward his first victory since 2010 when an ill-timed caution ruined everything. He had led for 67 laps Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway...

Carnage-Filled Race Leaves the Closer in Victory Lane

Photo- Getty Images The whole race changed after the eleventh and final caution came out in Saturday Night’s Toyota Owners 400. Most of the drivers pitted while a few stayed out. When the green flag fell for the restart, craziness ensued. Kevin Harvick came out of nowhere to take the lead with two laps to go. That pass for the lead left him in victory lane after a race that could...
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.