January 15, 2004 - The Crown Royal International Race of Champions will make its Richmond International Raceway debut when the series comes to The Action Track on Thursday, September 9 as part of a doubleheader "under the lights" with a NASCAR ...
January 15, 2004 - The Crown Royal International Race of Champions will make its Richmond International Raceway debut when the series comes to The Action Track on Thursday, September 9 as part of a doubleheader "under the lights" with a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event, track and series officials announced today. The race will be the first IROC event on a short track since the series began in 1974.
IROC invites 12 of the world's top drivers from different types of racing, usually including NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, NASCAR Busch, NASCAR Craftsman Truck, the IRL IndyCar Series and the World of Outlaws. The drivers race at four different tracks each season in identically prepared IROC race cars. There is no qualifying, pit stops or driver set-up of the cars.
Fans now will get two great races for the price of one on Thursday, September 9 and children 12 and under are still free with a paying adult. All tickets are general admission and will remain $30, which is the same price as previous NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events.
"Adding an All-Star race like IROC while keeping the price the same as in year's past, is a great way for us to thank our loyal fans and reinforce our position as America's premier short track," said track President Doug Fritz. "The Crown Royal IROC Series is a perfect complement to our schedule, as we will now host one of the most diverse schedules in the country that will include NASCAR, IRL, USAC and IROC," Fritz continued. "We are anticipating that the addition of this race will make our September weekend our most popular and well-attended three days ever. Richmond International Raceway is also making history by becoming the first short track to host an IROC race in its 30-year history."
Richmond will also become the only track to ever host two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, two NASCAR Busch, a NASCAR Craftsman Truck, an IRL and IROC events all in the same season.
"First, my fellow drivers better watch out," said Penske Racing driver Helio Castroneves of the IRL who is scheduled to compete in IROC this season. "My goal this season in IROC is to improve my finishes over last year, which should not be too hard! I am very excited to compete again in IROC and look forward to racing at Richmond, one of my favorite tracks. Our IndyCar races at Richmond are incredible for the fans to watch, and I'm sure the IROC race under the lights will be exciting as well."
The rest of the IROC driver lineup will be announced by the series in the near future.
The list of IROC champions is impressive. Among the champions are Mark Donohue, Bobby Unser, A. J. Foyt, Al Unser, Mario Andretti, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Harry Gant, Al Unser Jr., Terry Labonte, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Ricky Rudd, Davey Allison, Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte, Kevin Harvick and last year's champion, Kurt Busch. The number of laps for the IROC event and the starting times for both races will be announced shortly, but both events will be held "under the lights." Since Richmond International Raceway is the third of the four races on the 2004 IROC schedule, IROC rules state that the drivers will begin the race in inverse order of where they are in the points standings after the second race.
The IROC and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events are part of a quadruple header weekend that will include a NASCAR Busch Series race on Friday, September 10 and the Chevy Monte Carlo 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Saturday, September 11.
For information, fans can log onto www.rir.com or call the track's new toll free number, 1-866-455-RACE.