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Don't forget the IRL!!!
Most of the other tips mention the two NASCAR races that happen at RIR in late Spring and late Summer (usually May and September). However, the BEST RACING AT RIR happens in June!!! If you've never seen the Indy Racing League, then you are in for a treat! This North-American open-wheel series might appeal to fans of formula one. The crowd is about 1/3 the size of the NASCAR race and the tickets are also about 1/3 the price as compared to the NASCAR race. However!!! The cars go 40 to 50 MPH faster and the racing is generally more exciting. Don't get me wrong, the NASCAR races are fun, but the IRL is tops!
Equipment: Fun. Don't bring backpacks.
Richmond International Raceway
Richmond has a Winston Cup (major league in American auto racing or NASCAR jargon) race track on Laburnum Avenue just to the northeast of downtown. Richmond Internatioal Raceway (known locally as R.I.R.) holds two Winston Cup races in a season- one in April and one in September. Between the NASCAR races it hosts lesser auto racing events. When the wind is right, I can hear the action at the racetrack from my own back yard 5 miles (8 km.) away. It is important to note that there are two major races here- one the first weekend in May and the other the second weekend in September. On those weekends, hotels will be terribly hard to book. Also, if you're in Richmond on those weekends, but not for the race, try to avoid Laburnum Avenue (which is where the racetrack is located). If Laburnum Avenue can't be avoided, while you are on that road, keep your headlights on by day, so that police can more easily direct the heavy traffic.
NASCAR, under the lights.
If you have the chance to go to the NASCAR race at Richmond, do it. The fun other than the races, is the community feeling, and the party. You will meet interesting people from all over the country.
There is plenty of lodging, but we enjoy RVing, right outside the track. There are lots, with tram service all over.
NASCAR at RIR
One of NASCAR's most popular tracks is Richmond International Raceway. The mega-popular Nextel Cup Series races here twice a year - once in mid-May, and then again in early September. Despite holding over 100,000 specatators, the track ALWAYS sells out. If you want to go to a Richmond Cup race, either plan early (like several months in advance to secure tickets and hotels) or not at all (and just stay out of town and deal with the scalpers). Either way will cost about the same.
RIR is a 3/4 mile banked oval - offering a good combination of speed and bumping n' banging. There have been some classic races here in the past, and the fall race is one of the most looked forward to events of the year - as it's the last race before "The Chase" (the playoffs for you non-fans).
Tickets are between $75-85 - if you're lucky enough to get 'em from the box office. When... not if, but when... the race sells out, you can get tickets from a variety of legalized scalping agencies, or try your luck with the touts. If you have a choice, sit as high up the stands as possible, especially in the turns. If I had my choice, the best seats in the house are right near turn 1.
Equipment: For a NASCAR event, the traffic is really not too bad. It's a bit of a hike from the free lots, but quite manageable.
The usual restrictions are in place as far as what you can bring in. Check out the website.
Believe it or not, you can actually bring your own BEER into the race track; it just has to fit into a 12 x 6 x 6 soft sided cooler! One strong word of warning, though! If you're going to be drinking, then, for God's sake, pace yourself! The races don't start 'till 7 PM, and if it's hot you can really overdo it and end up like these guys!
NASCAR in Richmond
Going to the races at RIR is a feat that many so called rednecks venture to twice a year. Now as a fellow redneck I include myself in that holy journey to Richmond's redneck momument. NASCAR in Richmond is like cricket is to Britain except alot more invigorating than wacking a little ball around for hours. At RIR you get the most loyal of fans traveling from all over God's green U.S.A. to witness a weekend of good ole racing at its finest. RIR is the third smallest track on the NASAR circuit, at about 3/4 of a mile long, but it is one of the most favorite sites for NASCAR, and its loyal fans. RIR is the place to be on the second weekend of May, and the second weekend of September and is a real treat to all those who attend. The raceway is extremely large and tends to stay packed all weekend. Some people even do the famous American tailgating all weekend just so they don't have to worry about coming and going. The race itself is always exciting with lots of wrecks, and good ole stock trading for first place. Every year my dad gets free tickets to the race and I thoroughly enjoy the experience everytime. If you wait outside the RV area where the drivers stay you will run into a few every now and then. I have had the pleasure of meeting Virginia's finest Ward Burton, Nascar legend Richard Petty, and Chad Little. I naturally love NASCAR, and for those of you who have never experienced it, you are in for a real treat. You will get to see an inside look into the habits of the American redneck while getting an adrenaline rush off of high speed stock car racing. It is an experience you won't forget, especially if you share it with me and B1Bob, we are the redneck extraordinaires when it comes to Richmond.
Equipment: None except an ear plug if you don't like loud noise, and maybe a headset which you can purchase there to listen to the pit crews and the drivers actually on the air.
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