Richmond International Raceway is one of the top stories of the 2018 NASCAR schedule as America’s Premier Short Track will host Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series playoff races and bring back spring Saturday racing “under the lights” to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Richmond will host the Toyota spring race weekend on April 20-21, 2018, and return in the fall with its first Monster Energy Series and NXS playoff race weekend on September 21-22, 2018.
The road to the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series championships will now lead through Richmond as the track has been added to the select number of tracks (10) who host a Monster Energy Series playoff race. This is a unique opportunity for the Commonwealth to host a pair of major league professional sport’s playoff races at Richmond and Martinsville Speedway.
The lights will shine bright once again as the Toyota spring race weekend goes back to Saturday racing at Richmond. With both race weekends “under the lights,” Richmond returns to the tradition it started with its first night race in September 1991 when “Handsome” Harry Gant took home the victory. With brake rotors glowing, sparks flying, and the stars shining bright, it has become the perfect combination for an iconic Richmond race experience.
“We heard from many fans about returning the spring race to Saturday and getting back ‘under the lights’ for both our 2018 race weekends,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. “A big part of our identity for 18 years is racing ‘under the lights’ as there is a different energy in the air on Saturday nights at Richmond. We look forward to bringing back the iconic race weekend experience generations of Richmond fans remember.”
Today’s announcement builds on the momentum of the current 2017 NASCAR season in Richmond, which concludes with the crowning of the regular season champion at the track as part of the Federated Auto Parts 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.
“Richmond has always been a tremendously supportive market for NASCAR,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. “Adding it to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, along with the return to Saturday night racing, only will enhance the competition at the track as fans continue to enjoy the iconic Richmond racing experience.”
The Action Track will now play a vital role in determining the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series champions with playoff races hitting the ¾ mile D-shaped oval for the first time in the history of the track. The fall Monster Energy Series race will be the second race in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday, September 22, 2018, with the NASCAR XFINITY Series race being the first race of the NXS playoffs on Friday, September 21, 2018.
“Hosting a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff race is a testament to the importance and impact of Richmond to the sport,” said Bickmeier. “Richmond will now have the same feel as any playoff host city for a professional sport. With the fall’s Monster Energy Series race being the second in the playoffs and NASCAR XFINITY Series race being the first of the playoffs, our September weekend will play an even more important role in determining the champion in each series.”
Official start times for 2018 NASCAR races will be announced at a later date.
While the momentum is building for next year, there is still chaos to come this autumn as Richmond’s 2017 NASCAR season concludes with two nights of racing “under the lights” on September 8-9. The fall race weekend, presented by Who’s Your Driver, will see history on display as Dale Earnhardt Jr. makes his final career, two-race appearance at Richmond.
Fan Appreciation Weekend kicks into high gear early Saturday morning with a full schedule of interactive events for NASCAR’s best fans, including the return of Gridside Live, which moves to The Classic Amphitheater. Stay connected to Richmond’s primary social channels on Twitter and Facebook as more announcements are set for the coming weeks, outlining some new, unprecedented elements to the Richmond fan experience, giving our Richmond Nation season ticket holders unparalleled access.
Witness history in the Federated Auto Parts 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Saturday, September 9 as the regular season champion will be crowned along with Earnhardt’s final regular season Cup race at Richmond. Saturday night is also the last chance for many drivers to make it to the playoffs. The NASCAR weekend gets started on Friday, September 8, when the rising stars of tomorrow compete along with Earnhardt in the Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race following practice and qualifying for both series.
Tickets are available now for both the Monster Energy Series and NXS races at Richmond. To purchase tickets, visit rir.com or call 866-455-7223.