Kevin Harvick’s Richmond victory should have surprised no one. Harvick was overdue; so was Richard Childress Racing, which scored a pair of top-five finishes after going 0-for-24 in 2013. Since being crashed out of the Daytona 500 – after winning the Sprint Unlimited – Harvick has completed every lap with an average finish of 11.0.
RCR teammate Paul Menard, with a trio of top-10 finishes, has completed each of the season’s 2,990 laps with three top-10 finishes and is off to his best NASCAR Sprint Cup start. Harvick and Menard rank ninth and 10th in the standings, each scoring 271 points.
Jeff Burton raced his way into the lead at Richmond ultimately finishing fifth, his first top five of 2013.
Each merits a good look this week at Talladega Superspeedway. Harvick won the Aaron’s 499 in 2010. Menard finished second in the track’s 2008 fall race driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Burton, bidding to break a 158-race winless streak, owns Talladega’s top Driver Rating of 91.4. He’s the track leader in Green Flag Passes and Most Quality Passes. Burton finished second in the 2011 fall race and was 10th in both Talladega starts a year ago. Richard Childress’ drivers have won an even dozen times on NASCAR’s longest oval track, most by an owner.