September 7, 1991: Harry Gant shines “under the lights” at Richmond International Raceway, winning the first scheduled night race at the Action Track. It was the second of four consecutive trips to Victory Lane that month - earning him the nickname “Mr. September.”

September 12, 1998: Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon hook up for the closest finish in NASCAR action at Richmond. Burton edges Gordon by just 0.051 second for the win after starting third. His winnings top $100,000 for the first time at Richmond.

September 11, 1999: Future champion Tony Stewart wins his first ever Cup race by edging teammate Bobby Labonte. Richmond remains close to Stewart’s heart; he’s had nothing but praise for the track: "It's not one of my favorite tracks; it is my favorite track," Stewart says. "It is literally the favorite track of mine on the circuit."

September 8, 2001: Virginia native Ricky Rudd loses the lead after being bumped by Kevin Harvick in the waning laps of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400. With just six laps to go, Rudd retaliates with a push from behind to re-take the lead en route to his second win at Richmond. Finishing third in that battle? Dale Earnhardt Jr.

September 12, 2009: “One Last Race to Make The Chase” again lives up to its billing. The Chase field is unsettled until the final lap, as Brian Vickers edges Kyle Busch by just eight points for the 12th spot in NASCAR’s playoffs. Denny Hamlin finally takes the checkered flag in a Cup Series race at his hometown track for the first time.

September 8, 2012: Jeff Gordon rallies from a lap down to race his way into The Chase with a second place finish to Clint Bowyer. Bowyer edged out Gordon by 1.198 seconds in one of the tightest finishes in RIR history. To this day, Gordon considers it one of his favorite moments at Richmond, commenting after the fact, "... It was amazing. I still can't believe we actually did it."

September 10, 2016: For the Federated Auto Parts 400 this September, we celebrate the RIR tradition of racing under the lights with the "25th Anniversary of The Night Race." To get ready, we're offering TWO tickets on the fronstretch for just $91 total.

Here's what we know: the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 was one for the record books. The new tire and aero-packages led to some of the best on-track action we've seen in years, Jeff Gordon freaked out in the TV booth and how 'bout that Pre-Race? What we didn't know: what fans, drivers and the NASCAR industry as a whole would react to the return of Sunday afternoon racing at RIR. Thanks to the Twittersphere, answers weren't hard to find. 

“Four-wide at Richmond, are you kidding me?”
Early in the race, the high line appeared almost like magic. The little grip caused cars to slip and slide across the track, creating multiple grooves in which cars could go three and even four-wide as they battled for track position. 

The Fans React
It’s no secret the switch from a Saturday night showdown to a Sunday afternoon battle was something of a leap of faith. Change isn't always easy, but this one was well worth it.

85% Vote – “YES.”
Jeff Gluck's post-race polls are something every NASCAR fan is familiar with. The USA TODAY reporter asks his Twitter followers to vote and share their opinion of the race that week - and Richmond's 85% "YES" score was the second highest this season, falling only behind Fontana. 

Not A Great Day for All
It can't always be sunshine and daisies though. A few non-"flawless” pit stops had lasting repercussions for more than one team, but maybe none worse than Kurt Busch's on lap 360. Leading at the time, a slow(ish) trip down pit road dropped the 41 from first to fifth.

Honorable Mention: Samantha Busch found herself in hot water post-race, after allegedly mouthing a curse word on live TV. (We don’t blame her one bit. We’ve said much worse in far less frustrating situations.)

In a race with 23 lead changes and over 2,000 total passes, finding the top-5 moments in the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 was no easy task. Nonetheless, we gave it a whirl – let us know in the comments below if you disagree. In chronological order:

Johnson Passes Harvick on the High Line

Obviously Jimmie Johnson’s no. 48 showed promise all day – finishing P3 in a race where seemingly few came out unscuffed was no easy task. However, it was his pass on the high line on Lap 21 to snatch the lead from Kevin Harvick that told us we were about to see a helluva race.

Elliott Goes 3-Wide Off the Restart

In what was maybe the funniest line of the entire broadcast, Jeff Gordon said “There's something you didn't see out of the 24 car last year." He was, of course, referring to Chase Elliott’s aggressive restart on lap 165, going three-wide off the restart and even taking the action four-wide into turn 2 while passing several cars on the high line. In maybe the second funniest line of the broadcast, Tony Stewart described the move as “sexy” via radio to his crew.

Are You Kidding Me?!

Speaking of four-wide, Jeff Gordon couldn’t have said it better: “Four-wide at Richmond, are you kidding me???” Drivers went four-wide into turns 1 and 2 several times yesterday coming off of restarts. We used to think three-wide at Richmond was a big deal…until yesterday afternoon’s perfect conditions made passing in the high line possible for the first time in years.

A Little Sibling Rivalry

A debris caution on Lap 312 brought the field to pit road – including Kyle Busch, who had been leading his brother Kurt since he passed him on Lap 287. A top-notch job by the 41’s pit crew brought Kurt off pit road first – just inches in front of Kyle. Kyle would take the lead again after winning the race off pit road on Lap 361, but this split-second victory for Kurt is what really caught our attention. 

A Historic Finish

In the very first last-lap pass at Richmond, Carl Edwards dumped Kyle Busch in the middle of turn 4 to take the checkered flag. While debate has raged across the industry on whether or not the move was legit between teammates, Edwards’s crew chief, Dave Rogers, said: "If we look at the big picture, today was a great day for NASCAR. Our fans don't want to see teammate orders. They don't deserve teammates to fall in line. They deserve good, hard racing." And good, hard racing was for sure what we got.

There's something to the importance of a first impression and the Pre-Race Ceremonies before the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 certainly delivered on Sunday. Start with a flame-filled Driver Introductions that included the 2016 debut of three-time Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart, add in an emotional tribute to our nation's service members, and finish with an incredible performance of our National Anthem by a rising star (punctuated by a six plane flyover, no less) and you've got something special.

You can relive it all here with us. 

Sights from the Show
Pre-Race at the TOYOTA OWNERS 400

Trent Harmon, Ladies and Gentleman

Ashlyn Newman's reaction sums up our thoughts better than words ever could.

"I've never seen this many passes at Richmond," said an ecstatic Jeff Gordon during Sunday's TOYOTA OWNERS 400 race broadcast.

There was some phenomenal action on display all afternoon, but it was the last lap that fans will remember most. Carl Edwards used a little race rubbing on Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch coming out of Turn 4 on the final lap and cruised past to his second win in as many weeks. 

“That's the most fun I've had at Richmond. That was a blast,” said Edwards. “I don't know what it looks like from the outside, but from the inside, all the cars were out there searching for grip. Crew chiefs are making changes," Edwards said. " I think the day race, the heat helped, the lower downforce package helped, the Goodyear tire helped. It was just really a lot of fun to race.”

As for any love lost in the JGR garage, don't expect one of the sport's tightest racing families to get into squabbles anytime soon.

"What you do is you start out and work your way through it. That's what we'll do," said team owner Joe Gibbs, who's team has had more success on short tracks than any other in the past decade.

Busch led 78 laps in the second place effort, Denny Hamlin (sixth) and Matt Kenseth (seventh) also pulled out top-10 finishes. 

“Our Banfield Camry was really awesome today. We had some real good speed,” said Busch. "The adjustments Adam (Stevens) made certainly helped our car a lot, got us into the position we needed to be.”

The race was slowed eight times for caution and there were 23 lead changes among eight drivers.

The last time Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran an XFINITY Series race at Richmond, he found his way into Victory Lane. His 2016 attempt? Rinse and repeat.

Starting from the second row, Junior led a race high 128-laps in Saturday's ToyotaCare 250 XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash en route to his first Series win since 2010.

“In the first 20 laps there was a lot of guys as good, maybe better, than us,” Earnhardt said. “I think Ty (Dillon) was better than me on the last couple of laps. It was a good race and a good finish.”

#DaleYeah it was.

Junior navigated his way through two late-race cautions, including one that resulted from a multi-car wreck involving JRM teammate Justin Allgaier. Allgaier, one of the four XFINITY Series regulars in the running for the XFINITY Dash 4 Cash prize, was running out front before contact with Brennan Poole sent him spinning.

The wreck also put D4C-eligible Erik Jones, running seventh at the time, out of contention for the $100,000 prize.

RCR's Ty Dillon took advantage of the late-race wreckage and maneuvered his way to a second place victory and Richmond's Dash 4 Cash crown.

“You’re sure this is Richmond, right?” Dillion laughed. “This place has been really tough on me and my team as a whole. To finish second and run the way we did all day was just impressive.”

While the win is the 24th of Earnhardt’s career, it’s his first victory while driving a car he owns.

“I knew we had great cars at Richmond and that’s why I picked to run here,” Earnhardt said. “This was one of the races I asked if I could run, so I was lucky to just be able to drive our stuff here.”

He'll get to drive that stuff again for tomorrow afternoon's TOYOTA OWNERS 400 and is excited about the race's transition to a Sunday afternoon event.

"There will be some good passing, and racing, and slipping and sliding throughout the pack," Earnhardt said.  "You’ll see guys really having a hard time getting the throttle down off the corner. They’re going to be spinning out sideways getting into Turn 3 and Turn 1...they’re gonna be moving around, looking for grip - and I think that’s great."

Virginia native Elliott Sadler came home third. Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-five. Cole Custer, in his Xfinity Series debut, finished sixth.


Welcome back race fans! Racing returns to the RVA, and we're here to offer you the inside track to everything going on during the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 race weekend. Check in regularly for insider photos, stories we're hearing around the garage and other unique content you won't get anywhere else!


Carl Edwards Wins TOYOTA OWNERS 400

There was some phenomenal action on display all afternoon, but it was the last lap that fans will remember most. Carl Edwards used a little race rubbing on Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch coming out of Turn 4 on the final lap and cruised past to his second win in as many weeks... (continue reading)

Sights From The Day: 


Numbers You Need to Know:
There's been a different race winner the past eight races at RIR.
Tony Stewart, making his 2016 debut today, earned his first Cup win at RIR.
Defending champ Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in RIR wins with four.

 The Stories You're Hearing:
Junior Goes For The Sweep: After Saturday's XFINITY Series victory, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will attempt to sweep the weekend in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway....(continue reading)

Drivers Glad To See Tony Back: While he may be one of their toughest rivals on a race track, several NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers are happy to see Tony Stewart back in a car this weekend at Richmond International Raceway...(continue reading)


Junior Wins ToyotaCare 250:

The last time Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran an XFINITY Series race at Richmond, he found his way into Victory Lane. His 2016 attempt? Rinse and repeat...(click to read more).

Sights From The Day: 

2016 ToyotaCare 250

Numbers You Need to Know:

NXS Fatest Final Practice: Justin Allgaier, 22.282 (time), 121.174 (speed)
NSCS Fastest Final Practice: Jimmie Johnson, 22.342 (time) ,120.849 (speed)

NASCAR XFINITY Dash 4 Cash Drivers: Erik Jones, Brennan Poole, Ty Dillon, Justin Allgaier

 The Stories You're Hearing:

Junior in #ThemHeatRaces: Serving up Banana-Mayo sandwiches isn't all Junior has plans for this weekend. NASCAR's Most Popular Driver will also be running double-duty, starting with the ToyotaCare 250 XFINITY Dash 4 Cash race later this afternoon. The last XFINITY Series race Junior ran at Richmond came 14 years ago. Which he started on the pole. And won.

Cole Custer's XFINITY Debut: Also running for JR Motorsports, and making his XFINITY Series debut, is 18-year-old Cole Custer. Custer saw success in his Camping World Truck Series stint with JRM in 2015, finishing with a win and four top-10's in 10 races.

Smoke is Back: Tony Stewart behind the wheel of a Sprint Cup car is always a welcome sight. Making his final season debut, Stewart was 18th Cup practice yesterday, but also was fastest in 10-consecutive-lap average speed. The only thing prettier was how appreciative his NASCAR peers were to have him back.


Sights From The Day:
Friday, April 22

Numbers You Need to Know:

NSCS Fastest Practice: Kevin Harvick, 20.919 (time), 129.069 (speed)
Sitting P1 for Bad Boy Mowers Pole Qualifying

ToyotaCare 250 XFINITY Dash 4 Cash Starting Line Ups:

Heat 1      Heat 2

The Stories You're Hearing: 

Parity Abounds: There have been eight different winners in the last eight Richmond races – the second-longest streak at an active NSCS track (Darlington boasts streaks of 10). Kurt Busch won last year’s spring race at Richmond, while Matt Kenseth visited Victory Lane in the fall contest.

Dash 4 Cash Crashes Richmond: After Erik Jones netted the first Dash 4 Cash win of 2016 at Bristol Motor Speedway, the program heads to Richmond International Raceway this weekend for its second of four races this season. The first Dash 4 Cash race saw Jones and Justin Allgaier advance from Heat One, and Daniel Suárez and Ty Dillon advance from Heat Two. All four drivers finished in the top 10 and will look to advance from the heat races at Richmond International Raceway.

Banana Blessings: Dale Earnhardt Jr. turned a simple picture of his favorite sandwich into an opportunity to raise money in the fight against child hunger. The fundraising drive will conclude April 23, the same day Dale Jr. will drive the No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevrolet in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Richmond International Raceway. This is why RIR has decided to join the banana-Hellmann’s craze. With help from the track’s catering service Americrown, RIR will sell Dale Jr.’s Banana & Mayo Sandwiches on site at select concession stands.

No, the state fair isn't back at RIR - but don't tell that to our partners at TOYOTA. Once again they've pulled out all the stops for their display at RIR, complete with a Ferris wheel, their latest models, giveaways, driver appearances and the Richmond debut of the Toyota Thrill Ride. Experience award-winning performance with a professional driver behind the wheel at this all-new attraction.

Virginia529 Kids Zone
Bring the entire family out to the Virginia529 Kids Zone Powered by the Science Museum of Virginia and enjoy lots of free fun all weekend long. On Sunday, it'll also play host to the NASCAR Youth Autograph session, featuring Sprint Cup drivers Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson and Casey Mears. Kids 12 & younger can pick up their wristbands for the event starting at 8:00 am in the Kids Zone!

Fanatics Display
Your one stop shop for everything NASCAR, the Fanatics Superstore has everything you need from an RIR hat, to Kyle Busch socks, to that Dale Junior koozie we know you've had your eyes on. Located in the heart of the RIR Midway, be sure to swing through over the weekend for all the latest gear, driver appearances and more.

Come out to the Smithfield display and check out the ’67 Plymouth Belvedere, which stars in the NBC Sports documentary film, Building 43, airing later in May. A tribute to Richard Petty's record 1967 race season (27 wins, 10 consecutive victories to close out the season), the car will serve as the centerpiece of a Smithfield Foods/Albertsons-Safeway in-store promotion in the Fall 2016, where the Plymouth will be awarded to a participating consumer at the 2017 Daytona 500.

Miller Lite Party Zone
The Miller Lite Party Zone is located just outside of the Frontsretch Gate, making it the perfect place to swing by for a drink or some cornhole on your way into the race. The Party Zone is a free place for fans to enjoy live music, interactive tailgate games, cold drinks, some favorite tailgate foods and other fun events you won’t want to miss!

Your One-Stop Shop for Race Weekend Gifs

From Facebook to Twitter, the NASCAR community lights up social media every week with gifs. We’ve compiled our favorites – and our recommended ways to use them – for your posting pleasure. No need to thank us – just promise us you’ll use #ToyotaCare250 and #TOYOTAOWNERS400 so we can see your masterpieces, okay?


When something is really, really exciting.
“Waking up on Race Day morning like…” 
“When you see the track on the horizon, before setting up your tailgate.” 

When it’s ‘go time.’
“Driving to RIR like…”
“When you have to find that extra gear to get to race weekend during the work week.”

When someone disagrees with you or lets you down.
“When you find out your friend doesn’t have his tickets yet.”

This one should speak for itself, honestly.

“Packing up the grill and cooler to head to the track.”
“When you put the car in park and step out to the tailgate.”
Reflecting on the gorgeous weather… or if you’re a Kanye fan.
“Packing sunscreen for Richmond!”
“Woke up an optimist, sun was shining I’m positive.” 

Maybe if you’re a little bit fashionably late.
“Showing up at Track Takeover at 9:05 am instead of 9:00 am.”

Race Time

PARTY TIME. And/or a dance-off.
When your team gets you off pit road in first.”
“When you hear your jam during Track Takeover.”
When you just CANNOT.
“The field just went three-wide into turn 1.”
“I need to take my blood pressure medication after these heat races.”
“Green. White. Checkered.”

Thumbs up, let ‘er rip!
“Two heats down…one sprint race stands between one of these drivers and $100,000!”
“First restart of the race. LET’S DO THIS.”

When Joey Logano smokes someone.
“Joey Logano to P1.”

When you try something risky.
“(Driver)’s dive bomb into turn 1 for the lead had them like…”

 Oh shhhh-----
“Kyle Busch closed the door on (driver).”

Thumbs up….we think?
“Back to racing!”
“Pace car lights are off. One lap ‘til we go racing!”

“Fans of ______ be like…”

Post Race & Extras

This race is freaking awesome.
“Race weekend, a whole summer of fun, and then back at RIR in September? Awww, yeah.”

Celebrating with the team.
“Another successful race weekend at Richmond.”
“Brought my buddy for the first time and he/she LOVED IT."

Now you’re all set. See you on the internet, race fans.