New Hampshire Motor Speedway Magic Mile Notebook: Toyota Owners 400

(Press Release from New Hampshire Motor Speedway)

Richmond International Raceway (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Richmond International Raceway (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

**NEW HAMPSHIRE NEWS**

Formula Hybrid Set to Return for 9th Annual Competition
The only such contest of its kind in the United States, Dartmouth’s ninth annual Formula Hybrid Competition returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway April 27 through April 30. Featuring high-performance hybrid and electric race cars built by teams of undergraduate and graduate engineering students, the Formula Hybrid Competition is run by the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth. A total of 27 from across the globe are registered. Providing students with a uniquely challenging experiential learning experience, Dartmouth based its event on the Formula SAE® competition, in which the Dartmouth Formula Racing (DFR) team competed for over 10 years.

On the track this week …
Celebrating its 25th anniversary as the largest sports and entertainment facility in New England, the Magic Mile is at full speed as this week the speedway will host:

· 04/24 Penguin Roadracing School

· 04/25 BMW White Mountain

· 04/25 The Motorsport Lab

· 04/25 Moat Mountain Road Course Series

· 04/25 Loudon Road Race Series

· 04/26 Drift Spot

· 04/26 Moat Mountain Road Course Series

· 04/27 Formula Hybrid (4 days)

**NATIONAL STORYLINES**
(from NASCAR Media)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Next Race: Toyota Owners 400
The Place: Richmond International Raceway
The Date: Saturday, April 25th
The Time: 7 p.m.
TV: FOX, 7 p.m.
Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90
Distance: 300 miles (400 laps)

This race last year
Winner: Joey Logano
Pole Sitter: Kyle Larson
Margin of Victory: 0.946 seconds
Lead Changes: 20 among 8 drivers
Most Laps Led: Jeff Gordon 173 of 400 laps
Top-Five: Logano, Gordon, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth

Team Penske Tandem Attempts Turnaround At Richmond
Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano collided early in Sunday’s Bristol race, relegating them to finishes of 35th and 40th, respectively. The good news: They now head to a track at which they dominated last season.
The Team Penske tandem will attempt to rebound in Saturday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway (7 p.m. on FOX) – a track they swept last year. Keselowski followed up Logano’s victory in the spring race with a win from the pole in the fall. Logano ranks second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings (30 points behind Kevin Harvick), while Keselowski is fifth (-59).

Kenseth Breaks 51-Race Winless Drought At Bristol
Matt Kenseth and Tennessee’s Tri-Cities both ended droughts on Sunday.
The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing driver held off Jimmie Johnson on a green-white-checkered finish to visit Victory Lane at Bristol Motor Speedway, and complete a race that had two rain delays.
Kenseth’s win was his first in 51 starts (New Hampshire, 9/22/13) and the 32nd of his career. His JGR team has swept the two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series short track races this year (Denny Hamlin, Martinsville) and matched its win total from all of last season (2).
Kenseth heads to Richmond International Raceway this weekend for Saturday’s Toyota Owners 400. He claims one win, five top fives (16.7 percent) and 13 top 10s (43.3 percent) in 30 starts at the .75-mile track.

Hamlin Heads To One Of His Best Tracks In Search Of Consistency
Although virtually locked to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Denny Hamlin has had an up-and-down season.
He began the year turning a 42nd starting position into a fourth-place finish at Daytona, but then wrecked at Atlanta to place 38th before posting a showing of fifth at Las Vegas. Hamlin led 56 laps at Auto Club and looked like he’d contend for the win until a pit road penalty. Two weeks later at Martinsville he reached the high point of his 2015 campaign so far, capturing his first win since Talladega on May 4, 2014. The victory all but punched his ticket into the NASCAR’s playoffs.
Hamlin’s season hit another low point over the weekend at Bristol when neck and back spasms forced him out of the race after 22 laps. He was replaced in the No. 11 FedEx Toyota by NASCAR Next member Erik Jones, who piloted it to a 26th-place finish in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ‘debut’ (Note: All statistics from the race are credited to the starting driver, in this case, Hamlin).
The 34-year-old Virginian will try to find some consistency this weekend at Richmond International Raceway – one of his top tracks. Hamlin has dominated the loop data statistics at his hometown track, boasting the series-best driver rating (110.7), fastest laps run (597) and green flag speed (116.498). He claims two wins, two Coors Light Pole Awards, seven top fives (41.2 percent) and nine top 10s (52.9 percent) in 17 starts at Richmond.

Ricky Roars Into Richmond Trying To Continue Stenhouse Party
On Roush Fenway Racing owner Jack Roush’s 73rd birthday Sunday, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished fourth at Bristol to provide RFR with its highest finish since Carl Edwards won at Sonoma last season (June 22).
The finish was the third highest of Stenhouse’s career and just the second top 10 for RFR this season. He will attempt to build up his momentum in Sunday’s Toyota Owner’s 400 at Richmond International Raceway where he has one top-10 finish in four career starts.

Round 2: Elliott Attempts Second Sprint Cup Series Start
Teenage phenom Chase Elliott’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut did not go as planned.
The defending NASCAR XFINITY Series champion battled car trouble throughout the March 29 race at Martinsville, finishing 73 laps down in 38th.
Elliott gets the chance to redeem himself in Saturday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. No stranger to the track, the NASCAR Next alum posted second-place finishes in both his NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Richmond last season. This weekend will mark the first time he pulls double-duty, racing in both the XFINITY and Sprint Cup Series events.
The 19-year-old driver is scheduled to compete in three more NSCS races following Richmond: Charlotte (May 24), Indianapolis (July 26) and Darlington (Sept. 6).

Danica Patrick Sets Top-10 Record For Female Drivers
Danica Patrick battled her way to a ninth-place showing at Bristol for her sixth career top-10 finish, breaking Janet Guthrie’s record of five top-10 finishes by a female driver.
After eight races, Patrick ranks 13th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, 11 points above the Chase cutoff line. She owns a four-race top-20 streak and has finished no lower than 27th this season.
Guthrie, a former aerospace engineer, competed in NASCAR from 1977-80. A trailblazer, she was the first woman to qualify and compete in both the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500.

Broken At Bristol: All Three Season-Opening Top 10 Streaks End
Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. all rode seven-race top 10 streaks in the first seven events to the 1-3 positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, respectively. Following Bristol, they occupy the same spots on the NSCS leaderboard, but their top 10 streaks are now over (Their Bristol finishes: Harvick, 38th; Logano, 40th; Truex, 29th).
Morgan Sheppard can now rest easy knowing that his record 11 top-10 finishes to open the 1990 season still stands.
Currently, Jeff Gordon has the longest streak of consecutive top 10s, with five. He finished third at Bristol. The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports driver will try to continue his run at Richmond where he claims two wins, six Coors Light Pole Awards and the fifth-best driver rating (99.3).

History Lesson: Richmond’s ‘Perfect’ Evolution
Richmond International Raceway is often referred to as the “perfect” race track, combining short track excitement with the high speed thrills of a big track. But the 0.75-mile oval had to work to achieve perfection, to the tune of five configurations in its 62-year history.
The track previously known as Strawberry Hill, Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds and Virginia State Fairgrounds, hosted its first NASCAR race in 1953 as a half-mile dirt track. NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty won that April afternoon race, and won again in 1960 to become the first two-time Richmond winner.
In 1968, the track was paved and re-measured to 0.625 miles. In the only race run under that configuration, Richard Petty won after starting from the pole position. The following race, in April 1969, was run on a paved 0.5-mile oval. David Pearson, winner of the last dirt race at the track, took home the checkered flag.
The track changed one more time that year, to a 0.542-mile configuration, before the September race. This time the length stuck … for a while, at least. Thirty-seven races were run, dominated by names such as Petty, Allison and Earnhardt. The setup was particularly benevolent to Petty, who won nine of the first 12 races.
Following the Feb. 1988 race, the track underwent its final – and most dramatic – change. The half-mile oval was replaced by a 0.75-mile D-shaped oval. This configuration has hosted 53 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, the most of any Richmond layout. NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace has six wins on the current track, more than any other driver.

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