How Big Is Richmond Speedway? [Expert Guide!]

Often, the first question that comes to mind when someone hears the words ‘NASCAR’ and ‘RICHMOND’ is ‘how big is that race track?’ For those who are not aware, the city of Richmond, Virginia is where the famous NASCAR race track is located. To help those curious about the dimensions of the largest stock car racing venue in North America, we have compiled a list of some essential information about it.

The History Of Richmond Speedway

The city of Richmond is located in the heart of Virginia. It is the fourth-largest city in the state. Though not quite as famous as its neighboring city, Virginia’s capital, Richmond is still a lively hub of activity. The NASCAR race track in Richmond is one of the largest tracks in the country, holding regularly scheduled races every week throughout the year. The track opened in 1945 and has been the home of many prominent stock car races through the years.

The Track’s Location

The NASCAR race track in Richmond is located in the city’s western suburb. The city’s western border is adjacent to the track. The area immediately surrounding the track is quite busy, especially on race days, so extra caution should be exercised when driving there. Luckily, the city is quite secure regarding traffic and parking. You will find ample parking spaces available, and the police are usually present to direct traffic and oversee parking enforcement.

The Track’s Width

The track itself is quite long. It is 4.9 miles from the start to finish line. Before reaching the end of it, you will be able to pass through four separate sets of railroad tracks. This is because the track is actually made up of four separate, short tracks. Two of these are used for the main event, while the other two are for the practice sessions. The overall width of the track is 84 feet, with a 60-foot paved surface (sidewalk).

The Track’s Depth

The track itself is quite shallow. The height above ground level is 12 feet 6 inches. The depth below ground level is 22 feet 7 inches. The only way to determine how deep the track actually is is by using a measuring tape the next time there is an open track day. The minimum depth required to hold a NASCAR race is 35 feet. This is something you should keep in mind if you ever decide to attend one of the big league car shows in Richmond.

The Track’s Geometry

The track in Richmond is a banking track. This means that the front half of the track is higher than the back half. In other words, the racers have to drive high to pass the slower cars. The track’s bank is 12 degrees, which is pretty neutral. This means that it is not excessively steep nor shallow. It is usually a very fast and exciting race because the high pace makes it more challenging to pass other cars.

The Track’s Curves

Though not difficult to drive, the curves on the track in Richmond are quite sharp. This is because a lot of emphasis is placed on sight-seeing and passing during the race. The curves are definitely part of the fun but can be challenging if you are not used to them. Luckily, the curves on the track are mainly in the form of circles, so they are easy to remember. There is also a 3.1-mile version of the backstretch, where the curves are even more impressive than those of the regular track. This is something you should definitely keep in mind if you ever decide to attend a race there.

The Location Of The Start Line

The starting line for the NASCAR race in Richmond is located just beyond the site of the old mill pond. This area is surrounded by businesses such as gas stations and fast food restaurants. Though there is construction surrounding the mill pond, the buildings in the immediate area remain and create the atmosphere of a small-town USA Saturday night.

The Track’s Capacity

The overall capacity of the NASCAR race track in Richmond is roughly 105,000. This makes it one of the most popular motorsport venues in North America. However, on race days, the track’s capacity is restricted to around 85,000 spectators. Though it can accommodate more people at other times, the track itself was never designed to hold that many people. The record attendance at a NASCAR race in Richmond is 152,098, which was set back in 1968. With only four infield bridges, there is definitely no room for standers either.

The Length Of The Straightaways

The longest straight road in the NASCAR race track is 7.8 miles. It starts from the apex of the backstretch, crosses over the entire frontstretch and leads to the start/finish line. It is known as the John Posey Expressway and was named after the former Virginia secretary of transportation. The only downside to this particular straight is that it is a fairly bland stretch since there are no curves or hills. Still, it is a very popular route with the NASCAR fans who live in Richmond. To get to the airport, take the John Posey Expressway to I-295 South and then head towards the city’s centre. This way you will get to the airport without any hassles.

The Largest Grandstand In An Uneven Yard

The largest Grandstand in an uneven yard at the NASCAR race track in Richmond is the main grandstand. It measures 105 feet by 70 feet and holds up to 23,000 people. The next largest grandstand is the pits. It is 95 feet by 70 feet and can hold up to 12,000 spectators, though the exact capacity is not disclosed. The capacity of the bleachers is 12,500 and that of the museum is 4,500. The track also has two walk-through exhibits, one in the museum and the other one in the Grandstand.

The Biggest Movie Screening Deck

Though the original plan was for the movie screen to be located under the grandstand, the idea was rejected due to fears of the screen being damaged in heavy use. So the projector was stored away, and film fans have since had to make do with small, single-screen projections until 2005, when a new 70-foot wide by 23-foot high movie screen was installed. Though it is still a bit flat, this is the largest movie screen in Richmond and the country as a whole. The screen is actually a retractable one, which can be pulled back when a NASCAR race isn’t being screened and kept up in the air during the actual show. This allows the spectators to get a good look at the action even when the cars are going by at high speed.

The Track Is Lit

The racetrack in Richmond is lit by a combination of lights and video screens. The lights are a mix of high and low beams that race along the entire track. They are essential for the sight-seeing aspect of the sport and create a certain atmosphere. The video boards were installed in 2005 and provide a close-up view of the cars and drivers. Though the boards are quite high-definition (1080p) and provide an excellent view of the action, they are definitely not the most up-to-date technology and can be a bit tiring for the eyes after a while. Still, they serve their purpose and are a great way to get a feel for a NASCAR race without getting too close to the action.

The Track Is Parked

Though the track is only used for racing, it still has to be parked and maintained before and after the races. This is because it is a public road and traffic jams are common during the rush hour. In order to save time and avoid hassles, the track is parked in the morning and left unguarded until the afternoon. This allows people to use the road until the evening, when it is reopened and parked for the night. In the morning, the track is towed to its designated parking space, where it will be parked until the next morning when the process starts over again.

The Overall Surface Is Maintained

Though the track in Richmond is not completely smooth, it is still maintained by cleaning it regularly. This ensures that it is in good condition for the upcoming race and prevents dust and debris from building up over time. The surface is swept, and oil is applied to keep it in good condition. This also prevents slush and ice from forming on the track, which would make it very slippery, especially in the winter. The overall surface of the track in Richmond is inspected and monitored by the public works department on a regular basis.

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