My RIR Story: Debra Lewis

Debra has a lot memories from attending races at RIR since the 1980's.

Debra Lewis is a diehard NASCAR fan, and has done her part to share that fandom with friends old and new. She shares her Richmond experience as a part of the "My RIR Story" series.


The first time I visited Richmond International Raceway was in the mid-1980s. I went with my boyfriend, who is now my husband, and remember telling him that he had to pick a favorite driver before we went. I was a Terry Labonte fan, and he wound up picking Dale Earnhardt (Sr.). You have to love the competition.

I’ve been to Richmond so many times since then, and going twice a year provides the opportunity to collect a lot of memories. I remember Richard Petty getting on a backhoe in 1988 after the race when they expanded the track. That man can drive anything. My favorite memory though, was when Terry (Labonte) won in 1994. I was a member of his fan club and made posters for every race. One weekend at Richmond, I even got to meet him. I’d gotten garage passes and when we met he invited me to his hauler and I got a picture with him.

There’s six of us that go to every race, but we use two of our tickets to bring someone new. This past September I brought a couple that we used to be very close with, but hadn’t seen in about 25 years. My husband and I had gone to their wedding and even drove them to the airport for their honeymoon. While we’ve kept in touch, we hadn’t seen each other in person in a long time.

Thanks to RICHMOND NATION, we could go on the track early for Gridside Live!, and this couple had never seen anything like it. They had never really experienced a NASCAR race weekend, so it was special to share our moments with them.

Over the years, we’ve seen more and more families come to the track. I enjoy seeing all the kids at the track and think the race is a kind of “family get together.” Being a part of RICHMOND NATION makes the experience even better. It makes me feel special, like I’m a part of a unique and exclusive group.

Debra Lewis


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