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Day 45 – Nascar

Do you hear that sound?  It’s the sound of race cars because its race weekend people.  For some of us that means a lot of noise and traffic hassles, but for many Richmonders it means tourism, increased cash flow, and tons of fun.  Richmond race fans get racing at Richmond International Raceway two weekends a year (early May and early September).  Race weekend can bring an estimated 100,000 people to the track.  RIR (that’s Richmond-speak for Richmond International Raceway) is host to the Nascar Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series.  The Nationwide race is 250 laps (187.5 miles) and is sponsored by Bubba Burger. The Sprint Cup race is 400 laps (300 miles) and is sponsored by Crown Royal. 

The BUBBA burger 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race  begins tonight at RIR.  The race will be “under the lights” and feature all of the full-time Nationwide Series drivers, as well as many of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers.  There is plenty going on in addition to the races. You can see the full Schedule here.  Fan Fest will be on the midway Friday and Saturday.  It offers fans a free, family-friendly interactive hospitality area with displays, interactive games, show cars, children’s activities and more. On Saturday the Pit Crew for Jeff Burton’s #31 team is supposed to sign autographs at 3:30 p.m., and Ryan Newman is supposed to answer questions at 4:15 p.m.

The Coca-Cola family walk is on Saturday followed by activities for the whole family, including games, music, racing simulators, and more Q&A sessions with drivers. The event starts at 1:30 p.m. and is free to all ticket holders. Fans should enter the event at Gate 70.   Other race weekend activities include riding around RIR in an authentic NASCAR stock car with the Richard Petty Driving Experience, turning laps on a go-kart track on the Midway, competing in a cornhole tournament, and checking out exhibits from local businesses in the Virginia Industry Business Expo.  There will be plenty of live music all weekend. 

Many race fans will camp out for race weekend.  However, the track has very little camping spaces around it for race fans and because it’s a short track, infield camping is not available.  You need to look for off-track options if you are planning to camp out.   Many of the residential properties near the track and fairgrounds will sell space on their properties for camping.

Automobile parking is free in all of the RIR parking lots with race tickets.  There will also be shuttle service available from parking lots at the Richmond Coliseum and Mechanicsville Showplace.  Tailgating is limited to the area directly in front of or behind your  vehicle and must not take up any additional parking spaces.  Fans can bring their own food and drinks into RIR.

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