Richmond Raceway readies for the NASCAR Cup Series

Getty Images

Richmond Raceway has been known by several different names and has been reconfigured several times over the years of its existence, but all the while it has been a staple on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule since 1953. This weekend’s race, the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 (April 18 at 3 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is looking to add the historic prestige that Richmond has built over the decades of great on-track competition and with how this season has been shaking out it shouldn’t disappoint. 

Originally known as the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, Richmond Raceway held its first race in 1946 as a half-mile dirt track. The first NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway was held on April 19, 1953 and the event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty in a Petty Enterprises Dodge with an average speed of 45.535 mph.

From 1953 to 1968, the NASCAR Cup Series and Richmond Raceway hosted 24 races on dirt. The track surface was changed from dirt to asphalt between races in 1968. The track name was changed to Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway in 1969 and the track was re-measured to 0.542-mile in 1970.

It wasn’t until following the February 21, 1988 NASCAR Cup Series race that Richmond Raceway was rebuilt as a three-quarters-mile D-shaped oval that we know today. 

In 1999, International Speedway Corporation (now NASCAR) purchased the raceway and surrounding property. It was the first season with both Cup races as night races and the track was renamed to Richmond International Raceway.

In 2017, the track underwent $30 million in renovations to upgrade the amenities for the fans and in the process changed the name of the track to Richmond Raceway.

In total, there have been 128 NASCAR Cup Series races at Richmond Raceway, one event from 1953 – 1958 and two races per year since 1959 to 2019. Due to the pandemic, the series only raced at Richmond once in 2020. 

The 128 NASCAR Cup Series races at Richmond Raceway have produced 55 different pole winners and 52 different race winners.

NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty (1961, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970 sweep, 1974, 1975) and Bobby Allison (1972 sweep, 1973 sweep, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1982) lead the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Richmond with eight each. Denny Hamlin (2006, 2008 and 2016) leads all active pole winners at Richmond Raceway with three poles; followed by Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick with two each.

Of the 52 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers that have won at Richmond Raceway, nine are active this weekend. NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Richmond Raceway with 13 victories (spring 1961, 1967 sweep, fall 1968, fall 1970, 1971 sweep, 1972 sweep, 1973 sweep, fall 1974 and spring 1975) – the third-most wins by a single driver at a single track in series history behind his 15 wins at Martinsville and North Wilkesboro. Joe Gibbs Racing’s driver Kyle Busch leads all active competitors in wins at Richmond with six victories.

Active NASCAR Cup Series Richmond Raceway Winners

Active Winners (9)WinsSeasons
Kyle Busch62018 sweep, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
Denny Hamlin32016, 2010, 2009
Kevin Harvick32013, 2011, 2006
Brad Keselowski22020, 2014
Joey Logano22017, 2014
Kurt Busch22015, 2005
Martin Truex Jr22019 sweep
Kyle Larson12017
Ryan Newman12003

This weekend’s TOYOTA OWNERS 400 will be 400 laps (300 miles in length) and will be broken up into three stages. The first stage will be 80 laps, the second stage will be 155 laps and the final stage will be 160 laps. 

The starting lineups were decided by Metric Qualifying for this weekend’s Richmond event. Last weekend’s Martinsville winner and Joe Gibbs Racing’s driver Martin Truex Jr. will start from the pole and his teammate Denny Hamlin will join him on the front row. 

Richmond Raceway PR

Sharing is caring!