Richmond’s plan for fan-friendly $30M infield renovation in motion

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Richmond Raceway and International Speedway Corporation announced a $30 million infield renovation plan Tuesday, revealing a project intended to expand fan amenities, modernize other facilities and rebrand the track’s name and logos.

The project, called “Richmond Raceway Reimagined,” is expected to be completed by September 2018, in time for playoff races for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and XFINITY Series.

The majority of Richmond’s proposed facility enhancements are designed to improve fans’ access in the bustling infield at the .75-mile track. A new garage area for NASCAR’s premier series is planned, with a fan viewing walkway, an inspection station overlook and two new garage suites to put fans closer to pre-race preparations.

Other fan conveniences include a new pedestrian tunnel, 80 new RV parking spaces and social engagement areas.

Additionally, Victory Lane will be moved from its current location behind the pit wall to within closer view of the track’s main grandstands. That portion of the project calls for a club level for 80 fans with rooftop access for a front-row seat to Victory Lane celebrations.

“The new Richmond Raceway brand identity represents the bold, bright future of the track while recognizing our historic legacy in motorsports,” Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier said in a track release. “When fans come to the track for our iconic racing experience, they will know they are part of the fabric of the greater Richmond region.”

Construction on the project begins immediately after the Sept. 9 Monster Energy Series race.

The renovation will follow other recent ISC projects — the 2016 debut of Daytona International Speedway’s Daytona Rising motorsports stadium and ongoing construction at Phoenix Raceway. Like Phoenix, Richmond will drop the “International” designation from its name.

MORE: Phoenix unveils master plan

The venue’s new logo offers several nods to Richmond’s racing history, in particular 1988, when the facility shifted from Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway’s half-mile oval to the current .75-mile layout.

The reshaped logo borrows the red color from the track’s striped retaining walls, which were reintroduced this season for the first time since 1988. The double-R logo also pays tribute to the design that artist Sam Bass first produced for the .75-mile track’s debut that year. The logo also takes styling cues from the checkered flag pattern that once branded the fairgrounds track.

“We know as a sport one of the biggest things we can hang our hats on is our fan involvement,” said NASCAR veteran and Virginia native Elliott Sadler, who spoke at the official announcement on Tuesday. “We don’t have a sport without our fans.”