How can one define the word "perfection?" There are a lot of different ideas, but in reality it is hard to maintain. There has only been one perfect season in the NFL, and trying to achieve a perfect year in college basketball takes a lot of effort through the season and the tournament. In NASCAR, there has only been one date that has been considered the perfect race, that being July 4, 1984, when Richard Petty won his 200th career race with President Reagan in attendance.
But, in a way NASCAR does have one place that can be called perfection, as in "Racing Perfection."
A small track in Virginia is not the smallest on the circuit, but certainly has the biggest appeal. It has the shape of Michigan, tight corners like Martinsville, but has speeds like Bristol. It's a place that many drivers enjoy coming to because of the toughness it takes to go 400 laps around the place. It is the Richmond International Raceway, and what officially makes this place perfection is it is the first true Saturday night shootout of the season.
It makes the writers in the pool not only anxious to get going once again after a week off, but also makes it a lot more fun for them, as every one of them enjoys this speedway. Now the time has come to get back to it.
Here's who everyone has chosen for the Toyota Owners 400:
Misan Akuya: Kevin Harvick
Seeing how he dominated and won Phoenix, Darlington and has ran all year long as long as he stays out of trouble there is no reason why Happy Harvick won't grab his third win of the season.
Rob Blount: Kevin Harvick
He’s coming off a win at a track that he’s never won at and headed to a place that he’s always been strong at. He’s been the fastest car all season long (when stuff hasn’t broken). He’s going to go back-to-back.
James Broomhead: Kyle Busch
Billy Fellin: Kyle Busch
I had a real hard time picking between Busch and Denny Hamlin. Hamlin will be incredible motivated to win at his home track, but Busch just dominates the spring race here. I'll take the 18.
I am lucky enough to be out here covering the race once again for the RTD!
Michael Hirshbein: Kyle Busch
Kara Martin: Kyle Busch
He dominates RIR!
Ryan O'Hara: Kevin Harvick
Momentum is in his lap coming to Richmond and it should hopefully give me win #4.
Dustin Parks: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
I think aside from Harvick's two wins this year, the most impressive driver on the track so far has been the No. 88 group. One win, five top-fives and five top-10's through eight races, and just one DNF, that coming at Texas in his fireball accident (which is now in his race car graveyard). So the confidence level is high entering this weekend, a track where he has won at before and certainly wants to win at again.
Give me the National Guard team this week.
Patti Rodisch: Kyle Busch
Aaron Rosser: Kevin Harvick
If they can tame Darlington, they can win everywhere, as long as the car holds together.
Sal Sigala Jr: Jimmie Johnson
Rob Tiongson: Jeff Gordon
He's off to one of the best starts he's had thus far in his illustrious NASCAR career and the only thing that'd make it even better is a win, which seems very likely this Saturday night at Richmond. Watch for Jeff Gordon and Team 24 to finally get the monkey off their back with returning to the winner's circle, having previously getting the W at RIR in 1996 and 2000.
Standings after Darlington:
Ryan O'Hara (304) Jeff Gordon finished 7th - 3
Kara Martin (299) Jeff Gordon finished 7th - 2
Sal Sigala Jr (276) Brad Keselowski finished 17th - 2
Dustin Parks (275) Jimmie Johnson finished 3rd - 1
Michael Hirshbein (269) Kyle Busch finished 6th - 1
Rob Blount (264) Jimmie Johnson finished 3rd - 1
Rob Tiongson (261) Jimmie Johnson finished 3rd - 1
Patti Rodisch (257) Jeff Gordon finished 7th - 1
Aaron Rosser (238) Greg Biffle finished 5th - 1
Billy Fellin (232) Denny Hamlin finished 19th - 0
Misan Akuya (209) Tony Stewart finished 9th - 0
James Broomhead (180) Tony Stewart finished 9th - 1
Final Remarks: One thing about Richmond that is different than any other track is that it brings out the biggest emotions not just in drivers, but also in fans. Look at 1998 when Rusty Wallace spun out Jeff Gordon, and the crowd went insane. Then in 2008 when the same thing happened between Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr, but instead of being cheered there was more hatred coming from the crowd.
Everyone remembers what happened here at the last race before the Chase a year ago, and the stigma is still remembered and felt months after. But the time to erase that memory has arrived.
FOX will hope to make a new memory beginning at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday night.
Summary of Picks: