Nationwide Series running its 1,000th race at Richmond

NASCAR's second-tier series, now known as the Nationwide Series, will celebrate a milestone on Friday at Richmond International Raceway -- its 1,000th race.

There have been 999 races run since the inception of the series in 1982. Dale Earnhardt won the series' first event 31 years ago at Daytona International Speedway. Who will have the honor of being the winner of the 1,000th race?

Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray are those Sprint Cup Series regulars competing in the Nationwide race at Richmond. Busch and Keselowski have won here in the past.

Busch holds the series record for most victories with 60. Four of them have come at Richmond, including his first career win on May 14, 2004. He finished third at this track in April.

"In the spring, we came with a good car, then couldn't get the handling right in the end, finished top-five, but wanted a win," Busch said. "Richmond is still a good track for me."

Busch already has nine wins in Nationwide this season. His most recent victory came two weeks ago at Bristol. He finished second to Kevin Harvick in last Saturday's race at Atlanta.

Keselowski won the spring event at Richmond. Can he make it a season-sweep here this weekend?

"It's probably going to take a bit more speed than we had a Bristol," Keselowski said. "Kyle (Busch) was really hooked up there, and I couldn't do a whole lot with him. Richmond has definitely been a good track for us, though. I've always enjoyed the challenge of racing there because you can really charge the corners and be aggressive."

After finishing third at Atlanta, Sam Hornish Jr. widened his lead in the point standings to 10 over Austin Dillon. Hornish has been atop the rankings for the past three weeks. There are nine races to go.

"We are in a decent place right now," Hornish said. "This team has had its ups and downs, yet we have come back better than ever."

Elliott Sadler, a Virginia native, is 26 points behind Hornish, while Regan Smith trails the leader by 29 points.

Forty-four teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Virginia 529 College Savings 250.

Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Friday, Sept. 6. Race: Virginia 529 College Savings 250. Site: Richmond International Raceway. Track: 0.75-mile oval. Start time: 7:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 250. Miles: 187.5. 2012 Winner: Kevin Harvick. Television: ESPN. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.