The formal name of Sunday’s race at Richmond is the Toyota Owners 400. But will Toyota as a manufacturer finally break out of its season-long slump in the Cup Series? Winless in six starts this season, Toyota has never been hungrier for a win, and the stakes are particularly high for the automaker this weekend with Toyota Owners being the title sponsor of the event.
If the Toyota drivers can stay out of trouble on Richmond’s D-shaped, quarter-mile layout, history suggests it could be a good day for Toyota drivers, who've captured five of the last seven Cup races at the Virginia short track. Two of those wins have been courtesy of two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch, while Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. has been responsible for the other three — including the most recent last fall.
“Richmond is a great place for us,” said Busch, a six-time Richmond winner at the Cup level. “You’ve really got to be mindful of the bottom of the racetrack and also mindful of your brakes and how you use them, just because the track is so hard on brakes, especially getting into Turn 1, that you can really overheat your brakes, which overheats your tires and makes you slide around more. Having good cars there has certainly been something we’ve been fortunate with at Joe Gibbs Racing over the years. I’ve won there six times and I’ve been in the top-five about every time we go there, so I would like to think that we can keep that string going and, more importantly, get a win.”