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Richmond Raceway
"America's Premier Short Track"
"Strawberry Hill"
"Action Track"
Richmond Raceway logo.svg

Richmond International Raceway from stands.jpg
Richmond Raceway as seen from the stands.
LocationHenrico County, Virginia, United States
Time zoneUTC−5 / −4 (DST)
Coordinates37°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
Capacity51,000[1]
OwnerNASCAR
OperatorNASCAR
OpenedOctober 12, 1946
Former namesRichmond International Raceway (1989–2017)
Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway (1969–1988)
Virginia State Fairgrounds (1964–1968)
Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds (1955–1963)
Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds Track (1946–1955)
Major eventsNASCAR Cup Series
Toyota Owners 400 (April)
Federated Auto Parts 400 (August)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
ToyotaCare 250 (April)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
ToyotaCare 250 (August)
D-shaped oval (1988–present)
SurfaceAsphalt
Length0.75 miles (1.21 km)
Turns4
Banking14° in turns
8° on frontstretch
2° on backstretch
Race lap record0:15.3197 seconds (176.244 mph) (Sam Hornish Jr., Team Penske, 2005, IndyCar)
Websitewww.richmondraceway.com
NASCAR Cup racecars before the start on the 1/2-mile configuration in September 1984
NASCAR Cup racecars before the start on the 1/2-mile configuration in September 1984
The pits during a 1985 NASCAR Cup race
The pits during a 1985 NASCAR Cup race

Richmond Raceway (RR) is a 0.75 miles (1.21 km), D-shaped, asphalt race track located just outside Richmond, Virginia in unincorporated Henrico County. It hosts the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.[2] Known as "America's premier short track", it has formerly hosted events such as the International Race of Champions, Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, and the USAC sprint car series. Due to Richmond Raceway's unique "D" shape which allows drivers to reach high speeds, its racing grooves, and proclivity for contact Richmond is a favorite among NASCAR drivers and fans.[3]

Nicknamed the "Action Track", Richmond sold out 33 consecutive NASCAR Cup Series races before the streak ended in September 2008 due to the Great Recession as well as the impact of Tropical Storm Hanna.[4] Richmond has hosted the final "regular-season" race, leading up to the start of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, each year since the concept was introduced in 2004 until 2018, when it was moved into the playoffs.

In 2010, the track 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 HD 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 the running order and has the ability to rotate through the entire field. Prior to 2019, the raceway had track seating of 59,000.[1]

History

Racing in Virginia

Racing sports has a long tradition in Virginia, dating back to colonial English times.[5] From 1898 to the first World War, the Deep Run Hunt Club the Northside area of Ginter Park was the site of the club's somewhat annual steeplechase race.[6] After a decade hiatus, the annual races were moved to Curles Neck in 1928 on the south side of Richmond.[6]

World War II

Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, all auto racing was suspended due to the second World War. From 1942 to 1945, no events were contested, as they were prohibited by the US government primarily on account of rationing.

Races resume

The 1946 AAA Championship Car season was unique in that it was the first post-war IndyCar race and because the Atlantic Rural Exposition had built a new state fairgrounds at the old Strawberry Hill Farm near Ginter Park.[7][8][6] The ½ -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 circuit

Two years later, when the NASCAR schedule 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.[14] In 1988, the track was re-designed into its present D-shaped configuration.[12]

The name for the raceway complex was "Strawberry Hill" until the Virginia State Fairgrounds site was bought out in 1999 and renamed the "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.[15]

Richmond Raceway Complex

Former track logo
Former track logo

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

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

Outdoor festivals currently hosted by the 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 State Fair of Virginia, the Richmond Highland Games and Celtic Festival, the March of Dimes Bikers for Babies, the K95 Country Music Festival and the Virginia Food Festival.

In 2021, after NASCAR partner and online sports gambling company WynnBET launched a mobile betting app accessible to Virginia residents, it was announced that a sports betting lounge would be built at Richmond Raceway.[16]

NASCAR-sanctioned races

Richmond Raceway is home to two NASCAR races in both the Cup Series and Xfinity Series.

There are a pair of spring races, usually held on the first weekend of April. The Xfinity race is currently 250 laps (187.5 miles) and is named the ToyotaCare 250.[17] The NASCAR Cup Series race is currently 400 laps (300 miles) and is named the Toyota Owners 400.[17]

There are a pair of fall races, usually held on the second weekend of September. The 250 lap (187.5 miles) Xfinity race is currently sponsored by Virginia 529 College Savings Plan and is named the Go Bowling 250.[18] The 400 lap (300 miles) fall Cup race is currently sponsored by Federated Auto Parts and is named the Federated Auto Parts 400.[19] Under the current schedule it is the final race before the playoff-style Chase for the Championship series of races that determine the Cup champion begins, and the last chance for drivers to earn a place in the Chase.

Until 2005, Richmond was home to a fall Craftsman Truck Series race. Starting with the 2006 schedule, that date was transferred to Talladega Superspeedway, and the series did not return to Richmond until 2020.[20] Until 2009, Richmond was also home to a June IndyCar Series race. In July 2009, it was announced that IndyCar would not return to the Raceway in 2010. Richmond was scheduled to return to the IndyCar schedule in 2020, replacing Pocono Raceway after violent crashes at the track in 2018 and 2019 caused outcry from several drivers. The 2020 race was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Timeline

Races and events

2019 Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway
2019 Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway

Current races

Previous races

Records

NASCAR Cup Series records

(As of 9/10/11)

Most wins 13 Richard Petty
Most top fives 34 Richard Petty
Most top tens 41 Richard Petty
Most starts 63 Richard Petty
Most poles 8 Richard Petty, Bobby Allison
Most laps completed 21135 Richard Petty
Most laps led 5136 Richard Petty
Highest avg. start* 3.7 Bobby Isaac
Highest avg. finish* 5.0 Kyle Busch

* minimum 10 starts

References

  1. ^ a b Page, Scott (January 27, 2019). "International Speedway Corporation continues to reduce track seating". Jayski's Silly Season Site. ESPN. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  2. ^ "NASCAR Truck Series returning to Richmond in April, 2020". Richmond Times-Dispatch.
  3. ^ "Motorsport.com Tony Stewart's favorite track is Richmond.=".
  4. ^ "Hurricane Hanna Stalls Sellout Streak". Archived from the original on May 2, 2008. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
  5. ^ "History".
  6. ^ a b c Peter Winants (August 17, 2000). Steeplechasing: A Complete History of the Sport in North America. Derrydale Press. pp. 45–. ISBN 978-1-4617-0822-3.
  7. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (November 28, 1953). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 1–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  8. ^ Francis Marion Bush (November 4, 2011). Colonial Downs and More. iUniverse. pp. 81–. ISBN 978-1-4620-5575-3.
  9. ^ "Richmond International Raceway Packages – Track Seating Chart, Race Tickets & Hotel Travel Package to RIR".
  10. ^ Lew Freedman (March 14, 2013). Encyclopedia of Stock Car Racing. p. 641. ISBN 9780313387104.
  11. ^ Nigel Kinrade, Steve Casper (2007). Nascar. MotorBooks International. pp. 43–. ISBN 978-1-61673-061-1.
  12. ^ a b http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20150420/COLUMNISTS/304209982 "In 1988, the track was totally redesigned and banked into its present D-shaped configuration."
  13. ^ "Memories from Richmond". The-Dispatch.com.
  14. ^ a b "Richmond International Raceway".
  15. ^ a b Strawberry Hill Races Traditions[dead link]
  16. ^ "New sports betting lounge coming to Richmond Raceway". WWBT. March 16, 2021.
  17. ^ a b "Toyota to Sponsor Two NASCAR Races at RIR in April 2013 – Richmond International Raceway".
  18. ^ Announcing entitlement for Fall Nationwide race 2009
  19. ^ "Federated Auto Parts 400 – Richmond Raceway".
  20. ^ Pearrell, Tim (April 3, 2019). "NASCAR Truck Series returning to Richmond in 2020". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  21. ^ Phillips, Michael (July 11, 2017). "NASCAR's rebranded Richmond Raceway announces $30 million infield redevelopment project". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  22. ^ "Winston Twin 200".
  23. ^ "Richmond International Raceway".