NASCAR: Why the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Is Such a Big Opportunity for Joe Gibbs Racing

by Jonathan Howard
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(Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

This weekend, NASCAR heads to Richmond and that means a big opportunity for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Toyota Owners 400. So far this season, JGR hasn’t had the best results. Not to mention that no Toyota driver on any team has won a race this year. Next Gen has been dominated by Chevy and Ford in Victory Lane.

While this season hasn’t been on the side of Joe Gibbs Racing, history at Richmond Raceway might be on their side. If you were a Toyota driver there isn’t any better place to snag a checkered flag than at the manufacturer’s own race?

This season, JGR has only had two top 5 finishes among their four drivers. Kyle Busch was fourth at Las Vegas and Christopher Bell recently finished 3rd at Circuit of the Americas. Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin have season-best finishes of 7th and 13th, respectively. That likely isn’t what they expected when the season began. Six races into the season and not much to show for it.

However, 8 of the last 12 races at Richmond have been won by a Joe Gibbs Racing driver. In fact, Truex Jr. has won three of the last five himself. Throw in the fact that Busch has six wins on the track in his career and it looks like a recipe for success. While that history is nice to have in your back pocket, these Next Gen cars have completely changed the game.

All the drivers on the JGR team, besides Bell, have at least 30 starts at Richmond. So, the experience is there. Now, if they can get the cars to run strong and fast they might have a big result at the Toyota Owners 400.

NASCAR Short Track Season Begins at Richmond and Joe Gibbs Racing Wants Results

This season two of the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have had some good results. As for Truex Jr. and Hamlin, they are trying to get things right. Hamlin has been troubled by some poor finishes despite solid racing for the majority of races. That’s how it goes, though. NASCAR races change in the blink of an eye and if you can’t respond fast enough, then bad things happen.

He ran fast in Las Vegas and Atlanta this season. However, it all comes down to the finish. It just hasn’t clicked for the No. 11 team. Richmond is a new opportunity to make the most of their chances and to repeat on past success.

The Richmond Raceway has been a place for wild finishes and great races for decades. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t expect some drama, chaos, and a good time this weekend. NASCAR is picking up the short track season in Richmond and Joe Gibbs Racing is going to be trying their best to secure the checkered flag.

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