NASCAR has had a lot of great drivers in its history, and Richmond Raceway has always provided nonstop action, thanks to its unique short-style track. Nicknamed “The Action Track” Richmond sold out 33 consecutive races before its streak ended in 2008 due to a combination of the Great Recession and the impact of Tropical Storm Hanna.
What is Richmond International Raceway known for?
Richmond International Raceway is known as the premier short track on the NASCAR circuit. Since 1959, NASCAR has held at least two races per season at the track. Richmond provides nonstop action with its short-style track and consistently makes for must-watch TV viewing.
NASCAR Richmond International Raceway HistoryBefore Richmond Raceway made its inaugural NASCAR debut in 1953, it played host to several horse races as well as some IndyCar races. When the track transitioned to NASCAR in 1953, Lee Petty became the first driver to win a Richmond race. NASCAR fans now gather at Richmond twice a year to watch the circuit’s best drivers go bumper-to-bumper on America’s most famous short track.

Did you know? Denny Hamlin is the only current Virginia product routinely found among the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Here are the Top 10 all-time NASCAR drivers from Virginia.
Ranking the Top 10 Greatest NASCAR Moments from Richmond Raceway

10. Lee Petty Wins the First Race at the Fairgrounds In 1953, NASCAR staged its first race at Richmond Raceway, then known as Strawberry Hill section of the Virginia State Fairgrounds. Lee Petty dominated the entire race and would become the first driver to win at Richmond.
9. Ricky Rudd Secures the Hometown Victory In 1984, just a week after flipping his car in qualifying for the Daytona 500, Ricky Rudd returned to his hometown to race at Richmond Raceway. At Daytona, Rudd had to tape his eyes open because they were so swollen prior to the race. It was a different story with a happier ending in Richmond. In a race featuring 11 lead changes, Rudd was able to lead the final 20 laps for a win that thrilled the local fans.
8. The Rookie Shines The race started with 13 lead changes, but NASCAR rookie Tony Stewart managed to dominate the rest of the Sept. 11, 1999, Richmond event -- leading 333 out of the 400 laps. It was just the beginning of what would become a Hall of Fame career for Stewart.
7. A Brewing RivalryThe rivalry between drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch was one of the best in NASCAR during its heyday. It only grew bigger during the May 3, 2008, race at Richmond, when Earnhardt Jr. and Busch made late contact when battling for the lead. Clint Bowyer would go on to win the race, but the Richmond incident would sit with both Earnhardt Jr. and Busch for a long time.
6. Shake and Bake? Teammates Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch were battling on the last lap of the April 24, 2016, race at Richmond Raceway when -- on the final turn -- Edwards bumped Busch’s car to knock his trajectory off just enough to pass him and steal the win.
5. Denny Hamlin Dominates Fall at Richmond Denny Hamlin, a Virginia native, put on a show for local fans during both the fall of 2009 and the fall of 2010 at Richmond Raceway. His 251 lead laps in the fall of 2010 helped him go on to win for a second straight year at Richmond. Hamlin led the last 69 laps in securing back-to-back victories at his home state track.

4. A Moment of Silence In 2021, on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the NASCAR community came together at Richmond to remember the victims and heroes of that tragic day. Martin Truex Jr., who led 80 laps during the race, would go on to lead the final 59 laps and secure an emotional win that advanced him to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

3. Bobby Allison Ends the Streak One could make an argument that Richmond Raceway should be renamed Richard Petty Raceway based on how Petty performed there. It was nearly impossible to beat Petty in Richmond, and during the early 1970s it seemed entirely impossible. Petty was riding a streak of seven consecutive Richmond wins heading into the Feb. 24, 1974, race there. In an epic drivers’ duel, Bobby Allison, who battled with Petty for the entire race, stole the show and ended Petty’s streak. Allison led the final 92 laps to secure his second career victory at Richmond.
2. Richard Petty Wins Seventh Straight Richmond Race Richard Petty absolutely dominated Richmond Raceway throughout his career -- winning at the track 13 times. During his era of dominance in the early 1970s, Petty put together a seven-race victory streak at Richmond. That streak reached its peak on Sept. 9, 1973, when Petty led 429 laps to make it seven straight in dominant fashion.
1. The Record Holder Nicknamed “The King,” NASCAR’s Richard Petty showed why he was also the ruler of Richmond Raceway with his performance in the Richmond 500 on Feb. 23, 1975. Petty led 444 out of the 500 laps, including the final 287, to secure his 13th win at Richmond -- a record that no driver has even come close to breaking.

Related: Richard Petty has the most wins at Richmond with 13 wins including a stretch of 9 out of 10 wins during the early 1970’s. Find out who are the 10 best NASCAR drivers at Richmond

Parameters of Rankings It was difficult to rank these top 10 moments in order, since all of the above races -- as well has some not featured here – seemed equally deserving of mention. Ultimately, the goal was to include a variety of scenarios related to events both on and off the track with an emphasis on each moment’s historic importance.

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