There is no substitute for short-track racing.  It is the way many drivers came up through the ranks at the local level and even the under-card series in stock cars.   It means that even though the distance around the track is not very long, the action is intense.  At Richmond, that was no exception.

It had everything you could expect, tire problems, fires, and a four-driver battle at the finish.  No one was giving an inch, and each driver that wanted the win wanted it more badly than the others they were racing against.  But it came down to exactly what a short-track is known for, a beating, banging, hammer down fight to the finish, where every driver would not just yield.

Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski all went after the checkered flag in the late going, getting sideways on a few occasions but no driver wrecking.

All the while one guy stayed away from the beating between those three, took advantage of the situation, and rocketed to the lead.  A strong car all night, Joey Logano found the groove and made it work.  He would pull away and not look back, capturing his second win of the season and all but securing his spot in the Chase.

Sure, after the race there were a few fingers pointed, gloves thrown, and at the same time one very strong right hook landed.  But the big winner was the No. 22 team, as they celebrated into the night.

That win did not mean a win this week in the standings, but all but one of the writers had strong runs at Richmond.  Here's where everyone now stands after the Toyota Owners 400:


Kara Martin (340) Kyle Busch finished 3rd - 2

Ryan O'Hara (338) Kevin Harvick finished 11th - 3

Dustin Parks (313) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 7th - 1

Michael Hirshbein (310) Kyle Busch finished 3rd- 1

Rob Tiongson (305) Jeff Gordon finished 2nd - 1

Patti Rodisch (298) Kyle Busch finished 3rd - 1

Rob Blount (298) Kevin Harvick finished 11th - 1

Sal Sigala Jr (288) Jimmie Johnson finished 32nd - 2

Billy Fellin (273) Kyle Busch finished 3rd - 0

Aaron Rosser (272) Kevin Harvick finished 11th - 1

Misan Akuya (243) Kevin Harvick finished 11th - 0

James Broomhead (221) Kyle Busch finished 3rd - 1


Next Race:  So now after rumbling on one of the smaller tracks on the circuit, everything changes at the next race.  From the size of the track to the cars, and even the rules, it's different.  The largest track on the season, the steepest banking, and the biggest fears all come out.  The spoilers on the back have a shorter and narrower stance, the grille openings are moved, and the engines reduced in horsepower.  The restrictor plates have returned for the second time this season, at a track that constantly brings out insanity when it gets down to the wire.

It's a track where anyone can win, and everyone can lose.  Simply put, it's Talladega.

Writers, this is a wild card no matter how it's viewed.  Have your risks, or picks, sent in by Thursday, May 1, at 10 p.m. ET for the Aaron's 499.