In the NASCAR Cup Series 2020 Playoff opener, the fans enjoyed some wild racing that saw Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott wreck while battling for the lead, and as a result the race win fell to Kevin Harvick, giving him his series leading eighth victory of the season. All that action has paved the way for Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The 2020 season marks the third time the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s second race has been held at Richmond Raceway (2018-2020). The 0.75-mile track located in Richmond, Virginia is the third track in series history to host the second race of the Playoffs; joining Dover International Speedway (2004-2010) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway (2011–2017). Prior to 2018, Richmond Raceway was the regular season finale for the NASCAR Cup Series from 2004-2017.
A total of 12 different drivers have won the second race of the Playoffs (2004-2019), led by Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Jimmie Johnson with three wins (2005, 2009, 2010); followed by Kyle Busch (2017, 2018) and Matt Kenseth (2013, 2015) with two victories each. No non-Playoff driver has ever won the second Playoff race in the NASCAR Cup Series.
|Second Race of The Playoffs – Race Winners|
|Track||Playoff Race Winners||Date|
|Richmond||Martin Truex Jr||Saturday, September 21, 2019|
|Richmond||Kyle Busch||Saturday, September 22, 2018|
|Loudon||Kyle Busch||Sunday, September 24, 2017|
|Loudon||Kevin Harvick||Sunday, September 25, 2016|
|Loudon||Matt Kenseth||Sunday, September 27, 2015|
|Loudon||Joey Logano||Sunday, September 21, 2014|
|Loudon||Matt Kenseth||Sunday, September 22, 2013|
|Loudon||Denny Hamlin||Sunday, September 23, 2012|
|Loudon||Tony Stewart||Sunday, September 25, 2011|
|Dover||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, September 26, 2010|
|Dover||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, September 27, 2009|
|Dover||Greg Biffle||Sunday, September 21, 2008|
|Dover||Carl Edwards||Sunday, September 23, 2007|
|Dover||Jeff Burton||Sunday, September 24, 2006|
|Dover||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, September 25, 2005|
|Dover||Ryan Newman||Sunday, September 26, 2004|
When Dover International Speedway hosted the second race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, twice the winning driver went on to win the series title – Jimmie Johnson (2009 and 2010).
When New Hampshire Motor Speedway moved to the second race in the Playoffs (2011 – 2017), only one driver won the event and went on to win the title – Tony Stewart in 2011. Stewart won five races in the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (a series-record) including the first two (Chicago and New Hampshire).
The worst finish by a driver in the second Playoff race that went on to win the title was:
- At Dover – The 2005 series champion, Tony Stewart, finished 18th.
- At New Hampshire – The 2015 series champion, Kyle Busch, finished 37th.
- At Richmond – The 2018 series champion, Joey Logano, finished 14th.
Last season’s champion, Kyle Busch, finished second in the Richmond Playoff race and went on to win the title – the second championship of his career (2015, 2019). Joe Gibbs Racing has held serve since the second race in the Playoffs has moved to Richmond with Kyle Busch winning in 2018 event and Martin Truex Jr. winning last season’s race.
Since the first NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway on April 19, 1953 the 0.75-mile track has hosted 127 series races producing 55 different pole winners and 52 different race winners. NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Richard Petty lead the series in poles at Richmond with eight each. Petty also leads the series in wins at Richmond with 13 victories (spring 1961, 1967 sweep, fall 1968, fall 1970, 1971 sweep, 1972 sweep, 1973 sweep, fall 1974 and spring 1975). Petty’s 13 wins are the third-most wins by a single driver at a single track in series history behind his 15 wins at Martinsville and North Wilkesboro. Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick lead all active drivers in poles at Richmond with three each. Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in wins at Richmond with six victories (spring 2009, spring 2010, spring 2011, spring 2012 and spring 2018, Playoff race 2018).
A total of 11 former Richmond Raceway winners are entered this weekend, eight of which are 2020 Playoff contenders – Kyle Busch (six wins), Denny Hamlin (three), Kevin Harvick (three), Martin Truex Jr. (two), Clint Bowyer (two), Joey Logano (two), Kurt Busch (two) and Brad Keselowski (one).