Richmond Raceway is one of two major auto racing tracks in Virginia. Each year it hosts several NASCAR races.
Read on for more on Richmond Raceway, including its potential as a location where Virginia sports betting can take place.
The basics of Richmond Raceway
Richmond Raceway in Virginia is often called “America’s premier short track” – and for good reason. Fans and drivers alike laud this legendary short track that races like a superspeedway.
Richmond Raceway is part of the Richmond Raceway Complex. It’s located in Henrico County in eastern Virginia, about five miles north of downtown Richmond.
International Speedway Corporation currently owns and operates the raceway.
Because of Richmond Raceway’s unique “D” shape, drivers often achieve the type of speeds and wide-open racing that motorsports fans usually see only on bigger tracks. Additionally, the track offers multiple racing grooves for drivers, which ensures plenty of strategizing, passing, bump-and-running and high drama during its slate of top-level NASCAR stock-car races.
Until a hurricane hampered ticket sales, Richmond Raceway had sold out a remarkable 33 consecutive NASCAR Cup Series races. That streak, which lasted from 1992-2008, is a testament to the track’s popularity and its overall race-day experience.
Also called “Strawberry Hill” because of a chapter in its rich history, Richmond Raceway has become one of the commonwealth’s most recognizable sporting landmarks.
Sports betting at Richmond Raceway
Sports betting is not currently available at Richmond Raceway.
However, when the Virginia General Assembly legalized sports betting in early 2020, Gov. Ralph Northam made sure the legislation had a carve-out specifically for the commonwealth’s two NASCAR tracks: Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway.
Each track owner can partner with a Virginia sportsbook operator and then apply for a sports-betting license. If accepted, NASCAR and other sports wagering could be done on-site at the racetracks.
Popular types of NASCAR betting include:
- To Win Outright: Pick the winner of an upcoming race
- Top 3/Top 5/Top 10/Top 20: Wager on a driver’s final position in the race
- Driver matchups: Choose from a variety of head-to-head matchups and pick the driver who will finish better
- Futures: Pick the winner of an upcoming major race or even a season championship
- Prop bets: Wager on all types of race- and driver-specific propositions, including most laps led, total number of cautions, winning car manufacturer, etc.
Regardless of Richmond Raceway’s potential sports betting license, Virginia’s first sportsbooks should be online beginning in January. NASCAR wagering will be one of their many offerings, so racing enthusiasts throughout the commonwealth will be able to place motorsports bets right from their mobile devices.
Additionally, when Virginia’s first casinos begin opening, likely in 2023, they also should have legal sportsbooks in VA that accept NASCAR bets.
Richmond Raceway track details
- Surface: Asphalt
- Length: 0.75 miles (1.21 kilometers)
- Width: 60 feet with 10-foot apron
- Shape: D-shaped oval
- Turns: 4
- Banking: 14 degrees in turns, 8 degrees on frontstretch, 2 degrees on backstretch
- Radius of turns: 1198.68 (turns 1 and 4), 365.00 (turns 2 and 3)
- Pit road: 64-foot width, 43 concrete pit stalls
- SAFER walls installation: 2003
- Address: 600 E. Laburnum Ave., Richmond, VA 23222
- First opened: Oct. 12, 1946
- Owner/operator: International Speedway Corporation
- Capacity: 51,000
- Racing season: April-September
- Free parking: Lot H (other options are available for a fee)
- Website: RichmondRaceway.com
- Phone: 866-455-RACE (7223)
Richmond Raceway features
LED scoring tower
One of Richmond Raceway’s hallmark features is its state-of-the-art scoring tower. The massive structure debuted for the 2010 season and features a four-sided HD LED video board measuring 38-feet by 24-feet on each side. The tower, which is arguably the best in NASCAR, shows live racing, running order, driver video packages and more.
The Science Museum of Virginia and the Virginia 529 College Savings Plan sponsor this kids section. The interactive area displays racing-related scientific topics via exhibits, games and crafts. The area also occasionally has special guests and events geared toward racing fans who are 12 and younger.
This tailgate zone is your hub for cold drinks and hot food. It also features live music, games, televisions, a mechanical bull and more. If you want your race weekend to have a party feel, this is the place to hang.
Chaos Corner Party Deck
This seating area in Turn 4 offers inexpensive $20 tickets and a party atmosphere that’s especially popular with college students. It has tiered seating, drink rails, discounted food and drinks, and more. You must be 21 or older to purchase a ticket to this unique track area.
This expansive area is a hub for all types of race-weekend activity. Take a stroll through the midway and purchase some of your favorite drivers’ merchandise or other souvenirs. Or, you can check out some interactive exhibits, peruse booths from race partners, or enjoy concessions, music and other events.
Keep your race weekend affordable in Lot H with free parking. Other parking options are available for a fee, but Lot H offers both free parking and a free tram throughout the day to take you to and from the track.
RV and tent camping
Richmond Raceway offers RV and tent camping on site. If you have at least two NASCAR Cup Series tickets on your account, call the raceway to learn about your camping options, which come at all sorts of price points.
Grandstand Express Lanes
Not bringing any bags or soft-sided coolers that security needs to inspect on your way to the grandstand? Go to one of the major entrances and look for the Express Lanes. You can breeze through security and get to your seat quicker.
Richmond Raceway Complex
Richmond Raceway is part of the Richmond Raceway Complex, a multi-purpose facility that spans approximately 1,200 acres.
The Richmond Raceway Complex is one of the most versatile facilities in the region. It features a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces, including restaurants, a garden area, conference space, media center, amphitheater, and Richmond Raceway itself, among other attractions.
In all, the complex has six permanent exhibition halls and buildings, and it boasts more than 160,0000 square feet of meeting and conference space.
Richmond Raceway Complex remains busy throughout the year as it accommodates various functions. In fact, it hosts more than 150 events of all kinds. They include:
- Consumer trade shows
- Corporate meetings
- Music concerts
- Outdoor festivals
- Weddings and other special events
Some of the annual events at the Richmond Racing Complex include the Virginia Golf Show, the RV and Camping Expo, the Bizarre Bazaar, the Richmond Classic Sports Card Show, and Craftsmen’s Christmas Classic, among others.
2021 Richmond Raceway schedule
Richmond Raceway remains a popular stop with the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Until 2019, each NASCAR series hosted an April race and a September race at the Richmond track.
In fact, Richmond Raceway was the only NASCAR stop in which both of the annual races for each series took place at night under the lights.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Richmond hosted just one Cup Series race and two Xfinity Series races (as a two-day doubleheader) in 2020. The raceway is on track for April and September Cup races again in 2021, but the Xfinity Series appears as though it’ll host just one race in Richmond.
Additionally, the NASCAR Truck Series was slated to return to Richmond Raceway in 2020. It would’ve been the first NASCAR truck race at the track since 2005. The race ultimately was scrapped due to the pandemic, but NASCAR officials have slotted the LS Tractor 200 truck race at Richmond Raceway for Sept. 10, 2021.
This is the latest Richmond Raceway 2021 racing schedule:
Saturday, April 17, 2021: ToyotaCare 250
- NASCAR Xfinity Series race
- 250 laps, 187.5 miles
Sunday, April 18, 2021: Toyota Owners 400
- NASCAR Cup Series race
- 400 laps, 300 miles
Friday, September 10, 2021: LS Tractor 200
- NASCAR Truck Series playoff race
- 200 laps, 150 miles
Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021: Federated Auto Parts 400
- NASCAR Cup Series playoff race
- 400 laps, 300 miles
Up until 2009, Richmond Raceway also hosted an IndyCar Series race each April. The open-wheel racing league went 10 years with an annual stop at Virginia’s famed short track.
IndyCar Series planned to return in 2020 with a June race, but the pandemic scrapped the planned event. Then, when IndyCar released its 17-race 2021 schedule, Richmond was noticeably absent, and the IndyCar Series made its exit from Richmond Raceway once again.
NASCAR history at Richmond Raceway
Some of NASCAR’s biggest stars have dominated the racing at Richmond Raceway. In fact, some of the sport’s most celebrated Cup Series drivers can be found throughout the Richmond Raceway record books.
Heading into the 2021 season, 128 NASCAR Cup Series races had taken place at Richmond Raceway. And “The King of NASCAR” is also the King of Richmond Raceway.
Richard Petty won a track record 13 NASCAR Cup Series races at Richmond Raceway between 1961 and 1975. During Petty’s run of dominance, the Series was known as the NASCAR Grand National Series and then the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
No matter the name, though, “The King” reigned over NASCAR’s top series at Richmond’s famed short track.
Here’s the list of all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins at Richmond Raceway:
|NASCAR DRIVER||YEARS||RICHMOND WINS|
Petty is also the all-time leader in laps led at Richmond Raceway. He led 4,132 laps at the famed short track during his NASCAR Hall of Fame career.
In addition to Petty, the top 10 list includes some current and recent stars: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick.
|NASCAR DRIVER||YEARS||LAPS LED|
In addition to the Cup Series, Richmond Raceway has hosted 74 NASCAR Xfinity Series races since 1982. Busch (6 wins), Brad Keselowski (4) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (4) are the all-time wins leaders. Busch also has the Xfinity Series record for laps led at Richmond (1,497), far more than second-place Earnhardt Jr. (829).
Richmond Raceway has also hosted 12 NASCAR Truck Series races since 1995. Tony Stewart, Jack Sprague and Mike Skinner have each notched a pair of Truck Series wins at the track.
Finally, Richmond hosted nine IndyCar Series races from 2001-2009. Sam Hornish Jr. and Scott Dixon both have two career wins at the track.
Richmond Raceway history in Virginia
Richmond Raceway, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2021, has a rich racing history.
Although the track has seen a few overhauls and reconfigurations, racing traces back to 1946. After World War II forced the racing world to shut down, Richmond has enjoyed uninterrupted racing since its return.
Here’s a quick look at the history of the present-day Richmond Raceway.
Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds (1946-1955)
Known as the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds at the time, the track was part of the Virginia State Fairgrounds, also known as Strawberry Hill. The first race took place on Oct. 12, 1946, as part of the AAA Championship Car open-wheel circuit. Ted Horn emerged victorious after completing 20 laps around the half-mile dirt track. The popularity of the track and its local racing fan base convinced NASCAR to hold its first race there in 1956 with Lee Petty the race champion.
Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds (1955–1963)
After a change in ownership, the track was renamed Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds. The NASCAR Grand National series became a frequent guest at the fairgrounds as the Richmond area became a racing hub.
Virginia State Fairgrounds (1964–1968)
In addition to an official name change to the Virginia State Fairgrounds in 1964, the raceway saw another significant change: the paving of the racetrack in 1968. The half-mile oval was no longer a dirt track.
Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway (1969–1988)
The track was renamed the Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway before the start of the 1969 season. It kept that name for the next two decades as Richmond became a regular stop for NASCAR, with both spring and fall races. However, following the 1988 season, the raceway underwent its most significant changes.
Richmond International Raceway (1989-2017)
Prior to the start of the 1989 season, officials completely closed the facility. It reopened as Richmond International Raceway with a .75-mile racetrack and its familiar “D” shape. Seating also expanded to accommodate 60,000 spectators. Then, permanent lighting for night racing was installed in 1991, and track owners acquired the adjacent fairgrounds in 1999 to make it part of the Richmond Racing Complex.
All of NASCAR’s top series hosted races as the track during these two decades. The IndyCar Series also kicked off a decade-long run of events at the track in 2001.
Richmond Raceway (2018-present)
The current iteration of the racetrack opened in time for the 2018 season. Track president Dennis Bickmeier also announced a formal name change to Richmond Raceway as part of a $30 million renovation of the infield known as Richmond Raceway Reimagined. The track also hosted its first NASCAR playoff race in 2018.