By Jim Utter
Three things to watch
1 . In the Chase, a host of one-win drivers including Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman and Marcos Ambrose are hoping put in a strong enough performance to cement a wild card berth.
2 . In the battle for the race victory, Busch, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick have had the most success in the Cup races at Richmond, with Busch having won four of the last seven.
3 . If Busch and Gordon find themselves racing for the lead and the final spot in the wild card on the final lap of the race, everybody else better watch out.
Jim Utter gives you three picks for your fantasy racing league:
Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt Jr. starts from the pole: Already securely in the Chase, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is looking for bonus points from wins and is off to a good start starting from the pole in Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400.
Earnhardt's lap of 127.023 mph knocked Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon from the top spot. It's Earnhardt's first pole of the season and 11th of his career. Earnhardt's most recent pole came in the 2011 Daytona 500.
Regan Smith will start third, Clint Bowyer fourth and Jimmie Johnson fifth. Series points leader Greg Biffle will line up 23rd.
Romney to appear at race: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will make an appearance at the start of Saturday night's Cup race at Richmond, NASCAR officials confirmed.
Romney plans to arrive shortly before the start of the Federated Auto Parts 400 after attending another event in the Richmond area earlier in the day. It's unclear how long Romney will remain at the race, officials said.
Romney also attended the season-opening Daytona 500, but the race was postponed until the next day. President Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, won Virginia in the 2008 election and the state is considered a battleground again this year.
Sadler won't return to RCR: Nationwide Series points leader Elliott Sadler confirmed on Friday he would not return to Richard Childress Racing next season regardless of whether he wins the series championship.
Sadler said he does not have a deal with a new team for 2013 but had talked to several about Nationwide and Cup rides.
“It's tough. If we can stay focused on the job at hand, which I think will be pretty easy for me and my team, we'll be fine,” he said.
Eury Sr. leaves JR Motorsports: JR Motorsports, a Nationwide Series team co-owned by Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., is looking for a new director of competition after its one, Tony "Pops" Eury Sr., "amicably" parted ways with the organization.
Eury, Earnhardt's uncle, is a winner of 55 NASCAR races in both the Nationwide and Cup Series as a crew chief. He has 28 years in the NASCAR industry.
Where: Richmond (Va.) International Raceway
Track type: 3/4-mile slightly banked, paved oval
Race distance: 400 laps or 300 miles
Weather: High in the 80s with a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms.
TV: Coverage begins at 7 p.m. on ABC. Green flag is 7:45 p.m.
Radio: Motor Racing Network