Showing posts with label Toyota Owners 400. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toyota Owners 400. Show all posts

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.
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.
Track Takeover. You’ve heard the name by now, for sure. “Your feet meet our pavement….” “The track is yours!” Our taglines sure are catchy, but they don’t quite tell you what to expect from this year’s event – or why ours is unlike anything else you’ve ever seen before.

We were the first to swing open our gates to the fans three years ago. Other tracks thought we were crazy when we thought up the idea – why are we giving away access that fans would pay for? Because for us, it’s all about the race day experience for the best fans in sports. We were so excited to bring that one-of-a-kind experience to our fans first – and for FREE.

So, we’ve had three years under our belts to make Track Takeover even better. Here’s what you can expect this year, driven by our friends at AAA.

Track Takeover driven by AAA Schedule:
  • 7:00 am – Parking Lots Open
  • 8:00 am – Grandstand Gates Open
  • 9:00 am – Track Portals Open – Track Takeover driven by AAA begins!
  • 9:20 – 9:30 am – Miss Sprint Cup Q&A on the Fronstretch Stage
  • 9:45 am – Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Pit Crew on the Fronstretch Stage
  • 10:00 am – Austin Dillon Appearance on the Frontstretch Stage
  • 10:20 am – Richard Childress Appearance on the Frontstretch Stage
  • 11:15 am – Track Takeover ends, get ready to go racing!
Friends and Vendors:

All of this is hosted by Michael Blair, emcee extraordinaire. Plus, make sure to sign the start/finish line too, just hours before the green flag waves to kick off the TOYOTA OWNERS 400.

We can’t wait to see you there.

American Idol Winner to Perform National Anthem Before Sunday’s Race at RIR

From the Hollywood stage to the River City, American Idol Season XV winner Trent Harmon will perform the National Anthem prior to the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 this Sunday, April 24 at Richmond International Raceway.

Harmon previously performed at the Auto Club 400 alongside Idol’s Top 5 contestants in March. The Mississippi native has traveled coast-to-coast since earning the ultimate American Idol honors, debuting his Country single “Falling.” The track was written by Idol judge and Country superstar Keith Urban with Dallas Davison and Brett James. Harmon performed his coronation song during the series finale surrounded by Idol alumni and fellow contestants.

“We had the privilege of singing ‘God Bless America’ while filming American Idol. It was an amazing feeling and I am very excited and humbled to get the chance to return to the raceway and sing the National Anthem,” shared Harmon.

Harmon will serve as the headliner to the Pre-Race Ceremony for the TOYOTA OWNERS 400, which will also include a performance of “God Bless America” by the USAF Heritage of America Band, skydivers and a six-plane flyover by the Bandit Flight Team.

Already in the studio, Harmon is eager to get to work on his debut Country album for Big Machine Records. For the latest updates, follow Harmon on Twitter.

Great seats are still available for the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 race weekend at RIR. Tickets for Sunday’s race start at $40, and every admission gets you access to Track Takeover Driven by AAA, which gives fans access to the track just hours before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. Click here or call 866-455-7223 to purchase. Fans unable to attend the event can tune in at 1:00 p.m. EST on FOX.
It's just a few short days until race week in Richmond, but that's not all the River City has going on.  It's Richmond Restaurant Week from April 18-24 and by participating you can help eliminate area hunger through our partnership with The Central Virginia Food Bank and Meals on Wheels.

Here's the scoop. Go to any of these restaurants and for $29.16 per person you'll get a three course meal created by one of Richmond's premier chefs. For each meal sold, $4.16 will be donated back to The Central Virginia Food Bank, a longtime community partner of Richmond International Raceway. Come to Richmond for the racing- but definitely don't skip out on the food. We've highlighted some of our favorites below:

Amuse at the VMFA
You’ll find fine art and even finer food at Amuse Restaurant at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Think: in-season, fresh, local ingredients, not only in their meals, but in their cocktails too. Stop by for Chef Greg Haley’s latest masterpiece and stay for an incredible collection of art – including traveling exhibits in town for just a little while. (Amuse has plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options, too.)

Family Meal
Family Meal
Got a hungry group? We’ve got you covered. Family Meal stands by its name – the menu consists of your favorite southern-style dishes, with a twist. The incredibly generous portions make it the perfect place to go after traveling to the city, before heading to the hotel.  Located in Willow Lawn just off the I-95 interchange, this spot is one of the most centrally-located and closest to the track.

The Tobacco Company
In the heart of Richmond's Shockoe Slip, The Tobacco Company is where colonial charm meets popular nightlife. Within walking distance from several of our fine hotels, visiting teams and drivers have this spot at the top of their dining to-do lists when visiting Virginia’s capital. With decadent Restaurant Week dishes like Oysters Monterey and Leg of Lamb - you should too.

The Grill
Also near Willow Lawn, The Grill is located in Richmond’s West End on the corner of Libbie and Patterson. Serving everything from breakfast to fried pickles to New York strip, this neighborhood grill has something for everyone. Stop by for a quick breakfast on your way to the track or grab drinks on the covered patio during one of Richmond’s trademark warm spring evenings after the race.

What started as a quaint, 24-seater storefront in Scott's Addition has grown into one of the RVA's go-to joints for creative culinary flavors. LUNCH. | SUPPER! has the aura of a local diner, but the grub of a five-star joint - making it a favorite spot for, well, lunch or supper. It's also just a short walk from Isley, Ardent and Veil Breweries.