Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fast Track Facts: Richmond International Raceway

credit: NASCAR Media
Richmond International Raceway in Virginia is one of NASCAR’s most important tracks – it has the enviable task of hosting the final “regular season” race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season each year. Learn more about “America’s Premier Short Track” in this week’s Fast Track Facts.
  • Richmond International Raceway opened in 1946 as the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, home to a 0.5-mile dirt track. It hosted the first NASCAR Grand National Division race in April 1953, won by Lee Petty. The track became an asphalt oval for the Sept. 1968 race, which was won by Richard Petty.
  • During the span from 1955-1968, the track also went by the names Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds (1955-1963) and Virginia State Fairgrounds (1964-1968). From 1969-1988, the track was known as Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway. In addition to operating under different names, the track went through many different lengths – from a 0.5-mile dirt track, it became a 0.625-mile asphalt track for the second race of 1968; for the next race in spring 1969, it was a 0.5-mile asphalt oval, then expanded to a 0.542-mile asphalt oval, which it remained until 1988.
  • Between the spring and fall races in 1988, the track was reconfigured to its current layout: a 0.75-mile D-shaped oval. The last Cup Series race as a 0.542-mile oval was won by Neil Bonnett; the first race as a 0.75-mile oval was won by another member of the “Alabama Gang,” Davey Allison. Lights were added to the track, known as RIR since 1989, for the fall race in 1991.
  • Richard Petty holds the RIR marks for the most wins (13), most top five finishes (34), most top 10 finishes (41) and most starts (63), and is tied with Bobby Allison for most poles (eight). Jeff Gordon holds the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying record (20.674 seconds/130.599 mph), set back in Sept. 2013.
  • RIR currently hosts two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races and two Xfinity Series races each year, plus one K&N Pro Series East race. It has previously hosted the Camping World Truck Series, the Whelen Modified Tour, the International Race of Champions (IROC), the IndyCar Series and USAC sprint cars.
  • RIR is part of the Richmond Raceway Complex, a 1,000-acre multipurpose facility which features numerous additional buildings. Facilities include five large show buildings, the Midway area, the Horticulture Garden, a 6,000-seat amphitheater and a 1,000-seat covered dirt-floor arena.
  • Find out more about Richmond International Raceway at www.rir.com.



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