Maybe Saturday night’s race at Richmond will be different.
Cautions have steadily declined at Richmond since Denny Hamlin won a race that featured 16 cautions in the fall of 2016. The next race at Richmond featured nine cautions and each race after that has had seven or fewer cautions. None of the last five races have had more than five cautions.
What’s with the declining caution trend? We’re not entirely sure. It’s probably part track surface, part car and part tire construction. But it’s weird to see one of the few short tracks on the NASCAR schedule become such a predictable place lately.
Drivers who start up front also finish up front. When Alex Bowman won from 24th in the spring he became just the second driver dating back to 2015 to win at Richmond from outside the top 10.
With all the playoff drivers starting in the top 16, we’re going to be stunned if a driver who didn’t qualify for the postseason wins on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Here’s a look at what you need to know to bet the race. All odds are via BetMGM.
Martin Truex Jr. (+400)
Denny Hamlin (+500)
Kyle Larson (+600)
Kyle Busch (+600)
Joey Logano (+700)
Busch leads all active drivers at the track with six Cup Series wins. Hamlin has three, Truex and Logano each have two and Larson has one. Larson was 18th at Richmond in the spring and failed to lead a lap. Hamlin was second to Alex Bowman while the other three drivers also finished in the top 10. If you’re betting a favorite, it’s hard to ignore the three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers. JGR has seven of the last 11 Richmond wins.
Good mid-tier value
Christopher Bell (+1800)
Alex Bowman (+2000)
Anytime you can get the defending winner at a non-Daytona or Talladega track at +2000, you should take it. Bowman won the spring race at Richmond on strategy, but he should be competitive once again on Saturday night. And he needs a great run to be in a strong position to advance in the playoffs.
Bell finished fourth at Richmond earlier this year and has won three Xfinity Series races at the track.
Don’t bet this driver
Austin Dillon (+5000)
Dillon has been strong at Richmond recently. He’s failed to finish outside the top 15 just once in the last six races. But he’s led just 56 laps across those races. While he’s been good, he hasn’t regularly challenged for wins.
Looking for a long shot?
Bubba Wallace (+20000)
Wallace has been terrible at Richmond. His best finish is a 12th in 2019 and that’s the only time in six races that he’s finished inside the top 20. But he’s by far the best bet worth a dollar among drivers with astronomical odds.