Richmond International Raceway

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Richmond International Raceway
Richmondir.jpg
Richmond International Raceway as seen from the stands.
Richmond International Raceway as seen from the stands.
Location Henrico County, Virginia, United States
Time zone GMT - 5
Coordinates 37°35′30″N 77°25′15″W / 37.59169°N 77.42091°W / 37.59169; -77.42091Coordinates: 37°35′30″N 77°25′15″W / 37.59169°N 77.42091°W / 37.59169; -77.42091
Capacity 97,912
Owner International Speedway Corporation
Operator International Speedway Corporation
Opened 1946
Former names Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway 1969–1988
Virginia State Fairgrounds 1964–1968
Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds 1955–1963
Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds 1946–1955
Major events NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Toyota Owners 400
Federated Auto Parts 400
NASCAR Nationwide Series
ToyotaCare 250 (spring race)
Virginia 529 College Savings 250 (fall race)
D-shaped oval (1988-present)
Surface Asphalt
Length 0.75 mi (1.2 km)
Turns 4
Banking 14° in turns
8° on frontstretch
2° on backstretch
Lap record 0:20.674 seconds (130.599 mph) (Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports, 2013, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series)
NASCAR Cup racecars before the start on the 1/2 mile configuration in September, 1984.
The pits during a 1985 NASCAR Cup race

Richmond International Raceway (RIR) is a 3/4-mile (1.2 km), D-shaped, asphalt race track located just outside Richmond, Virginia in Henrico County. It hosts the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series. "America's Premier Short Track" formerly hosted a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, an IZOD IndyCar Series race, and two United States Auto Club sprint car races.

Richmond International Raceway is one of a few race tracks to host all of its events under the lights. The track sold out 33 consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. The sellout streak ended in September 2008 partially due to the economic downturn, though the major factor in ticket sales was the impact of Tropical Storm Hanna.[1]

Richmond has hosted the final "regular-season" race, leading up to the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, each year since the Chase concept was introduced in 2004. The race is often referred to as "One Last Race to Make The Chase."

In 2010, Richmond International Raceway introduced a state-of-the-art Video Scoring Tower that boasts more LED square footage than any other in the motorsports industry. The cap features four high definition LED screens that measure 38-feet wide by 24-feet high. The screens broadcast live race action and pre-produced video and graphics. The stem shows running order and has the ability to rotate through the entire field.

Richmond Raceway Complex[edit]

Richmond International Raceway is located at the Richmond Raceway Complex, which is an 1,000-acre (4.0 km2), multi-purpose facility.

Richmond Raceway Complex also hosts the Intergalactic Bead Show, Virginia Golf Show, Bassarama, Richmond Home and Garden Show, RV and Camping Expo, Richmond Boat Show, Richmond Classic Sports Card Show, East Coast Sawmill and Logging Equipment Expo, Craftsmen Classic Spring and Christmas Shows, Bizarre Bazaar Spring and Christmas Shows and other various arts and craft events.

Outdoor festivals currently hosted by Richmond Raceway Complex include the 102.1 "The X" chili cook-off, the ACCA Temple Pork Festival and concerts featuring local and national recording artists.

Outdoor festivals that have been held there included the Virginia State Fair, Richmond Highland Games & Celtic Festival, March of Dimes Bikers for Babies, K95 Country Music Festival and the Virginia food festival.

The former name for RRC was Strawberry Hill until RIR bought out the Virginia State Fairgrounds in 1999. The Strawberry Hill Races, which are a series of steeplechase horse races were formerly held the third Saturday of April at the Richmond Raceway Complex. In 2001, the Races were moved to Colonial Downs in New Kent County, Virginia's first Thoroughbred racetrack.[2]

NASCAR-sanctioned races[edit]

Richmond International Raceway is home to two NASCAR races on both the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series.

There are a pair of spring races, usually held on the last weekend of April. The Nationwide race is currently 250 laps (187.5 miles) and is named the ToyotaCare 250.[3] The Sprint Cup race is currently 400 laps (300 miles) and is named the Toyota Owners 400.[4]

There are a pair of fall races, usually held on the second weekend of September. The Nationwide race is currently 250 laps (187.5 miles) and is sponsored by Virginia 529 College Savings Plan. It is named the "Virginia 529 College Savings 250".[5] The fall Cup race is currently 400 laps (300 miles). It is currently sponsored by Federated Auto Parts and is named the Federated Auto Parts 400.[6]

Until 2005, RIR was home to a fall Camping World Truck Series race. Starting with the 2006 schedule, that date was transferred to Talladega Superspeedway. Until 2009, RIR was also home to a June Indy Racing League IndyCar Series race. In July 2009, it was announced that the IRL would not return to RIR in 2010.

Statistics[edit]

  • October 12, 1946: Driving an open-wheel car, Ted Horn wins the first race at Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds over a ½-mile dirt track.
  • April 19, 1953: Lee Petty wins the first NASCAR "Grand National Division" race with an average of 45.535 mph (73.281 km/h) at “Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds".
  • 1955: Paul Sawyer and legendary racer Joe Weatherly buy the property. Track is known as “Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds.”
  • March 10, 1964: race run under temporary lights
  • The track operated as a 0.5-mile (0.80 km) oval through the spring race of 1988. During the spring and summer of 1988, the track was reconfigured to its current layout of 0.75 miles (1.21 km). The first race under the new configuration was in September 1988. Lights were added for the fall 1991 race.
  • The track was previously called Strawberry Hill,[2] Virginia State Fairgrounds, and Richmond Fairgrounds Speedway; the annual fair made the track a popular venue.
  • Richard Petty holds the record of most wins at Richmond with 13 victories; David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip and Rusty Wallace are tied for second with six.
  • Richmond is the site of the famous battle between Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip in 1986. Earnhardt tapped Waltrip in turn 4 and both drivers hit the wall, handing the win to Kyle Petty who avoided the crash and won.
  • RIR hosted an International Race of Champions event in 2004 and 2005, won by Matt Kenseth in 2004 and Mark Martin in 2005, with 2005 being the final season of the series.
  • Site of Kasey Kahne's first career Cup Series win in 2005.
  • Site of Tony Stewart's first career Cup Series win in 1999.

Current races[edit]

Previous races[edit]

Records[edit]

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series records[edit]

(As of 9/10/11)

Most Wins 13 Richard Petty
Most Top 5s 34 Richard Petty
Most Top 10s 41 Richard Petty
Starts 63 Richard Petty
Poles 8 Richard Petty, Bobby Allison
Most Laps Completed 21135 Richard Petty
Most Laps Led 5136 Richard Petty
Avg. Start* 3.7 Bobby Isaac
Avg. Finish* 5.0 Kyle Busch

* from minimum 10 starts.

References[edit]

External links[edit]