The 2023 Richmond July Race Report has five green-flag passes out of the 18 lead changes, drivers taking themselves out with mistakes, and only one natural caution.
As usual, we start with cautions and lead changes. Richmond is a strategy race, with crew chiefs weighing how many positions they can make up if they pit for new tires. Because of that, nine of the 18 lead changes happened when drivers inherited the lead due to other drivers pitting. That left only five green-flag passes and four passes during yellow-flag pit stops.
Those four yellow-flag pit stops, however, were sort of weird.
For example, Tyler Reddick led lap 234, while Brad Keselowski led laps 233 and 235. That’s because both pit on the same lap. Reddick’s pit stall was ahead of the start-finish line and Keselowski’s behind it.
Reddick crossed start-finish before stopping for service, whereas Keselowski had to stop before passing start-finish. He still beat Reddick off pit road.
I count eight leaders, five with earned leads.
There were three cautions: two stage-end cautions and one accident in the waning laps of the race. This is the smallest number of natural cautions of any race this year. Only 5.25% of the race was run under caution.
A number of drivers who looked competitive made mistakes that cost them the lead and, in some cases, the win.
- The No. 23 team had a problem with the right jack during a pit stop
- The No. 10 team incurred a penalty for running thru the commitment box
- The No. 41 team had to back up in his pit box after stopping over the pit box line
- The No. 6 got into his pit box at a funny angle. The pit was legal, but it took him a long time to get back to the front of the field after the delay.
Kudos to Chris Buescher and RFK Racing for their win, but especially to Brad Keselowski. He’s turned from a brash young man who liked controversy for the sake of controversy into a mature veteran whose comments shows he thinks deeply about things. I think buying into Roush Fenway was good for him — and it’s proving to be great for Roush and Fenway as well
What happened to the Chevys and, in particular, Hendrick Motorsports? Chase Elliott was the top finisher at P13. Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman just barely finished on the lead lap, and four-time winner WIlliam Byron finished off the lead lap.
What must Daniel Suárez do to catch a break? He not only suffered from whatever ailed the Chevys, he spun after contact with Noah Gragson. The No. 99 pilot has had the worst luck this year of any driver.
And it’s clearly weighing on him. You can tell just by the tension in his voice and the tight-lipped, perfunctory smiles. Trackhouse Racing is nowhere near where it was last year, but teammate Ross Chastain has still won a race. Suárez may not even make the playoffs this year.
And that’s your 2023 July Richmond Race Report!