Track Talk: Signs point to exciting return to Richmond

Updated: 

RICHMOND RACEWAY

Richmond, Virginia

The circuit: A 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval with two unique ends -- Turns 1-2 are tight, Turns 3-4 more sweeping. The track was built as a half-miler, adding lights in 1964, paved in 1968 and lengthened to the current distance in 1988.

Tickets: There are several options, and they can be found here.

Richmond RacewayHistorical track: Like the rest of Virginia, there is plenty of history to consume at Richmond Raceway. The property was developed out of the old Strawberry Hill Farm in the mid-1940s, with Ted Horn winning the first race -- an open-wheel race -- in the fall of 1946. The track was initially called the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, with subsequent renames of Virginia State Fairgrounds, Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway and Richmond International Raceway. Lee Petty won the first NASCAR race, a 100-miler in 1953. Years later, Petty's son, Richard, set the track record by winning seven consecutive races and nine in 10 attempts from 1970-75. Tony Stewart won the first of his 49 Cup races there in 1999.

Richmond reimagined: The facility underwent a $30 million renovation in 2017, making the infield experience one of the best in motorsports. Dubbed "Richmond Raceway Reimagined," the views from inside the track are unique and celebrated, and a new tunnel eases the transition from the grandstands to the infield. Those who haven't been there since the last Indy car race in 2009 might not recognize it.

Limited experience: Because Indy cars haven't raced at Richmond in 11 years, there are only seven current drivers who have racing experience there. Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan are the most experienced, with seven starts each. Dixon (pictured below) won in his debut at the track in 2003, then captured the most recent race in '09. Kanaan (pictured above) won in '08. Ed Carpenter has made six starts, Marco Andretti four, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal two each, and Will Power one. Rahal finished third in '09. Power completed only eight laps in '08, crashing hard in Turn 4. See that race here.

Winners up front: In the nine Indy car races at Richmond, eight of the winners started in the first two rows. The exception was Dan Wheldon, who started the 2004 race from the outside of the 10th row (the 20th position).

PAST WINNERS:

2001 (IRL): Buddy Lazier

2002 (IRL): Sam Hornish Jr.

2003 (IRL): Scott Dixon

2004 (IRL): Dan Wheldon

2005 (IRL): Helio Castroneves

2006 (IRL): Sam Hornish Jr.

2007 (IRL): Dario Franchitti

2008 (IRL): Tony Kanaan

2009 (IRL): Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon at Richmond Raceway

From the fans