RIR PRESIDENT DOUG FRITZ RESPONDS TO COMMENTS MADE BY DALE EARNHARDT, JR. REGARDING TRACK SURFACE RICHMOND, VA (May 8, 2007)- Richmond International Raceway president Doug Fritz was surprised as anyone to hear the comments from...
RIR PRESIDENT DOUG FRITZ RESPONDS TO COMMENTS MADE BY DALE EARNHARDT, JR. REGARDING TRACK SURFACE
RICHMOND, VA (May 8, 2007)- Richmond International Raceway president Doug Fritz was surprised as anyone to hear the comments from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. yesterday regarding his concerns about the track surface.
"This is completely out of left field," said Fritz. "All of the comments I have heard about our track surface from the drivers have been overwhelmingly positive since we repaved it before the 2004 season. Between our two-day test session in early April and our races this past weekend, I did not hear one comment or concern regarding our track surface from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or any other driver," said Fritz.
"I'm always available and accessible to the drivers and I have received feedback from many of them over the years on a number of issues. I was in the garage frequently this past weekend and talked to many of the drivers, and there was no mention of any issues with the track surface.
"In fact, we've made numerous changes and enhancements at the drivers' request over the years, including concreting our pit stalls, taking out a kink in the backstretch wall, relocating the spotters' stand to a better location and many other improvements related to the competition side," continued Fritz. "Certainly, if there is a consensus among the drivers and NASCAR that we need to do something with this issue or any other, we will certainly take a look at it. Obviously, the drivers are busy today testing, but we have reached out to a number of them, including Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to talk about this."
During testing yesterday at Lowe's Motor Speedway yesterday Earnhardt told reporters, "The thing about Richmond, now honestly-they need to start sealing that track again. You ain't gonna have a second and third groove at Richmond if the sealer ain't up there to use. I don't know why that ain't registered in anybody's brain. I mean, when that track was good is when they were sealing it ever year...You know-hello?"
Track officials have not applied any sealer to the asphalt after it was resurfaced prior to the 2004 season. Since it was repaved, the track has received rave reviews from the drivers-including Earnhardt-on the quality of the repaving job and the quality of the racing.
"Considering his positive comments about our track and the repaving job during our test session last month and after his victory in last May's Crown Royal 400, I'm even more surprised at his statement," said Fritz.
NASCAR has also not heard any complaints from any of the drivers. "Neither (Vice President, Competition) Robin Pemberton or (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Director) John Darby has heard anything from any of the drivers on this," said Kerry Tharp, Director of Communications, Competition, for NASCAR.
This past weekend's Crown Royal Presents the Jim Stewart 400 featured more of the great side-by-side action Richmond International Raceway is known for. The race tied the track record for the most lead drivers (12) and fell one short of the record for the most lead changes (25), which has happened twice, most recently in March 1996.