RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY TO HOST ITS 100TH NASCAR NEXTEL CUP SERIES RACE ON MAY 6 RICHMOND, VA 4/18/06-- On April 19, 1953, a Â½-mile dirt track in Richmond called Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds hosted a race in a series known as NASCAR's...
RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY TO HOST ITS 100TH NASCAR NEXTEL CUP SERIES RACE ON MAY 6
RICHMOND, VA 4/18/06-- On April 19, 1953, a ½-mile dirt track in Richmond called Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds hosted a race in a series known as NASCAR's Grand National Division. Many things have changed since Lee Petty pocketed $1,000 for winning that first race at an average speed of 45.535 mph in front of approximately 4,000 fans.
Fifty three years later, that track is a sparkling, state-of-the-art, ¾-mile, D-shaped oval known as Richmond International Raceway, a 107,000-seat venue that hosts two races a year in NASCAR's elite division now known as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
When NASCAR's top drivers return to Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, May 6, the track will reach a milestone shared by only three other facilities in NASCAR's long and storied history. The Crown Royal 400 will be Richmond International Raceway's 100th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. Heading into this weekend's race at Phoenix International Raceway, only Daytona International Speedway, (118) Martinsville Speedway, (115) and Darlington Raceway (104) have hosted more series races.* (See attached graph and at www.rir.com/media).
Through the years, the facility has stood the test of time by undergoing five configuration changes, a surface change from dirt to asphalt and today, it holds the key distinction of being the only major auto racing facility that hosts all of its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Busch Series races at night "under the lights."
The accomplishment is more noteworthy considering that 168 tracks have hosted a total of 2,110 Cup races (heading into this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway) in NASCAR's 59-year history.*
RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
99 NASCAR NEXTEL CUP SERIES RACES AND COUNTING
Did you Know?
* Richmond International Raceway first hosted NASCAR's top division in 1953 and has hosted two races each year since 1959.
* The track has been reconfigured or re-measured five times since it was built. The track was converted from a .542-mile track to its current ¾-mile configuration in 1988.
* The only months Richmond International Raceway has not hosted NASCAR's top series are January, July, August and December.
* Many think the first Richmond night race was contested in September 1991; however, the March 10, 1964 race was run on a Tuesday night with temporary lights after a Saturday rain-out. David Pearson took the checkered flag after taking the lead on lap 215 from Richard Petty. The first official night race was September 7, 1991. Harry Gant won that race.
* Dave Marcis won the March 10, 1976 race without leading a green flag lap. Marcis, who was running a distant fifth when a light rain started with 10 laps to go, remained on the track when the leaders pitted after a caution. The rain intensified and the race was cut short, so Marcis won the race without ever leading a green flag lap.
* Richard Petty won 13 races at Richmond, the second most by any driver at any track. Who holds the record for the most wins at any track? It's "The King," of course. He racked up an amazing 15 victories at Martinsville Speedway.
* Three generations of the Petty family have won at Richmond and that feat has not been duplicated at any other track by any other family. Kyle Petty's first career win came at Richmond International Raceway on February 23, 1986. His grandfather, Lee, won twice and his father Richard won 13 times at Richmond.
* Richard Petty won seven straight races from the fall of 1970 through the fall of 1973.
* The Crown Royal 400 will be the track's 29th straight sellout.
* The last driver to win the pole for both races in the same year is Ted Musgrave, who accomplished the feat in 1994.
* Chevrolet and Ford have the most manufacturer wins at Richmond. Each has visited Gatorade Victory Lane 28 times.
* Harry Gant was the oldest (51) and Richard Petty (23) was the youngest to win at Richmond International Raceway.
* 1999 was the first year both races were contested at night "under the lights"