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Snapshot: Richmond preview

April 26, 2014, Zack Albert,

Catch up quickly before Saturday's running of the Toyota Owners 400

RELATED: Race lineup | Pit stall assignments | Series standings

What: 60th annual Toyota Owners 400
: Richmond International Raceway
: Saturday, April 26
: FOX; MRN; SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Channel 90.
: 400 laps; 300 miles
: 7 p.m. ET

Pit road speed: 40 mph
Caution car speed
: 45 mph


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On the front row
1. Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet. (no speed; qualifying rained out)
2. Brad Keselowski, Team Penske No. 2 Ford 

Failed to qualify
Michael McDowell, Leavine Family Racing No. 95 Ford
Dave Blaney
, Randy Humphrey Racing No. 77 Ford 

Moving up front: Rookie Kyle Larson starts from the pole position, but because Coors Light Pole Qualifying was washed out by heavy rain Friday, he isn't credited with a pole win. Still, his first front-row start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is an improvement over his previous best -- an eighth-place starting spot at Phoenix International Raceway in March.

Fastest in practice
First practice: Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet (126.880 mph)
Final practice: Ryan Newman, Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet (124.235 mph) 

History lessons: Saturday night's race is the 116th for NASCAR's premier series at Richmond. The venue has undergone several changes in its lifetime, starting as a half-mile dirt track in 1953, progressing to a 0.542-mile asphalt track and eventually taking its current 0.75-mile form midway through the 1988 season. Davey Allison was the first Cup Series winner on the current configuration. 

Rainy review: For all the rain that has seemingly disturbed several race weekends in 2014, Friday's washout marked the first time Coors Light Pole Qualifying has been scrapped this year. 

Front-row success: Brad Keselowski notched the second-fastest speed in the first Sprint Cup practice at Richmond, clinching the No. 2 starting spot for the No. 2 Ford. The outcome means that Keselowski will start from the front row for the sixth time in the last eight Sprint Cup races. 

Quotable: "People are just trying to take chances to get that win and I think for us we have been I guess like a Ricky Bobby scene, we have been first or last. There has really been no in between." -- Kevin Harvick, two-time winner this year, on his up-and-down season. 

"We did have us a good honeymoon -- had a big bonfire at the house the other night. I was burning some brush and I look over and I was like, 'How's your honeymoon, honey? Pretty good, huh?' " -- Newlywed Clint Bowyer, on his post-wedding extravaganza. 

Defending Toyota Owners 400 Champion
Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet (won last April in the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) 

Former Richmond winners in field

Kyle Busch (4), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (3), Kevin Harvick (3), Jimmie Johnson (3), Tony Stewart (3), Clint Bowyer (2), Denny Hamlin (2), Jeff Gordon (2), Kurt Busch (1), Carl Edwards (1), Kasey Kahne (1), Matt Kenseth (1), Joe Nemechek (1), Ryan Newman (1). 

Fantasy sleeper (from

Aric Almirola -- The Richard Petty Motorsports driver has been absolutely dynamite on the circuit's short tracks this season. With finishes of 15th, third and eighth at Phoenix, Bristol and Martinsville, Almirola has gotten off to the best start of his career on these small ovals in 2014. Almirola will be making his fifth career Richmond start this Saturday night. In his previous four starts, he has one top-10 finish and it came in this event one year ago. In the fall of 2013 he returned to RIR and claimed a respectable 20th-place finish. The way the No. 43 Ford team is racing right now, there's no reason to expect less than a top-15 finish from Almirola in the Toyota Owners 400.


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