Richmond Motor Speedway is located in Richmond, Virginia – the capital of the State. It is a popular tourist destination, with over 400,000 visitors each year, spending about £12 billion at the facility.
The racetrack itself is located on a 54-acre site, with more land available for expansion. It is a short drive from both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, making this area a popular place for those who want to catch some motorsport action.
The racetrack opened in 1947 and is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, motorsport venues in the country. It initially consisted of a 1.5 mile oval, which was extended to 2.1 miles in 1954. Over the past seven decades, the track has hosted famous races like the Monster Energy Series and Formula One. It also played host to the inaugural IndyCar Grand Slam in 2012, which consisted of the IndyCar Challenge, IndyCar Grand Prix and the INDYCAR Classic. Each of these events is still going strong today, attracting thousands of fans and national media to the area.
The track currently hosts two to three major events each year, along with numerous minor ones. It is a member of the North American Thoroughbred Breeders Association (NATBA) and the International Motorcycle Racing Association (IMRA).
The Grandest Of Them All
The National Football League (NFL) announced this week that the Indianapolis Colts will be returning to London for a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in March 2021. This will be the first time that either team has met on American soil in 18 years, since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
It will be the first NFL game to be played in England since 1998, and the first time that the league has aired a game on British TV since 1962. It will also be the first professional sports event to be played in London since the 2012 Olympics and the last MLS soccer match until 2021, when the LA Galaxy and the Portland Timbers will take the field for the first time.
A Huge Part Of American Culture
The National Football League and the National Hockey League (NHL) will both be suspending their seasons due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The New York Islanders and the New York Rangers will be the only teams to play a home game this year, on January 25th and 27th, 2020, respectively.
But even before the pandemic, sports were on the decline in the United States. According to the Sporting News, over the past decade, sports media audiences fell by 31% in the U.S., while live sporting events dropped by 47%. That was reflected in the declining value of sports sponsorship, with companies, such as Anheuser-Busch, Nike and Miller, opting to stay away from the sports world.
Some industry experts predict that sports will never be the same in the U.S. again. The New York Times wrote that sports fans have essentially disappeared from the screens, while social distancing and the fear of the unknown have kept many away from their local sports arenas.
Over 400,000 Visitors A Year
The National Football League and the National Hockey League share the same dire situation, not being able to hold a normal season, while the effects of the pandemic loom over the sports world. But while sports have been hurt by the pandemic, they have not been destroyed. Quite the opposite, in fact. Thanks to the work of the amazing people at Richmond Motor Speedway, who saw an opportunity and took it, the track was able to continue operating, even though live events were replaced by TV shows and archived games.
Over the past seven decades, the track has hosted famous races like the Monster Energy Series and Formula One, attracting thousands of fans and national media to the area. And thanks to the efforts of the track’s staff and its CEO, Chip Wollaeger, more people are coming to the track than ever before.
Richmond Motor Speedway
The National Football League and the National Hockey League have suspended their operations due to the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped sports fans from wanting to come to games. The problem is, unlike most other U.S. sports venues, Richmond Motor Speedway doesn’t have an easily accessible train station or airport, meaning that attendees have to either take a bus or drive themselves. And according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, there are currently no plans in place to fix this issue.
The problem was, until recently, unknown to most people. According to the Times-Dispatch, Richmond Motor Speedway has only had one phone call with the state’s Rail Passenger agency, complaining about the lack of accessibility. In the article, Wollaeger says that the agency didn’t know what to say, as there was nothing in the rail guidelines for dealing with stadiums.
But as time has gone by and the situation has changed, with more people working from home and more people wanting to get out of the house, the problem has escalated. And now, with the rail agency holding the keys to the kingdom, Wollaeger and his team are looking to fix this issue once and for all.
Why Did Richmond Motor Speedway Get Special Treatment?
One of the reasons why Richmond Motor Speedway, and other sports venues like it, got special treatment during the pandemic is because they are American-owned and operated. The reason for this is that the U.S. Congress has a law, the American Institute of Stress, which encourages businesses to keep their employees busy during the pandemic. According to the law, businesses that keep their employees engaged in productive activities, gainfully employed, will benefit from lower health care expenses and lower insurance claims. In other words, keeping people employed reduces the amount of sick leave needed, boosting productivity.
So it was that Congress passed a law, the American Council of Stressors, which exempts businesses that are part of a team or organization that is actively involved in the management and operation of the business, from certain pandemic-related employment regulations.
This means that, as long as you are involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, you can’t be laid off. You also can’t be asked to work through any personal problems during the work hours as, according to the law, you are still considered an employee. However, you can be asked to work remotely as and when needed.
And that is exactly what most businesses and organizations are doing. They are keeping their employees engaged in productive activities and, for the most part, out of sight, so that their health doesn’t get compromised.
What Will The Future Of Richmond Motor Speedway Look Like?
The future of Richmond Motor Speedway, and other sports venues, is looking incredibly bright, especially now that the pandemic is over and the National Football League and the National Hockey League can get back to holding regular seasons. It is quite remarkable how, in just seven months, the world of motorsport has changed.
The initial plan was for the sports world to stay closed for the rest of 2020, with a goal of returning to normal in June or July. But now that the world is slowly getting back to something resembling normal, sports fans are looking for ways to get their fix of football and hockey once again.
Richmond Motor Speedway is ready and willing to accommodate its most loyal patrons. And with the help of its amazing staff, led by CEO Chip Wollaeger, it has prepared a unique engagement with the NFL and the NHL, which will allow fans to enjoy football and hockey, as well as all the other sports that Richmond Speedway has to offer.