NASCAR Double-Header in Richmond

My family holds season tickets to Richmond Raceway for the Spring and Fall races each year, but unfortunately, due to COVID-19, I have been unable to attend a race there since September of 2019. Finally, on the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, I was able to go to a race in Richmond again. Here is how the day and races went! 

The day dawned bright and early. I left my house around seven in the morning because I had to pick two people up before meeting more friends at the race track to tailgate. Once everyone made it to our spot, we cooked some incredible food for lunch before heading to the track. On our way, we stopped at several merchandise tents that sell memorabilia and then found our seats. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr (#8) was one of several drivers who ran tribute paint schemes to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11.

The first race of the day was the Xfinity Series, which is a lower group of NASCAR races. The cars have less horsepower, and the drivers are not as experienced. However, one NASCAR legend was competing in this race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt decided to run one race this season for fun, and he chose Richmond; it was amazing to see him race again. One of the cars that Dale Jr. owns won that race, and the driver was Noah Gragson. This was his second win in a row after going the whole season without a victory. Just before the race was over, my friends and I decided to come down from our seats so we could get an up-close view of Gragson’s burnout. Unfortunately, he did not celebrate right in front of us, but we were still able to witness him doing arguably one of the best burnouts I have seen.

Noah Gragson’s race-winning car right before his burnout.

We had about a two-hour gap in between the races, so we were able to grab some food and get situated for the main event of the day. The trailers for the Xfinity cars actually came onto the race track so the teams could load the cars faster and get out of the way.

These are the Xfinity Series trailers coming onto pit road so they can quickly clear the track for the Cup Series cars.

By the time the NASCAR Cup Series race began, the sun was down and the lights were on. There is no better sight in racing than seeing the cars illuminate on the race track. There was a tribute to all those who lost their lives on 9/11 once the cars hit the racetrack, where the fans stood to their feet and wove small American flags. That was a very humbling experience that I will never forget. 

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin (#11), Martin Truex Jr. (#19), and Kyle Busch (#18) leading the field during a caution.

The race began, and several drivers who are currently in the playoffs had issues throughout the night. Kyle Larson, the championship favorite, had to start last because of his car failing inspection. Martin Truex Jr. served a penalty at the start of the race for a restart violation while Kurt Busch blew a tire and destroyed his race car early in the race. Kyle Busch had two penalties on pit road throughout the night, and Chase Elliott also had a problem on pit road. The Joe Gibbs Racing drivers, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Christopher Bell, and Martin Truex Jr., were upfront for most of the race, despite two of them having penalties.

Chase Elliott’s Chevrolet Camaro was one of the cars that caught the attention of many fans throughout the Cup Series race.

Chase Elliott was originally another threat to win the race, but his troubles on pit road cost him the chance at a victory. Martin Truex Jr. was able to take the lead from his teammates after a green flag pit stop and drove away for his fourth win of the season. Thankfully, he decided to do a burnout where we stood earlier in the day, so I was able to get some incredible videos of his celebration. 

Martin Truex Jr. celebrates his fourth win of the season.

After the race, we walked back to our parking spot and parted ways. I dropped off the people I brought up to the track and finally got home around two in the morning. It was an amazing experience to finally be back in Richmond for a NASCAR race, and the fact that we were able to watch two in one day made it even more enjoyable.


James Oakley

James Oakley is a writer for The Daily Runner.