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 71,000[1]
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 Xfinity 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 0:15.3197 seconds (176.244 mph) (Sam Hornish Jr., Team Penske, 2005, IndyCar)
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 Xfinity Series. "America's Premier Short Track" formerly hosted a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, a IndyCar Series race, and two USAC 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.[2]

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.

History[edit]

Racing in Virginia[edit]

Racing sports has a long tradition in Virginia, dating back to Colonial English times. [3] From 1898 to World War I, the Deep Run Hunt Club the Northside area of Ginter Park was the site of the club's somewhat annual Steeplechase race. [4] After a decade hiatus, the annual races were moved to Curles Neck in 1928 on the Southside of Richmond. [5]

World War II[edit]

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, all auto racing was suspended during WWII. From 1942 to 1945 no events were contested, banned by the U.S. government primarily on account of rationing.

Races resume, at Strawberry Hill farms[edit]

The 1946 AAA Championship Car season was unique in that it was the first post-war Indy Car race and because the Atlantic Rural Exposition had built a new state fairgrounds at the old Strawberry Hill farm near Ginter Park. [6] [7] [8] The 1/2 -mile [9] dirt track would be suitable for both annual "Strawberry Hill" horse races and car races, and was known as the "Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds Track," "Strawberry Hill," [10] and "Strawberry Hill Raceway" [11] On October 12, 1946, Ted Horn gained the distinction of winning the track's first race in an open-wheel Indy-style car. [12]

Strawberry Hill Raceway joins national racing circuits and makes improvements[edit]

Two years later, when NASCAR circuit was being formed, this short track joined several others on the circuit. [13] In 1953, the track began hosting the Grand National Series with Lee Petty winning that first race in Richmond. [14] The original track was paved in 1968. [15] In 1988, the track was re-designed into its present D-shaped configuration [16]

The name for the raceway complex was Strawberry Hill until the Virginia State Fairgrounds site was bought out in 1999 and re-named to become Richmond International Raceway. 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.[17]

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.

NASCAR-sanctioned races[edit]

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

There are a pair of spring races, usually held on the last weekend of April. The Xfinity race is currently 250 laps (187.5 miles) and is named the ToyotaCare 250.[18] The Sprint Cup race is currently 400 laps (300 miles) and is named the Toyota Owners 400.[19]

There are a pair of fall races, usually held on the second weekend of September. The Xfinity 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".[20] 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.[21]

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 IndyCar Series race. In July 2009, it was announced that IndyCar 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 0.542-mile (872 m) 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,[17] 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]

  1. ^ http://www.jayski.com/pages/tracks-seating.htm
  2. ^ http://www.rir.com/track_info/timeline/
  3. ^ http://www.deeprunhuntclub.com/about-drhc/history
  4. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=3QPyAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA45&dq=Richmond+strawberry+hill+Raceway+1946&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PghyVaiIK_TLsAS7noLgDQ&ved=0CDsQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=Richmond%20strawberry%20hill%20Raceway%201946&f=false page 44 of "Steeplechasing: A Complete History of the Sport in North America" by Peter Winants
  5. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=3QPyAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA45&dq=Richmond+strawberry+hill+Raceway+1946&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PghyVaiIK_TLsAS7noLgDQ&ved=0CDsQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=Richmond%20strawberry%20hill%20Raceway%201946&f=false page 44 of "Steeplechasing: A Complete History of the Sport in North America" by Peter Winants
  6. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=0goEAAAAMBAJ&pg=RA1-PA152&dq=richmond+atlantic+rural+exposition&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JA1yVZqHEcGxsAT5k4LwDw&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=richmond%20atlantic%20rural%20exposition&f=false
  7. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=yRenra9nfccC&lpg=PA81&dq=strawberry%20hill%20farm%20richmond%20Laburnum&pg=PA81#v=onepage&q=strawberry%20hill%20farm%20richmond%20Laburnum&f=false page 81 of Colonial Downs and More by Francis Marion Bush
  8. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=3QPyAAAAQBAJ&lpg=PA45&dq=Richmond%20strawberry%20hill%20Raceway%201946&pg=PA45#v=onepage&q=Richmond%20strawberry%20hill%20Raceway%201946&f=false page 45 of Steeplechasing: A Complete History of the Sport in North America By Peter Winants
  9. ^ http://www.sportstravel.com/venues/richmond-international-raceway.php
  10. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=JbABCwhdfhAC&lpg=PA641&dq=Richmond%20strawberry%20hill%20dirt%20Raceway%201946&pg=PA641#v=onepage&q=Richmond%20strawberry%20hill%20dirt%20Raceway%201946&f=false page 641 Encyclopedia of Stock Car Racing By Lew Freedman
  11. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=9Id0bHVBYEsC&lpg=PA43&dq=Richmond%20strawberry%20hill%20dirt%20Raceway%201946&pg=PA43#v=onepage&q=Richmond%20strawberry%20hill%20dirt%20Raceway%201946&f=false page 43 of "Nascar" By Nigel Kinrade, Steve Casper
  12. ^ http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20150420/COLUMNISTS/304209982 "In 1988, the track was totally redesigned and banked into its presence D-shaped configuration."
  13. ^ http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20150420/COLUMNISTS/304209982 "The original track was built by Virginia native Paul Sawyer in 1946 and was one of the first short tracks to join NASCAR's fledgling group of original tracks two years later. "
  14. ^ http://racing.ballparks.com/Richmond/index.htm "Richmond International Raceway has hosted the NASCAR Winston Cup Series since 1953. Lee Petty won the first race that year. "
  15. ^ http://racing.ballparks.com/Richmond/index.htm "The original track was paved in 1968."
  16. ^ http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20150420/COLUMNISTS/304209982 "In 1988, the track was totally redesigned and banked into its presence D-shaped configuration."
  17. ^ a b Strawberry Hill Races Traditions
  18. ^ Toyota Sponsoring Two NASCAR Races at RIR in April 2013
  19. ^ Toyota Sponsoring Two NASCAR Races at RIR in April 2013
  20. ^ Announcing entitlement for Fall Nationwide race 2009
  21. ^ Virginia-Based Federated Auto Parts Unites with RIR for September 8th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Entitlement

External links[edit]