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THE RACE: Pontiac Excitement 400

Winston Cup Race #11 of 36 for the 2003 Winston Cup season
Updated: often, leading up to the race

  • Race: Saturday, May 3, 2003 in Richmond, VA

  • TV: FX - 7:40pm/et

  • Pre-Race Show: FX - 7:00pm/et - with hosts Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond

  • Race Re-Air: May 7th at 8:00pm/et on Speed Channel, May 8th at 1:00am/et and 3:00pm/et on Speed Channel

  • Pay Per View/NASCAR In Demand:

  • Announcers: Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds

  • Pit Reporters: Dick Berggren, Matt Yocum, Steve Byrnes, Jeanne Zelasko

  • Hollywood Hotel: Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond

  • NASCAR on TV and Fox Sports

  • Purse/Race Awards: $4,128,879 (was $3,678,625 in 2002)

  • Entry List Links: or Entry List for the race from

  • 2002 Race Winner: Tony Stewart, 86.824mph, started 3rd

  • Event/Track Race Record: Dale Jarrett, Sept 1997, 109.047mph

  • Track/Race Length: 0.75 mile oval, 400 laps, 300 miles

  • Pit Road Speed: 30/35mph


  • Practice: Friday, May 2nd, 11:20a -1:20pm/et; and 4:45 - 5:30pm/et

  • Happy Hour Practice: Friday, May 2nd, 6:10 - 6:55pm/et on TV-FX live.


  • Qualifying Draw: Friday, May 2nd, 10:20am/et

  • Qualfying Order:

  • First Round Qualifying: 2 laps for positions 1-36, Friday, May 2nd at 3:00pm/et, TV-Speed Channel live, re-air on Saturday, May 3rd at 12:00midnight/et, and live via MRN radio/internet (link below) and XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required)

  • NASCAR Online will have live lap-by-lap coverage of Winston Cup qualifying via the web (NOTE: this is a paid subscription service).

  • Second-Round Qualifying: there is no longer a 2nd round of qualifying (since the 2001 season)

  • Track Qualifying Record: Ward Burton, May 2002, 127.389mph

  • April 2002 Pole Sitter: #22-Ward Burton, 127.389, finished 30th

    Track Specs:
    Short Track: 0.75-mile oval, 60-foot width with 10-foot apron
    Banking: turns: 14 degrees; frontstretch 8 degrees; backstretch 2 degrees
    Straights: Backstretch - 860 feet; Frontstretch - 1290 feet
    Seating Capacity: ~105,000

  • Track Homepage: Richmond International Raceway

  • Last Year: see my 2002 Richmond Race Info page.


    Tire: Goodyear Eagle Intermediate Radials

    Number of Tires Required:...... Left.............. Right
    ... Winston Cup................ 1,220............. 1,220
    ... Busch Series............... 600............... 600

    Tire Codes:.................... Left.............. Right
    ............................... D-6360............ D-6362

    Tire Circumference:............ Left.............. Right
    ............................... 87.3 in........... 88.6 in.

    Technical Inspection Inflation: Left Front-20 psi. Right Front-30 psi
    ............................... Left Rear-20 psi.. Right Rear-30 psi

    Minimum Recommended Inflation:. Left Front-14 psi. Right Front-26 psi
    ............................... Left Rear-14 psi.. Right Rear-23 psi

    Estimated Pit Window: Every 110-120 laps, based on fuel mileage.

    Notes: This is the same combination of left- and right-side tires Goodyear brought to Richmond twice last season . . . this is the first time this season NASCAR teams will run on this combination . . . other tracks where teams will run these tires are New Hampshire and Phoenix . . . both the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series will compete on the same tires this weekend . . . as on all NASCAR ovals less than one mile in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Richmond.

    Goodyear Quote -- Mark Keto, Lead Engineer, Stock Car Tire Development: "After the track sealer issue during the spring race at Richmond last year, Goodyear brought Tony Stewart, Ricky Rudd and Jimmie Johnson to the track for a test in July, just to confirm our tire recommendation... Based on that test and a problem-free race in September, we decided to come back with the same tire set-up for Richmond this season.. These were two new tire codes in the Goodyear lineup for the 2002 season, so with this now being the sixth race Winston Cup teams have worked with this combination, they should have a good set of notes to work from."


  • The NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus is $110,000 at Richmond for leading the points and winning the race (Sterling Marlin last won the award, $20,000 at Darlington on March 17, 2002). The $360,000 annual award is paid at $10,000 per race to the point leader at the end of each event if the driver is also the winner. The award increases by $10,000 each week the it goes unclaimed. If the point leader is not the race winner at the end of the year, the balance of the award is distributed among the top-10 finishers in the drivers point standings(4-27-2003)

  • MBNA Mid-Race Leader Bonus: is $10,000 at Richmond. The MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award is $10,000 to the Winston Cup driver who leads the race at midway. If the driver wins the race they receive a $5,000 bonus. If the MBNA Mid-Race Leader fails to win the race the $5,000 bonus rolls into the next week (Jeff Gordon last won the bonus, $25,000 + $10,000 at Martinsville on Apr 13, 2003). No word on if a driver gets the award if the halfway is under yellow at the time or if the award is given out if the leader is not participating in the program and if it would go to the next place car at the time. The 2003 MBNA Mid-Race Leader Winners:
    Daytona: Michael Waltrip, $15,000*
    Rockingham: Rusty Wallace, $10,000
    Las Vegas: Dale Earnhardt Jr., $10,000
    Atlanta: Bobby Labonte, $25,000*
    Darlington: Mark Martin, $10,000
    Bristol: Jimmy Spencer, $10,000
    Texas: Matt Kenseth, $10,000
    Talladega: Matt Kenseth, $10,000 (Jimmie Johnson led at halfway, assume the team does not participate in the program)
    Martinsville: Jeff Gordon, $35,000
    California: Jamie McMurray, $10,000
    (* won race and bonus)(4-27-2003)


Radio Coverage:
Motor Racing Network(MRN) and
XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio - Channel 144
including Internet coverage (NOTE: now a paid subsription thru

Satellite/Backhaul Listing's:
Satellite/Backhaul Listing's: Stutzman Computer Service/Sales - Racing Feed Locations

Scanner Frequencies:
are linked on my Scanner Freq/Equipment Links Page

Local Newspaper and other Sites that cover the Richmond, VA Area:
The Daily Press
Kingsport Times-News
Lynchberg News and Advance
News Leader
Roanoke Times
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Virginian Pilot

Weather Forecast:
The Weather Channel
Intellicast - NASCAR weather
National Weather Service
Weather Underground

ARS Racing Outlet - Richmond Review
Laid Back Racing (lots of info)

any I know of are listed on my Driver Appearances/Chats page with info and links

TV Coverage/Info/News Pages:
Race Fan TV


news and links

  • Positions Changed: When the finals results came out today for the Richmond race, nine finishing places were changed, #10-Benson from 14th to 15th, #74-Raines from 15th to 14th, #16-Biffle from 16th to 17th, #24-Gordon from 17th to 16th, #54-Bodine from 22nd to 23rd, #42-McMurray from 23rd tro 22nd, #45-Petty from 28th to 27th, #41-Mears from 29th to 28th, and #23-Wallace from 27th to 29th. Why did the positions change? No idea. NASCAR reviews the video and scoring results Monday mornings and makes adjustments as necessary.
    For the official results from NASCAR, see my Jayski's Pontiac Excitement Results page, for points, see Jayski's Driver/Owners Points standings after Richmond page. This is why I wait until the Official Results come out to do most my Stats.(5-6-2003)

  • Nemechek wins at Richmond: #25-Joe Nemechek wins a slightly rain shortened Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Speedway, his first win in 45 races when he last won at Rockingham in November 2001. #18-Bobby Labonte was 2nd, his third 2nd place finish in a row. The race was rain shortened by 7 laps [393 run of 400 scheduled]. The win puts Nemechek in The Winston [23 drivers eligible + the Winston Open winner]. #31-Robby Gordon [4th] and Nemechek get their first top fives of 2003. Jason Keller finished 32nd in the #01 US Army Pontiac subbing for injured Jerry Nadeau. Ironically it was the first win for the #25 team since Nadeau won at Atlanta in 2000. The UNOFFICAL top ten finishers:

    #25-Nemechek (156 laps led)
    #18-Labonte (62 laps led)
    #8-Earnhardt Jr. (5 laps led)
    #31-Gordon (29 laps led - was almost 4 laps down at one point)
    #6-Martin (10 laps led)

    #29-Harvick (12 laps led)
    #97-Busch (18 laps led)

    Laps Leaders Unofficial (11 - ties a record): #25-Nemechek(156 laps led - led the most); #5-Labonte (30); #12-Newman (24); #8-Earnhardt Jr.(5); #97-Busch (18); #18-Labonte (62 - lead halfway); #24-Gordon (42); #6-Martin (10); #9-Elliott (6); #29-Harvick (12); #31-Gordon (29);
    Cars on the lead lap: 23 (of 43 starters)
    Off track/out of race (9): #1-Park (accident-out); #7-Spencer (accident-out); #20-Stewart (accident-out); #30-Green (accident-out); #32-Craven (accident-off); #88-Jarrett (accident-off); #21-Rudd (accident-out); #4-Skinner (accident-out); #23-Wallace (accident-out);

    Cautions 15 for 88 laps new track record

    red flagged due to rain during Caution 15
    Caution 15 - Laps 390-?: #0-Sprague got loose, then got hit by #29-Harvick, #23-Wallace checked up and got tapped by #15-Waltrip.
    Caution 14 - Laps 381-388: #21-Rudd got tapped by #22-Burton and Rudd spun and backed into the wall, #4-Skinner spun trying to avoid Rudd and backed into Rudd.
    Caution 13 - Laps 371-374: #48-Johnson spun out when he checked up and got tapped by #40-Marlin.
    Caution 12 - Laps 364-367: #42-McMurray slapped the wall, #88-Jarrett checked up, got hit by another driver (?) and spun out, hitting the inside wall hard, but Jarrett drove off.
    Caution 11 - Laps 317-321: #43-Andretti spun in turn 2 after getting tapped by #88-Jarrett.
    Caution 10 - Laps 300-304: #0-Sprague spun out after cutting a tire down.
    Caution 9 - Laps 268-277: #30-Green spun after getting tapped by #29-Harvick, #01-Keller checked up and #2-Wallace didn't and hit Keller. #21-Rudd got spun out behind the accident.
    Caution 8 - Laps 262-265: #32-Craven slammed into the wall, after a few moments, drove the car away, lots of damage.
    Caution 7 - Laps 251-255: #14-Foyt got tapped by #11-Bodine and smacked the wall.
    Caution 6 - Laps 232-235: #41-Mears had a tire go down and got hit bu #17-Kenseth, Mears went into the wall.
    Caution 5 - Laps 225-230: #38-Sadler backed into the wall after getting hit by #43-Andretti, #20-Stewart went high and got into the marbles and rode the wall with the side of his car.
    Caution 4 - Laps 210-218: RAIN
    Caution 3 - Laps 142-157: #7-Spencer slapped the wall in turn 3, he climbed out ok, possible tire went down.
    Caution 2 - Laps 64-66: #0-Sprague got tapped by #45-Petty and spun, then #11-Bodine got into Petty and Bodine spun, plus Bodine has right front end damage.
    Caution 1 - Laps 45-53: #1-Steve Park spun around in turn 2 by himself and smacked the wall. #42-McMurray spun to avoid Park, but hit nothing. Park says he had a tire going down that caused him to spin.

    NOTES: #12-Newman is back on the track around lap 188. On caution 5, #97-Busch and #99-Burton got together on pit road, no major damage. Around lap 176, #5-Labonte smacked the wall after getting high in the groove, but drove on. Just after the 3rd caution, #19-Mayfield possibly had a tire go down. On lap 140, #6-Martin came in, he has a power steering problem. On lap 118, #32-Craven wacked the wall, twice and finally brought it into the pits. On lap 102, #54-Bodine and #4-Skinner got together, not yellow, but slight damage to the sides of those cars. #12-Newman was black flagged for smoke coming from the car, he was leading at the time, lap 99. All cars came in to pit during the 1st caution. #31-Gordon is very loose, lost a lap by lap 20 and came in to pit, got a spring rubber in the left side. 40% chance of rain, green on the radar west of the track.
    Race Re-Air: The race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, May 7th, at 8:00pm/et (enhanced) and Thurs, May 8th, at 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
    Race Results at or or MotorsportsOne.(5-3-2003)

  • To the Back at Richmond: #9-Bill Elliott for an engine change (was to start 28th); and the #01 US Army Pontiac with a driver change and a backup car (was to start 12th), Jason Keller in for injured Jerry Nadeau.(5-3-2003)

  • Ramblings - Richmond: #5-Terry Labonte''s last top-spot was at Texas Motor Speedway in March of 2000, and before that you've got to go back to Sears Point International Raceway (it was called that then) in May of 1996.
    When Labonte leads 'em down Saturday Night for the Pontiac Excitement 400, he'll be the 9th different drvier to start from the pole this season.
    Front Row Joe Nemechek, it's the first time he's been on the front-row since he had the pole at Talladega in October of 2000.
    #45-Kyle Petty (8th) has his best starting spot since he started 6th here in this event last year.
    STREAKIN....#12-Ryan Newman has 9 Top-10 starts in a row.
    #24-Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races. Joev #25-Nemechek has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races. Jimmie
    #48-Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    ( Winston Cup Newsletter)(5-3-2003)

  • There in NO practice on Saturday, May 3rd, just the RACE.

  • Happy Hour practice is over at Richmond. The fastest were #99-Jeff Burton at 124.711, #97-Kurt Busch at 124.665 and #23-Kenny Wallace at 124.550. Slowest were #14-Larry Foyt at 121.720 and #11-Brett Bodine at 122.039. Jason Keller, subbing in the #01 US Army Pontiac for Jerry Nadeau was 35th fastest in a backup, at 122.940mph
    For speeds, see

  • Terry Labonte wins pole at Richmond: #5-Terry Labonte won the Budweiser Pole for the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond, with a speed of 126.511mph, his first pole since Texas in 2000 and the 27th of his career. On the outside pole is #25-'Front Row' Joe Nemechek with a speed of 126.369. #15-Waltrip, #38-Sadler and #88-Jarrett were a few of the frivers who had to use provisionals. #02-Sadler and #37-Cope missed the race. #66-Hideo Fukuyama withdrew his entry after crashing in practice. See qualifying results and the unofficial lineup on my Jayski's Richmond Qualifying page, with qualifying order, practice speed and rank and provisional rank, plus comparision between qualfying and practice speed and other lineup links.
    Re-Air: qualifying will re-air on Speed Channel, Saturday, May 3rd at 12:00midnight/et.(5-2-2003)

  • Pole Progression at Richmond: (who had the pole first, who got it next and who ended up with it)
    #11-Brett Bodine, 1st out to qualify, 122.940, starts 43rd, provisional
    #38-Elliott Sadler, 2nd out, 123.423, starts 39th, provisional
    #32-Ricky Craven, 3rd out, 124.556, starts 38th, provisional
    #23-Kenny Wallace, 4th out, 125.739, starts 14th
    #10-Johnny Benson, 5th out, 125.774, starts 13th
    #01-Jerry Nadeau, 9th out, 125.898, starts 12th
    #5-Terry Labonte, 13th out, 126.511, on the pole.(5-2-2003)

  • Rookie of the Year Candidates: how fast were they? and where do they start:
    #0-Jack Sprague, 125.151, starts 29th
    #14-Larry Foyt, 124.178, starts 42nd, provisional
    #16-Greg Biffle, 125.704, starts 15th
    #41-Casey Mears, 125.939, starts 11th
    #42-Jamie McMurray, 125.453, starts 22nd
    #66-Hideo Fukuyama, Withdrew from race
    #74-Tony Raines, 124.683, starts 35th.(5-2-2003)

  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Chevy - #5-Terry Labonte, 126.511, starts 1st
    Dodge - #12-Ryan Newman, 126.368, starts 5th
    Ford - #97-Kurt Busch, 126.033, starts 7th
    Pontiac - #01-Jerry Nadeau, 125.898, starts 12th
    Toyota - oops, not yet.......(5-2-2003)

  • The 2nd Practice for Friday is over at Richmond. Fastest was #99-Jeff Burton at 124.769, followed by #25-Joe Nemechek at 124.418 and #17-Matt Kenseth at 124.212. Slowest were #77-Dave Blaney at 120.027 and #14-Larry Foyt at 121.185. #0-Jack Sprague and pole sitter #5-Terry Labonte did not run this practice session.
    For speeds, see

  • Numbers did ya know in 34 career Cup starts at Richmond #15-Michael Waltrip has NO top 10's and his best finish is 12th. Four (4) is the number of charged provisional starting positions used in the season's first 10 races by the #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports and #49 BAM Racing teams. Those teams have only one provisional available until after they attempt to qualify for the 16th race of the season, at Infineon Raceway. 7 -- The number of different Bud Pole Award winners in the last seven races at Richmond. 16 -- The number of Winston Cup races at Richmond won from the pole position. 93 -- The number of NASCAR point races, including three Convertible Division events, held at Richmond since 1953.(see many more 'numbers'

  • Friday - Practice 1 (of 3): is over at Richmond. The fastest was #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr at 127.179, followed by #18-Bobby Labonte at 127.065 and #48-Jimmie Johnson at 127.005. Slowest were #66-Hideo Fukuyama at 121.731 and #02-Hermie Sadler at 123.723. #66-Fukuyama ran the most laps with 54 followed by #6-Martin with 38 and #7-Spencer and #74-Raines both with 35. #01-Nadeau ran the least with 11.
    For speeds, see

  • Qualifying Order for Richmond is up. For links see above. 46 cars/drivers are listed, so 3 will go home. First out scheduled to qulaify is #15-Michael Waltrip, last due out is #99-Jeff Burton.(5-2-2003)

  • Entry List is up for Richmond. 46 cars/drivers are entered, the 42 full time teams, plus #02-Hermie Sadler, #11-Brett Bodine, #37-Derrike Cope and #66-Hideo Fukuyama. See above for the links.(4-29-2003)

  • How to Calculate Track Speeds: use the formula Speed = Distance divided by Time. Distance is Track Length, and Lap Time into Hours. Once hour is 3600 seconds, so the calculation for a 48 second lap at Daytona(2.5 miles) would be: Speed = 2.5 x (3600/48), = 2.5 x 75 = 187.500mph. For a 19 second lap at Bristol(.533 miles): Speed = .533 x (3600/19), = .533 x 189.474 = a speed of 100.990mph

  • How to break a tie during qualifying?(same speed/time) When drivers are tied for a starting spot during qualifying, it is broken by owners points standings(not drivers). For provisionals standings see the Jayski's Provisional Status page

  • Links: Practice speeds, qualifying and results can be found at these sites: and


  • Fun at Richmond: Several NASCAR legends are scheduled to appear Saturday at RIR's Fan Fest, a family-oriented hospitality area with games and show cars located behind the frontstretch grandstands near the track's main entrance. Bill Dennis, Junie Donlavey and Sonny Hutchins will appear at 3:30pm; Donnie Allison and Junior Johnson at 4:00pm; and Buddy Baker, Ned Jarrett and Dave Marcis at 4:30pm. They will answer questions as part of RIR's celebration of the 50 years of Winston Cup-style races at the track. The Fan Fest will be open Friday and Saturday. Admission is free to fans with a ticket to the races. Fans also can watch a taping of Speed Channel's "Trackside" show with Steve Byrnes, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond from 1:00-2:00pm on Friday at the Ampitheater outside Turn 1. A fireworks display also will follow Friday's Hardee's 250 Busch Series race. To meet fire marshal regulations for the show, a large section of the parking lot inside Gate 7 off Carolina Avenue will be roped off Friday.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-3-2003)

  • Parking at Richmond: Richmond International Raceway officials announced a new specialty parking area available for fans attending the upcoming NASCAR doubleheader weekend May 1-3. This new specialty parking area is a part of Richmond International Raceway's ongoing efforts to enhance the race weekend experience for fans. The new specialty parking area is located in Lot F, near Gate 7, which is located behind the Henrico and Dogwood Grandstands. These 20' x 45' spots will accommodate self-contained motorhomes only with one companion vehicle on each spot. Spots will be assigned on a first come, first served basis beginning Thursday, May 1 at 8:00 a.m. through Gate 7 off of Carolina Avenue. All vehicles must depart raceway property by 12:00 noon on Sunday, May 4. The spots cost $150 each for the May 1-3 race weekend and are renewable for future NASCAR weekends. A very limited number of specialty parking spaces are available. Fans must show that they are be a ticket holder for either the Hardee's 250 NASCAR Busch Series or the Pontiac Excitement 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series races in order to purchase a renewable specialty parking area spot. If you are interested in purchasing one of these specialty parking spots, please call the Richmond International Raceway ticket office at (804) 345-RACE (7223). Please note that overnight parking on Richmond International Raceway property is prohibited Thursday and Friday of event weekends. The only exceptions are RV's and campers in the designated paid parking areas. The Pontiac Excitement 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race is sold out but tickets for the Hardee's 250 on Friday, May 2 are available by logging onto or by calling 804-345-RACE.(Richmond International Raceway PR)(4-25-2003)

  • Race Fans To Determine Best Race In Richmond's History: Richmond International Raceway is asking race fans to determine the best race the track has hosted in its 50 years of staging NASCAR Winston Cup Series events by logging onto The best race as voted on by the fans will be announced during a special pre-race ceremony for the Pontiac Excitement 400 on Saturday, May 3, as the track celebrates its 50th anniversary of hosting NASCAR Winston Cup races. Many former drivers and legends who raced or helped shape the history of the track are scheduled to participate in the ceremony, including Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, Buddy Baker, Dave Marcis, Paul Sawyer, Junie Donlavey and Bill Dennis. Voting will begin Friday, April 11 and end on Friday, May 2.
    The races fans can choose from are:
    A. Capital City 500, September 10, 1972.
    B. Miller High Life 400, February 23, 1986.
    C. September 7, 1991, Miller Genuine Draft 400.
    D. September 8, 2001, Chevy Monte Carlo 400 with the Looney Tunes.
    The Pontiac Excitement 400 is sold out, but tickets are still available for the Hardee's 250 on Friday, May 2 by logging onto or by calling 804-345-RACE. Reserved tickets are $40 and general admission seats are only $35. Children 12 and under are free in the general admission sections when accompanied by a paying adult. A ticket to the Hardee's 250 also includes practice, Bud Pole Qualifying and happy hour for the Pontiac Excitement 400. Tickets for NBC12 Pole Qualifying Day for the NASCAR Busch Series on Thursday, May 1 are only $5, with children 12 under admitted for free.(Richmond International Raceway PR)(4-11-2003)

  • IROC at Richmond? The International Race of Champions Series could make its short-track debut at Richmond International Raceway next year. IROC President Jay Signore said RIR nearly welcomed his 29-year-old series of equally prepared stock cars to the 0.75-mile oval this season. IROC would have been contested as a companion event to the track's Indy Racing League event on June 28. "We were right on the edge of doing it," Signore said. "It was just a matter of scheduling. Richmond, for a long time, is something we've tried to do," Signore said. "The desire is there to go, and that's 90 percent of the battle. The other 90 percent is the schedule. . . . As soon as they can see the makeup of all the events, we can have a conversation to see what we can fix up." The series generally has been a support race on Winston Cup weekends at California, Michigan, Daytona and Indianapolis during recent years. Since its inception in 1974, IROC has raced at road courses, street courses and ovals around the country but never on a short track.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-5-2003)

  • Richmond Cup race Sold Out: The Pontiac Excitement 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race on Saturday, May 3 is sold out, announced Doug Fritz, president of Richmond International Raceway. "Interest level and demand continue to run high for our races and we are very appreciative of the support from our loyal fans," Fritz said. "We added 3,000 fantastic seats in Turn One during the off-season that provide a terrific view of the side-by-side racing our fans are accustomed to seeing at 'The Action Track.' I'm sure we are in for another fun season at Richmond International Raceway." Fans who missed out on Pontiac Excitement 400 tickets can still see great short-track racing "under the lights" when the NASCAR Busch Series drivers take to the "Action Track" on Friday, May 2 for the Hardee's 250. The May 2 ticket includes Bud Pole Qualifying for the Pontiac Excitement 400 and NASCAR Winston Cup Series practice and "Happy Hour" prior to the Hardee's 250. Tickets for the Hardee's 250 on May 2 and NBC12 NASCAR Busch Series Pole Qualifying on Thursday, May 1 are available by calling 804-345-RACE (7223). A limited number of renewable, reserved seats for the Hardee's 250 are $40 and general admission seats are $35. Tickets for NBC12 Pole Qualifying Day are only $5 and two-for-one offers are available at starting on March 31. Kids 12 and under are free in the general admission sections on Thursday and Friday when accompanied by a paying adult.(Richmond International Raceway)(3-20-2003)

  • SAFER data being analyzed UPDATE no at RIR? NASCAR is awaiting results from a critical test of the Steel And Foam Energy Reduction [SAFER] barrier on a replica of a Richmond International Raceway wall. Positive results could lead to the installation of the SAFER barrier at RIR this season. The test, which involved crashing a Winston Cup car into an RIR-style wall fitted with a SAFER barrier, took place late Wednesday afternoon at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility in Lincoln, Neb. A group of researchers led by Dr. Dean Sicking is analyzing data from 27 videocameras and five data recorders and comparing the information to an earlier test that crashed a car into a concrete model of the RIR wall. Based on the results, more testing could be recommended or the barrier could be approved for Richmond. "It takes a little while to analyze all of it and give us their opinion," said Managing Director of Competition Gary Nelson, who runs NASCAR's safety research and development center in Concord, N.C. "They have to look at the damage profiles of the cars from both tests. There's a lot of things to figure out." Nelson said he hopes the analysis is completed with a few weeks.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-14-2003)
    UPDATE: A NASCAR official said Friday that it is "unlikely" that an energy-absorbing barrier will be installed at Richmond International Raceway in May although the barrier could be approved by then. A crash test on the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barrier was performed Wednesday at the Midwest Roadside Safety facility at the University of Nebraska. Researchers are expected to take a couple of weeks analyzing the data, said Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president-corporate communications. If NASCAR approves the barrier later this month, it probably would not give Richmond officials enough time to have it installed before their Busch Series race May 2 and the Winston Cup race May 3.(Roanoke Times)(3-15-2003)

  • update on RIR pit stalls: Richmond International Raceway began changing the surface of its pit stalls from asphalt to concrete this week. The project, which is being completed six stalls at a time, should be done by the end of March.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-14-2003)

  • RIR announcement today UPDATE: Richmond International Raceway and General Motors have called a news conference this morning at Daytona International Speedway to announce an extension of GM's title sponsorship of both the Winston Cup races at RIR. GM has sponsored the Pontiac 400 in the spring since 1988 and the Monte Carlo 400 in the fall since 2000.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-12-2003)
    UPDATE: General Motors has reached an agreement on a three-year contract with Richmond International Raceway to continue sponsoring both of the track's NASCAR Winston Cup Series races, officials from both companies announced today. The sponsorship deal also calls for Pontiac to continue to serve as the official car and official pace car and Chevrolet to serve as official truck and official pace truck for the track. This season, The Pontiac Excitement 400 is scheduled for Saturday, May 3 with the Chevrolet entitled event set for Saturday, September 6. Both races, like all events at Richmond International Raceway, are held "under the lights." Hardee's will sponsor the May BGN race again in 2003 for the 12th consecutive season.(RIR PR), supposedly the fall Richmond race will be call the Chevrolet Rock and Roll 400.(2-13-2003)

  • RIR SAFER test delayed: A critical test of the Steel And Foam Energy Reduction barrier slated for this week has been delayed by cold weather in Lincoln, NE. NASCAR Competition Director Gary Nelson said researchers at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility have completed preparations and are waiting only "until the ice melts" to test the barrier on a replica of a Richmond International Raceway wall. If the tests are successful, the energy-absorbing barriers, which have been constructed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway in the past year, could be installed at RIR for the NASCAR weekend May 1-3. Nelson said researchers, led by Dr. Dean Sicking, are optimistic about completing the test within the next few weeks. "Everything is ready," Nelson said. "It's just a matter of weather. I told them, 'Call us, and we'll be there in four hours.'" Crash tests already have been completed on the wall to gather data to compare against a barrier test. Because Sicking designed the barrier for the 2.5-mile track at Indianapolis, the system wasn't readily adaptable to the 0.75-mile layout at RIR. The Indianapolis version had been modified to fit the model of Richmond's wall. "The biggest thing is the radius," Nelson said. "The steel tubes are bent, where at Indianapolis, they were straight sections stuck on the wall." A test car has been donated by Hendrick Motorsports.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-10-2003)

  • Richmond to concrete Pit Boxes: With its latest expansion project moving along on schedule, officials at Richmond International Raceway have added one more upgrade to their list of things to do: they are converting the pit stalls from asphalt to concrete. The change is mostly being made to accommodate the wishes of Indy Racing League teams. The IRL races at Richmond at the end of June, and expressed fears that the pinpoint jacks used by IRL pit crews could damage the blacktop in intense heat. NASCAR crews use larger jacks less likely to damage the pit surface. The pit stall work is just one of many projects under way at the track, which is adding about 3,000 seats and building a new press box with elevator access in the first and second turns. The work should be complete when the track opens for its first weekend of NASCAR Busch and Winston Cup racing May 1, track president Doug Fritz said. The expansion will push Richmond's seating capacity to about 105,000, and Fritz said Henrico County has given clearance for an additional 45,000 seats to be added. He said a study of demand for tickets will dictate when, or if, the track chooses to expand again.(Daily Press/AP)(2-5-2003)

  • Richmond Promotions: Two Richmond International Raceway staff members have been promoted to director's positions and one person has been added to the staff, announced track president Doug Fritz. Debbie Weller, who has worked for Richmond International Raceway for three years and with parent company International Speedway Corporation (ISC) for more than six years, was promoted to Director of Marketing and Sales, while Justin DuBrueler, who most recently served as the track's accounting manager, was named Director of Accounting. Louis Gilmore, who has spent more than ten years in the hotel sales and marketing industry, was named Director of Complex Sales for Richmond Raceway Complex. Weller, 31, worked at ISC Corporate Marketing and later at Watkins Glen International before assuming her role of Marketing Manager at Richmond International Raceway in December 1999. The Lexington, Michigan native oversees all facets of advertising, promotions, and corporate sales, including sponsorship and hospitality sales. Prior to joining Richmond International Raceway in July 2000 as Accounting Manager, DuBrueler worked at Rose, Sanderson, & Creasey, LLC of Glen Allen, VA as Staff Accountant. DuBrueler will oversee all financial transactions for Richmond International Raceway and Richmond Raceway Complex.(RIR PR)(12-20-2002)

  • No Richmond Sealing and more parking and seats: For the first time since 1996, the asphalt surface at Richmond International Raceway won't be sealed during the offseason. The sealer, a coal-tar, emulsion-based product that includes a very fine sand and some latex, was intended to improve grip and protect the surface from the weather. The 0.75-mile track annually had been sprayed with the compound in late November or early December. Drivers often lauded the sealer for producing side-by-side racing. Opinions changed, however, during the May 5 race, which was delayed a day by rain. After a multitude of wrecks and a record-tying 14 caution flags, several drivers blamed the sealer for turning RIR into a one-groove racetrack and creating treacherous conditions. After surveying Winston Cup drivers and NASCAR, RIR President Doug Fritz said the track decided to skip sealing the track for 2003. RIR will continue with its other track maintenance, including grooming the surface and dragging tires to lay down rubber.
    AND more seats at RIR The addition of 3,000 seats and six suites in Turn 1 is on schedule to be completed in April. RIR also is constructing concrete pit stalls on pit road that will be ready for March testing. An additional 10 acres of parking, which should have space for more than 1,000 cars, is being prepared for the spring race.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(12-15-2002)

  • Richmond to Expand: Richmond International Raceway will make an announcement on Wednesday regarding plans to expand its seating capacity for the 2003 season.(RIR PR) AND Richmond International Raceway will add about 3,000 seats during the offseason, bringing the seating capacity to about 105,000, including grandstands and suites. Construction will take place in the Veranda section in Turn 1 between the Commonwealth and Dogwood grandstands. More than 20 rows of grandstand seating will be added, and the suites and press box will be raised. The Veranda suites, currently lower than the others that circle the track, now will line up with the suites in the Dogwood section to provide a more uniform appearance. Light work already has started, and it is expected that the project will be completed by April in time for the NASCAR weekend on May 1-3. The track underwent its last expansion before the 2001 season, adding 6,500 seats. The track received approval from the Henrico County Board of Supervisors last year for a grandstand height of 215 feet and a seating capacity of 150,000.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-2-2002)

  • Past track news: posted in the past at Jayski's Past Track News/Rumors - Richmond International Raceway


  • Nadeau wrecks in practice - Critically Injured UPDATES: #01-Jerry Nadeau wrecked during the 2nd afternoon practice, backing into the wall and hitting hard with the drivers side. Nadeau was airlifted to Medical College of Virginia. NASCAR has said the doctor reported there is a chance Nadeau has a serious injury. The team is preparing a backup car and supposedly Jason Keller will practice the car in Happy Hour.(FX's coverage of Happy Hour)

    AND Jerry Nadeau was cut from his #01 Pontiac after an accident in Friday's Winston Cup practice about 5:30pm/et. His condition was unknown as he was taken to the infield care center at Richmond International Raceway. Medical personnel placed a neck brace on the injured driver when he was removed from the car.(

    AND from the AP via the Sporting News: Jerry Nadeau was injured, possibly seriously, when he crashed in practice Friday at Richmond. Nadeau, 32, did not appear to be moving when he was removed from his car strapped to a body board. Nadeau was being fed oxygen through a bag when he was pulled from the car and placed in the ambulance. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Nadeau had been taken to the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals in Richmond with what doctors told them was "the potential for serious injuries," but "that's all we know right now." He did not know if Nadeau was conscious when taken from the car. Nadeau's Pontiac struck the outside wall on the three-quarter mile oval during the final practice session for Saturday night's Pontiac Excitement 400. The car skidded, spun halfway around and slammed driver's side first into the wall between the first and second turns. After several minutes, rescue crews cut part of the top off the car, climbed inside with him and removed Nadeau. He was taken by ambulance to the track's infield care center, then loaded airlifted from the track as Henrico County police and fire officials ordered onlookers away from the helipad. Earlier, Nadeau qualified 12th for the race.

    UPDATE 9:00pm/et an update during FX's coverage of the Busch Series race, reports that Nadeau is in critical condition and ungoing further tests.

    AND Just after 9:00pm/et, Hunter returned to the track's media center to say the driver was in critical condition and that was all he could say until Nadeau's wife, Jada, arrived at the hospital. Jada Nadeau had been attending her grandfather's funeral in Spartanburg, SC, on Friday and was not at the track when the wreck happened just after 5:00pm/et. Severe thunderstorms in the Carolinas were hampering her attempts to reach Richmond.(

    UPDATE 11:30pm/et NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Nadeau was in critical condition at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals. He said the hospital was prevented from saying more while awaiting the arrival of the driver's wife, Jada, who was traveling from South Carolina after attending her grandfather's funeral. NASCAR sent a plane to pick her up. Nadeau's wife arrived around 11 p.m. after enduring weather delays, and was en route to the hospital, Hunter said. He said no further information about Nadeau's condition would be available until Saturday morning, and a hospital spokeswoman referred all inquiries to NASCAR officials.(

    UPDATE 11:55pm/et: Nadeau, 32, was transported in a helicopter to the Medical College of Virginia hospital in downtown Richmond. Jim Hunter, a NASCAR spokesman, said Nadeau was in critical condition about four hours after the accident, but wouldn't provide any more details. A source close to the family said Nadeau sustained a concussion and broken ribs in the accident. The source said the doctors were going to induce a coma so that they could better treat Nadeau's injuries. Officials at the hospital refused to comment.(Mercury News/Daily Press)(5-2-2003)

    UPDATE 2:30pm/et: Jerry Nadeau remained in critical condition Saturday, one day after crashing hard into a wall during Winston Cup practice at Richmond. Specifics about the 32-year-old Nadeau's injuries were still not available. NASCAR was working with officials from the hospital, Nadeau's family and team hoping to provide an update on the driver's condition later Saturday, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said.(CNNSI/AP)(5-3-2003)

    UPDATE 3:10pm/et: Jerry Nadeau Medical Update: United States Army driver Jerry Nadeau remains in critical condition at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond. Nadeau, who crashed during Saturday afternoon's Winston Cup practice session at Richmond International Raceway, continues to be treated for head, lung and rib injuries. Fans, who have inquired on where to send get-well wishes to Jerry, the mailing address is:

    Jerry Nadeau Fan Club
    P.O. Box 3610
    Mooresville, NC  28117
    (US ARMY Racing PR)(5-3-2003)

    Jerry Nadeau Site

  • Keller in the #01 for Nadeau: Jason Keller will drive for the injured Jerry Nadeau in Saturday's Pontiac Excitement 400, a spokesperson for Keller said after Friday night's Hardee's 250 NASCAR Busch Series race. Keller practiced Nadeau's #01 U.S. Army Pontiac car in Happy Hour on Friday afternoon. Keller, who has competed in 298 Busch Series races, will be making his Winston Cup debut.(
    UPDATE: MB2 Motorsports announced that Busch Series driver Jason Keller will substitute for the injured Jerry Nadeau in tonight's Pontiac Excitement 400. It will be Keller's first Winston Cup start. He spent approximately 20 minutes in the U.S. Army backup car during Saturday's final practice session. "While our thoughts are with Jerry during his recovery, we also want to express our appreciation to Jason for filling in on a short notice," said Jay Frye, CEO/general manager of MB2/MBV Motorsports. "Jason has proved himself in the Busch Series and we know he can get the job done." Keller, 33, is in his 10th season as a Busch Series driver and is currently sixth in the Busch point standings. Last year, he finished second in the Busch season point standings and was third in 2001. Keller, his wife, Deborah, and two children - Joe (6) and Jade (4) reside in Greenville, SC.(US ARMY Racing PR), see Nadeau story and updates below....(5-3-2003)

  • SunTrust Bank to Partner with MB2 Motorsports SunTrust Bank, Mid-Atlantic has partnered with the MB2 Motorsports NASCAR Winston Cup team for the May 3 PontiacExcitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway. One of the nation's largest and strongest financial holding companies, SunTrust Bank will be featured as an associate sponsor on the #01 U.S. Army Pontiac driven by Jerry Nadeau for the action-packed night race at the 0.75-mile track.(MB2/MBV Motorsports PR)(4-24-2003)

  • Milestone for Rusty: Rusty Wallace will start 600th consecutive Winston Cup race at Richmond and run a special paint scheme (see my Paint Scheme Gallery), Ricky Rudd currently hold the all time racord at 690, Ken Schrader is 3rd at 569.(Stats Menu and Links page)(5-1-2003)

  • #600 for Hendrick: When the teams of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series take the green flag at Richmond on Saturday, it will mark the 600th race started in the storied 19-year history of Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick teams have brought home 110 wins in 599 Winston Cup events. The four Winston Cup teams of Hendrick Motorsports [#5, #24, #25, #48] will display a special "600th Start" decal at Richmond. The artwork will take the place of the HMS logo on the "B-post" of each car.(HMS PR)(5-1-2003)

  • Hermie Sadler gets a sponsor: At a press conference held on the State Capitol Grounds, NASCAR team owner and driver Hermie Sadler, in concert with the Honorable Mark R. Warner, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, announced today the formation of a racing partnership between Sadler Motorsports and four of Virginia’s universities. The two-year program, known as “GO Team VA”, has Virginia Tech, The University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and James Madison University teaming up to compete in a minimum of six NASCAR Winston Cup Series events in both 2003 and 2004. Each race will feature a different paint scheme, allowing all four schools their very own Winston Cup Car design. Certain races will simply feature a Go Team VA design. The first race for the GO Team VA program is March 23, 2003 at Bristol Motor Speedway, and will feature the colors of the Virginia Tech Hokies. Sadler commented on the program’s unique structure.. “Go Team VA is excitement! It brings together two of the most exciting categories of sport: Winston Cup Stock Car Racing and College Athletics in a state that is crazy about both.” Virginia plays host to six NASCAR Winston Cup Events, the largest number of Winston Cup events held in any one state. Governor Warner and the schools are equally excited about the program for various reasons; the exposure for the schools, the experience it will bring to the students, and of course the additional exposure for the state. Said Gov. Warner, “This great program has no monetary cost to the schools, which is all the more attractive during lean fiscal times. Also, students from the schools marketing and public relations colleges programs get a chance to learn more about the business of sports marketing at the NASCAR level.” Go Team VA also operates a website ( The site offers supporters the chance to join the Go Team VA Motorsports Club. Members can participate in a fantasy racing game and will be automatically entered into all of the special promotions that will be run at each university, as well as other special events. Prizes offered will include pit passes at races, a day of golf in Emporia with Hermie and Elliott Sadler, tickets to collegiate sporting events, standing on the sidelines at football games, WWE Wrestling tickets. and more.(Go Team VA PR), the #02 To Team VA plans to race at (per their site):
    March 23rd, Bristol, Virginia Tech;
    April 13th Martinsville, GoTeam VA
    May 3rd, Richmond, Go Team VA;
    August 23rd Bristol, Univ. Of Virgnia;
    September 6th Richmond, Virginia Tech;
    October 11th, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, James Madison;
    October 19th, Martinsville, Va. Commonwealth;.(3-19-2003)

  • See the 2003 Team Chart which has links to past news for each team and info on each team.


  • Special Schemes at Richmond: #31 Cingular Reverse, #5 Power of Cheese, #4 Kodak/Easyshare, #2 Miller Lite/600th Consecutive start, #10-Eagle One, #97 Brute/Comsumer Products. See images on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-1-2003)

  • BACE, Raines and the Special Olympics: Look for an extra man atop the box this weekend in the BACE Motorsports Winston Cup pit as Special Olympics athlete and ambassador, Paul Marretti serves as honorary crew chief for NASCAR Winston Cup driver Tony Raines. The #74 BACE Motorsports Chevy will carry the Special Olympics Virginia logo on its hood when Raines makes his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series start at Richmond. Marretti, a member of the Special Olympics Virginia Board of Directors as an athlete representative, is presently serving a two-year term as a Sargent Shriver Global Messenger. In this position, he has traveled to Canada, Peru and many US cities representing the interests of Special Olympics athletes. Marretti, 27, will tour Ireland in June as part of the Special Olympics World Games. He began as a basketball player and soon expanded to other sports, including bowling, tennis, soccer, skiing, softball, track, golf and swimming. Joining Marretti at RIR this weekend will be Special Olympics Virginia President, Rick Jeffrey.(Tony Raines site)(5-2-2003)

  • #97 Schemes: hearing that Kurt Busch will run a #97 Irwin Tools scheme at Daytona in July, Chicago, Talladega in Oct and Lowe's in Oct, and the Commercial Products scheme at the spring Richmond race, see my 2003 Cup Scheme page for the image.(2-5-2003)

  • Two special schemes for #5 in 2003: during an Fox Sports Net Totally NASCAR interview, it was mentioned that #5-Terry Labonte will run two special milk schemes in 2003.(11-15-2002)
    UPDATE: In addition to the advertising campaign and graphics on Labonte's 2003 Kellogg's / got milk? Chevrolet, the ADA will be prominently featured in two special car designs for races later this year at Richmond International Raceway in May and Chicagoland Speedway in July.(1-27-2003)

  • More Paint Scheme news can be found on Paint Schemes Gallery, choose current news


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