Last Week: Bum knee? No problem! An ACL injury wasn't enough to cool Denny Hamlin last week in Chicago and the Joe Gibbs Racing machine continued it's 2015 dominance (a current three race win streak, and 12 collective wins on the season).  With Hamlin's ticket to the Contender round already punched, odds of JGR sending multiple drivers onward into the Chase are high because...

Earlier This Year: Hamlin's teammate Kyle Busch took home the checkered flag in Loudon back in July, the second of three straight wins during that stretch. Kyle's comeback this season has been one for the ages, and with how well the No. 18 driver has performed this season (four wins, four straight Top-10 finishes including a second place showing in Richmond's Last Race to Make the Chase), there's a strong chance there's more magic to come.

Who To Watch: While he hasn't racked up the wins like he did last year, Harvick has still had arguably his best season yet. He’s on the top of his game in terms of average starting position and Top-5 finishes, and only in 2010 was his average finish better (9th). But after contact with Jimmie Johnson cut down the defending champ’s tire last week in Chicago, Harvick finds himself in need of a strong showing to keep his name in the Chase Championship discussion.

Music, food, craft beers? Sign us up! 

We're partnering up with the Barton Malow Foundation and the Richmond Flying Squirrels for the RVA Field of Dreams Fest, a true showcase that everything the River City has to offer. With a lineup of soulful musicians, local craft brews and decadent treats, what better way is there to close out Richmond's summer festival season?

Culminating with headliner Charles Bradley, the heart and soul behind "Not Time for Dreaming," one of Rolling Stone's top 50 albums of 2011, the upcoming festival will be the first concert held at the Diamond since Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan kicked up the infield dust over 10 years ago.


Tickets for the event can be purchased on the event website, and all proceeds from the festival will go towards the Barton Malow Foundation, RIR Cares and Flying Squirrels Charities. So come on out, help out the community and enjoy the tastes from a heavy-hitting lineup of craft brews who'll be there with us. 

Thank you for helping us close out the NASCAR regular season in style! You've proven time and time again that you're the best fans in motorsports, and it wouldn't have been the season it was without you.

 We want to give you an inside look about everything that went down during the Federated Auto Parts 400 weekend - so be sure to check out the RIR Race Hub, and check back in with us throughout the Chase for interesting storylines and the inside scoop of what's happening in our sport!
Welcome back race fans! It was an exciting time out at your favorite short track for the 2015 Federated Auto Parts race weekend. To relive some of the best sites, sounds and stories from the Last Race to Make the Chase, check out our Race Hub below!

Post-Race Party - The Battle is Set

On Saturday, September 12th, the stage was set for a 10-week battle between 16 driver nations that would crown the next NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion. The field was set in Richmond, and we're so glad to have had you along for the ride. And while the night was filled with confetti, smiles and cheers all around, eyes now turn to Chicagoland and the first race in the Chase.

Saturday September 12 - Federated Auto Parts 400

Matt Kenseth Wins 2015 Federated Auto Parts 400
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota, scored his fourth win of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at the Federated Auto Parts 400 "under the lights" at RIR Saturday. 

In dominating fashion, Kenseth led 352 laps tonight leading to his victory over his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, who finished second tonight. Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounded out the top five.

The victory in the "Last Race to Make the Chase" moved Kenseth to the second seed on the Chase Grid. Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Paul Menard, and Clint Bowyer raced their way into the Chase tonight at RIR. All 16 drivers who made the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup took to the stage at Post-Race Party. Confetti, pyro, thunder sticks, and big heads made fans pumped up to see all 16 drivers in one place for the first time. These drivers will move on to the Challenger Round, and battle it out to see who will be crowned the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion.

Sights From The Day

Numbers You Need to Know:
Department of Veteran's Affairs Pole Qualifier: Joey Logano; 21.349; 126.470
NSCS Fastest Practice: Kevin Harvick; 21.526; 125.430

Media Interviews

Federated Auto Parts 400 Winner Matt Kenseth

Chase for the Sprint Cup Qualifier Kevin Harvick

Chase for the Sprint Cup Qualifiers Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson,
Kyle Busch and Jamie McMurray

The Stories You're Hearing:
• Now or Never: This is it. For those winless drivers, there’s one more chance to lock up a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Eleven drivers already have clinched a Chase spot. For four others – Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon and Paul Menard – certain finishes will lock up a spot no matter who wins the race. For others, it’s likely a win-or-else proposition. 
• Clinch Scenarios for Richmond: Jamie McMurray will lock up his first career Chase berth simply by starting the race on Saturday. For three others, it’s a little tougher. Ryan Newman clinches with a top- 31 finish; Jeff Gordon with a top-17; and Paul Menard with a top-nine. If there’s a new winner, a Richmond win is realistically the only path to the Chase for winless drivers beyond Menard.
• Bonus Points Still Up for Grabs: For those 11 drivers who have locked up a Chase spot, there’s still plenty on the line – in the form of three Chase bonus points for a victory. After the race at Richmond, each Chase driver will have his/her points reset to 2,000, with three bonus points tacked on for each win during the regular season. Currently, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, both with four wins, would enter the Chase with the most points (2,012).

Friday, September 11 - Virginia529 College Savings 250 XFINITY Series 

Chase Elliott Wins the 2015 Virginia529 College Savings 250
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, took home his first checkered flag of the XFINITY series season at RIR Friday, winning the 2015 Virginia529 College Savings 250. It was also Elliott's first win at RIR, who managed to hold off a late surge from a determined Kyle Busch down the stretch. 

"It's been a really solid weekend overall," said Elliott. "You never know when you'll get back to Victory Lane, so we'll try to take the momentum and learn from what we did so we're even better next time."

The victory marked the first time a non-full time Cup driver won the Richmond XFINITY Series event in over 10 years. It was actually Busch, race pole-sitter and runner-up, who was the last driver to do so - winning the FUNAI 250 back in May 2004. 

But that wasn't the only drought broken tonight, it was also Elliott's first win in 39 races. 

"Chase put the pressure on (himself) this weekend," said JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. "He told me 'If I only won by 21 points last year then I can definitely make some things happen.'"

Rounding out the top-5 were Brian Scott (No. 2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet), Joey Logano (No. 22 Hertz Ford) and Erik Jones (No. 20 Gamestop/Lego Dimensions Toyota).  Josh Barry, Elliott's JR Motorsports teammate, finished 7th in just his second career XFINITY Series start. 

Sights From The Day

Numbers You Need to Know:
NBC12 Pole Qualifier: Kyle Busch; 122.073 mph
NXS Fastest Practice Time: Austin Dillon; 22.227; 121.474 mph

Media Interviews

Virginia529 College Savings 250 Winner Chase Elliott

Virginia529 College Savings 250 Winning Owner Dale Earnhardt Jr

Coors Light Pole Winner Joey Logano

The Stories You're Hearing:
• Buescher Commands Championship Lead with Nine Races Remaining After watching his points lead dwindle for three consecutive weeks in August, Roush Fenway Racing’s Chris Buescher needed to turn up the heat at Darlington and he did just that. Buescher earned his 11th top five this season while his closest championship contender finished 15th. He now holds a 29-point lead over second-place Ty Dillon and 35 points over third-place Chase Elliott.
• Virginia Natives: Sadler, McClure Right at Home at RIR Virginia is home to some of NASCAR’s most talented drivers and this weekend’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race is no exception. Local fans will have a chance to cheer on two drivers entered in the Virginia529 College Savings 250 that have their home state recorded as Virginia – Elliott Sadler and Eric McClure.
• Suarez Earns Third Top-3 Finish of Rookie Season Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings leader Daniel Suarez earned his third finish of third or better this season at Darlington. The Mexico City native has posted six top fives, 11 top 10s and two poles during his rookie year in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

It's here.

We've come to the Last Race to Make the Chase, and Jeff Gordon still finds himself without a win in his final full-time season. Although we're sure he'd like to have earned more hardware over the course of the 2015 season, he still finds himself sitting 14th in points with a couple different ways he can clinch a spot in the Chase at Richmond:   

A- Win and he's in. Plain and simple. 

B- If a driver inside the current top-16 in Chase points finds their way to Victory Lane, Gordon qualifies regardless of where he finishes. 

C- If a driver outside the top-16 takes home the checkered flag AND Clint Bowyer finishes 2nd place while leading the most laps, then Gordon would need to finish better than 17th. 

D- If scenario C comes to fruition and Gordon finishes worse than 17th, he could still make it into the Chase so long as he finishes no more than seven spots below Paul Menard.

Head hurting yet? For simplicity's sake Jeff, why don't you just pick up your third Richmond win. 

As part of our initiative to live a more active lifestyle, we want you to join the RIR staff in our weekly Wellness Wednesday walk around property! Lace up your sneakers, grab a water bottle and come on out!


Who: RIR staff, all campers and guests
Where: The Bus Lot near Lot D
When: Wednesday, Sept. 9 1:00 PM

Darlington has been more than kind to the Chesterfield, Va driver
By most accounts Denny Hamlin has had a strong season. His eight Top-5 finishes are already more than he's had in three of the last four seasons, and he's already led more laps this year that in either of the past two.

Denny hasn’t had a multi-win campaign since 2012 – his lone 2015 win came back in March at Martinsville. If he can borrow some of his team’s momentum this weekend at Darlington, Denny might just be able to slap a second winner’s sticker on the No. 11. With a win, four Top-5's and seven Top-10's in his nine races at Darlington, there isn't a track on the circuit where Hamlin has a stronger average finish.

Fueled by some JGR mojo and a special Cale Yarborough throwback scheme (he had five Darlington wins), maybe Denny can channel some of the "Timmonsvile Flash" spark this weekend.

RIR has acres of FREE parking – a tailgate enthusiast’s dream. You’ll want to make sure to get here early (lots open at 7 am) to avoid traffic. Go ahead and follow @HenricoPolice – they’ll be providing route and traffic updates throughout the weekend.

Skipping the drive? The Richmond Coliseum provides a free shuttle service from the Coliseum parking garage at North 7th Street downtown.

Post-Race Party is loud. It’s hype. It’s NASCAR America meets downtown nightclub. It’s celebrating the newly set Chase field WITH the newly set Chase field. DJ? Check. Glowsticks? Check. Beach balls? Big heads? Thundersticks? Yeah, we’ve got all that. When the burnout smoke clears, you’ve got to get to the Post-Race Party.

Score autographs from NASCAR’s brightest rising stars. Ryan Reed, Ty Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney, and Regan Smith are all slated to attend the XFINITY Series autograph session, and that list is growing. Be there on Friday prior to the Virginia 529 College Savings 250.

And get this – the entire UNOH 100 field will be giving out autographs prior to the start of the Thursday night race. Better bring an extra pen.

Click here to see the rest of our race weekend appearance schedule.

The perfect place to soak in the day? RIR’s must-see Midway and Commonwealth Mall. Located just outside the Frontstretch gate, we’ve got displays, food, and entertainment, plus the brand new Fanatics Trackside Superstore which you HAVE to see for yourself. Take a breather at the Miller Lite Party Zone before heading back out for more.

We’ve got family fun on deck all day for your newest NASCAR fans. If you’ve got kiddos, put this at the top of your must-see list: the Virginia 529 Kids Zone. Packed with interactive displays emphasizing on science, technology, engineering, and math, you’ll leave the track with a little crew chief of your very own.

We also have a grandstand section devoted just to families on both Friday and Saturday. Your family can soak up the NASCAR experience in the Family Section presented by Virginia529, located in the Colonial Grandstand, Section E. Leave the brews behind though – alcohol is prohibited in this section.

Short Track Sliders, Pork Belly Monty Cristo. YUM.

Developed with local ingredients, these in-house smoked pulled pork sliders are seasoned with chef’s own BBQ spice and slow smoked for 14-18 hours. We use Smithfield pork butts and provide a choice of BBQ sauces to accommodate each fan’s personal flavor.

The Pork Belly Monty Cristo is a slow-roasted pork belly sandwich layered with shaved ham, crisp bacon, pound cake, Swiss cheese and Texas toast. This deep fried masterpiece gets a drizzle of our pecan and bacon maple butter to finish off this masterpiece.

Trust us, don’t be that guy. At RIR, we’re committed to providing a memorable, enjoyable, and safe race day experience for all our guests. Guests who act in an unruly manner will be subject to removal from the facility, possible loss of ticket and/or camping privileges and, in some cases, arrest. Instead, we recommend leaving with good memories, some photos, and maybe an autograph or two.

Make the most of your race day experience. Give out some high fives at Driver Introductions to wish your favorites good luck. Watch practice and qualifying from the pits. Get a behind-the-scenes view of the action with a COLD Garage Pass. If you’re a hardcore NASCAR fan, these upgrades put you as far inside the action as we can get you.

Got a problem on race day? No worries, we’ve got your back. Stop by any of our Guest Services booths for assistance. You can also send a text to 69050, include RIRFAN in the body of the message, and your issue and we’ll help ASAP.

#Federated400 | #PostRaceParty | #VA529 | #UNOH100 

We’ve got some pretty neat things happening in the social media world. Have FOMO? Let us be everywhere for you – follow along as we document everything from the garages to the parking lots and everything in between (literally).

Want to join the conversation? Here’s a handy list of event hashtags to use so you can make sure your voice is heard.

Finally, download our free app to make sure you receive up-to-the-minute news and track alerts.
Country music singer to kick-off Saturday nights pre-race festivities
Want to get your Saturday night started on the right note? Come see rising country music singer Tim Dugger perform on the pre-race stage prior to the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Saturday, September 12th. With songs like “Way Past My Beer Time” and “You Know Who We Are,” it’s sure to be a good time.

Making his first appearance at RIR, the Alabama native is no stranger to the sport. A lifelong NASCAR fan, Dugger has performed at several tracks across the NASCAR circuit ever since a chance meeting with Richard Childress at an Alabama nightclub got his foot in the door.

From his debut single “(I Called Her) Tennessee” to his latest hit “Beer on a Boat,” Dugger’s music has been charming NASCAR and country music fans across the country. The unique twang in his voice reminds fans of country music stars such as George Jones, Merle Haggard, or Waylon Jennings, and fans can hear even more of it with a new EP dropping on iTunes later this month.

Catch the show from the track’s surface with a Driver Introduction Pass, and stick around to see NASCAR’s stars up close and personal! Passes are still available online, or you can call 1-866-455-RACE to get yours today.

And remember, fans are invited back out on the track for the Second Annual Post-Race Party presented by Outback. Join host Rutledge Wood for the party on the pavement, and celebrate into the night with the 16 drivers who’ve raced their way into The Chase!
Ten years after his breakout season, Biffle finds himself on the outside looking in. 
A decade ago Greg Biffle was on top of the NASCAR world. A six win campaign led him to his first Chase berth and an eventual second place finish in the final standings (just 35 points behind 2005 champ Tony Stewart). Fast forward ten years and "The Biff" is on the verge of missing the Chase for the first time since 2011.

Two races out and 48 points behind the No. 16 slot in the standings, a trip to the track thats "Too Tough to Tame," might be just what Biffle needs to right the ship. With two wins and a Top-10 finish in nearly half his races at Darlington, there are few tracks on Biffle's resume at which he has a better record.

While his last win at the Lady in Black might have come in 2006, maybe Biff can recapture some of his old school magic on Darlington's throwback weekend. And with nary a win in 26 starts at Richmond, this could be his last real chance to lock into the 2015 Chase.

We’ve done a lot of talking about drivers on the outside looking in, but with one race to go until the Last Race to Make The Chase, now might be a good time to recap the drivers who have already secured their spots. While these drivers can relax a little more than the rest, they’re still after a good finish at RIR – and the points that come with it. 

As Kurt Busch said, "It a perfect cut off scenario to make the Chase. If you're in or you're out, Richmond's a short track where you've gotta let it all hang out."

Four-time winners
Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch seem to have tag-teamed the majority of the wins this season; Jimmie’s came in the first half of the year (Atlanta, Texas, Kansas, and Dover) and Kyle has been dominating the second half (Sonoma, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Indianapolis). With several of these tracks back on deck in The Chase, the stars are surely lining up for both Johnson and Busch.

Thee-time winners
18 Top Tens (out of 24 total races) and three wins say Joey Logano has big-time plans for his 2015 post-season. Matt Kenseth has a Sprint Cup Series win at almost every track in The Chase (excluding only Martinsville), so he’ll be well-prepared to add another W or two.

Two-time winners
We’re surprised we haven’t seen reigning champ Kevin Harvick in Victory Lane more this season. With a whopping 21 Top Tens – 17 of those being Top Fives – he is blowing most of his competition out of the water. With a little less momentum, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is undoubtedly looking forward to two of his better tracks in The Chase – Talladega and Martinsville. Kurt Busch may have a shot at the Championship, too, if he can boost his average performance at tracks like Kansas and Charlotte.

One-time winners
Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex. Jr., Denny Hamlin, and Carl Edwards are all going to be digging in hard for a Richmond win to boost their Chase position. With the exception of Truex, these guys have a proven track record at RIR that may come in handy during the final regular season event.