Richmond Fantasy Spin – AJ Allmendinger has piloted the #16 car in every race held at shorter-flat tracks in 2022, so Richmond will be Gragson’s first race at a shorter-flat track. In the two most recent races on this track type when Allmendinger was behind the wheel of the #16 machine, he came home with results of 10th (Gateway) and 16th (New Hampshire). That said in 2022, Gragson has only cracked the top ten once, and that was just an 18th at Kansas. On Sunday, I would feel comfortable viewing Gragson as a low-twenties driver who has potential for upside.
Richmond Track History – In the Xfinity series at Richmond, Gragson has been pretty good. Gragson has a win under his belt here and in 5 of his 7 starts he’s finished in the top 8. This spring, Gragson finished 2nd in Stage #1 but had problems and then went on to finish 21st. Last fall, Gragson led 22 laps and then raced his way to victory lane. In his three starts prior to that, Gragson had results of 5th, 8th and 7th.
Richmond Fantasy Spin – At Richmond, you can probably pencil in Cole Custer for a low to mid-20’s finish. Custer’s last three Richmond results are either 22nd or 23rd, and overall in 4 of his 5 RR races he’s finished between 22nd to 26th. In 2022 at shorter-flat tracks over the combined events, Custer has the 22nd best Total Speed Ranking and a 23.5 average finish. In the last three races on this sub-track type, Custer’s results are 22nd (Richmond), 29th (Gateway) and 27th (New Hampshire).
Richmond Track History – Cole Custer’s resume at Richmond isn’t anything to get excited about and as you read above, in 4 of his 5 starts he’s finished between 22nd to 26th. Over the last three races, Custer has clearly been a low 20’s performer. This spring, Custer finished 22nd, had a 23.4 average running position and had the 20th best Total Speed Ranking. In 2020, Custer had basically identical low 20’s performances and his results for the season were 22nd and 23rd.
Richmond Fantasy Spin – On the Cup level, Richmond has been like a buzz saw to Haley and he’s 3 for 3 at finishing 27th or worse, but I think he’s primed to start turning around his fortunes, since it’s hard to do much worse. In 2022 at shorter-flat tracks minus Richmond which wasn’t a smooth race for him this spring, Haley has a 17.0 average finish. On Sunday, I’m going to view Haley as a high-teens to low-twenties driver who has a little bit of upside.
Richmond Track History – Justin Haley hasn’t had a smooth race yet at Richmond on the Cup level and he’s 3 for 3 at finishing 27th or worse. This spring, Haley started in the rear of the field and then had to serve a pass thru penalty when the race went green. It ultimately wasn’t a huge deal since he got the free pass when Kurt Busch brought out the early caution, but yet Haley never ran well. In the race, Haley finished 29th, had a 25.7 average running position and had the 21st best Total Speed Ranking. Last fall in the #77, Haley was a high-twenties performer. In the race he finished 27th, had a 28th place average running position and his Total Speed Ranking was the 29th best. In spring 2021, Haley had engine problems right at the start and completed just a single lap (finished 38th). Of course, no fantasy lessons could be learned from that race.