Well, I won’t lie; I had forgotten that Richmond has amazing potential to be a bit of a snoozer. Long green flag runs with little lead battles kind of made for a slow day. There wasn’t any hard-nosed racing or exciting restarts, honestly, the restarts were bland until the end. Tires being such a major factor also didn’t make for any exciting pit strategy; more than likely because teams were scared off by the poor outcome of Penske attempting some early race strategies.
Denny Hamlin had the car to beat all day with his teammate Martin Truex Jr. being the only car that could truly keep up with him all day. This was until Truex was caught speeding on pit road which sent him to the end of the lead lap on a green flag run, but he recovered well.
Joey Logano came to challenge in the end and was able to wrestle the lead away from Hamlin. It’s at this point I was praying to the racing God’s to give us a green-white-checker so that Hamlin had a chance at redemption after his failure to move Logano at Bristol.
I got my wish, but the situation changed drastically with Alex Bowman coming out of nowhere to steal the win away from all of them! We finally got to see those beautiful Ally colors in victory lane; very happy to see a new sponsor that has invested a lot into NASCAR get their due.
Alex Bowman is in the same boat as a guy like Blaney, where one win this year isn’t going to cut it. He’s gotta get multiple wins this year and prove he can contend for a championship. Obviously, this is a great start to that but multiple wins seem like they’re gonna be hard to come by.
Overall, this race was an average one. It was boring until the end, but it wasn’t drawn out and long and there was at least some decent action throughout the whole thing. Hamlin and Truex kept it interesting early on until someone else could come to challenge.
-Matt DiBenedetto scored a top ten. Still needs to find a way to find consistency if he wants a job in 2022.
-Austin Dillon gets a top ten at possibly his best track. Somewhat lackluster when many hoped he might challenge for his first win of the year.
-Ryan Blaney recovers from a horrible pit strategy call that put him a lap down and in 18th to recover during mostly green flag runs on the lead lap in 11th.
-Chase Elliott finishes 12th. Expected to be a contender today, but never seemed to have a decent car. He is now the only HMS car without a win; I don’t expect that to stick.
-Kyle Larson was a no-show in 18th. We thought he’d shook off his bad luck on short tracks last week, but he still has a few bugs to work out.
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