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Worldwide Express 250
Location: Richmond, Va.
Course: Richmond International Raceway
Format: 0.75-mile D-shaved oval
NASCAR Trucks Worldwide Express 250 Race Preview
Saturday night's Worldwide Express 250 will set the 10-driver field that will compete for the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series championship. The season's six race winners (an Ty Majeski, who clinched a playoff spot on points) will be joined by three others as the championship field is solidified, and there is arguably no better place to do it than at Richmond Raceway's short 0.75-mile oval. With everything to race for, the usual short-track action is bound to be kicked up a notch as drivers fight to keep their championship hopes alive.
Kyle Busch won a week ago at Pocono Raceway to claim Kyle Busch Motorsport's 100th series victory. He edged out Corey Heim at the finish line and it was his second victory of the season. Busch's victory meant no major shakeups in the playoff standings, leaving a slim nine-point margin between 10th and 11th with just one race remaining. The pressure will be on veteran Matt Crafton this week to hold onto that last playoff spot, with Stewart Friesen on the outside looking in. A first-time winner for the season could sour both drivers' chances, though. Anything can happen this week at the track that has produced 11 different winners from just 14 appearances on the schedule.
Key Stats at Richmond International Raceway
- Number of races: 14
- Winners from pole: 1
- Winners from top-5 starters: 9
- Winners from top-10 starters: 11
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 2
- Fastest race: 104.227 mph
Previous 10 Richmond Winners
2022 - Chandler Smith
2021 - John Hunter Nemechek
2020 - Grant Enfinger
2005 - Mike Skinner
2004 - Ted Musgrave
2003 - Tony Stewart
2002 - Tony Stewart
2001 - Jack Sprague
2000 - Rick Carelli
1999 - Greg Biffle
Racing at Richmond is all about track position. The best way to get that track position is to qualify well and then stay there for the rest of the race. This short oval's wide and flat turns offer ample opportunity to change grooves to make passes, but side-by-side racing is one of the slower ways around the circuit. The track's short lap distance also forces teams to run similar pit strategies, which means unexpected cautions are one of the best opportunities for teams to try something different. Given that mechanical grip comes at a premium, teams will generally take advantage of those cautions to pit for fresh tires. Opting not to head to pit road can gain that valuable track position, but the penalty is paid for with a lack of grip and slower lap times. Teams that hit their chassis set up quickly will have an advantage through the weekend as the rest of the field tries to play catch up.
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NASCAR DFS Picks for the Worldwide Express 250
The lineup for this weekend's Worldwide Express 250 takes advantage of drivers with extra motivation for this final race of the regular season. Zane Smith is not worried about making the playoffs, but he has the chance to wrap up the regular-season championship if he can maintain his lead atop the points. He has won two races this season and has an average Richmond finish of 14.3 from three starts. Stewart Friesen is one of those drivers with a playoff apearance on the line. He has a small deficit to Matt Crafton in the points, so Friesen will be doing all he can to finish as far forward in the field as possible. Like Smith, Friesen's average finish from three Richmond starts is 11.3. Another driver hoping to lock in his playoff spot is Matt DiBenedetto. The veteran doesn't have as much work to do as Friesen, but he will be extra cautious not suffer any disasters. DiBenedetto has a 31-point cushion to the non-playoff spots and will be working to maintain or expand that this weekend. Taylor Gray is not part of the playoff battle, but his recent results have been playoff worthy. He hasn't finished outside of the top 15 in his last five starts and finished third last week at Pocono. He also finished sixth last season in his only series start at Richmond despite starting that contest back in the 24th position. Bret Holmes will be making his second series start at Richmond this week. He drove to an impressive 15th-place finishing position in 2022 after starting 31st. Holmes is 20th in the championship standings and last finished in the top 15 at World Wide Technology Raceway. Lastly, Hailie Deegan is still trying to make the most of her move to ThorSport Racing in 2023. She is 17th in the standings with just one top-10 finish. She should have some confidence from her 13th-place finish at Pocono last week, though. Deegan has two prior Richmond starts with a best result of 17th.