Richmond International Raceway will henceforth be known as Richmond Raceway, though the name is far from the only thing the track is changing.
Richmond president Dennis Bickmeier and International Speedway Corp. CEO Lesa France Kennedy announced Tuesday that the facility will be renovated over the next 15 months, The Associated Press reports. The total value of the upgrades will be roughly $30 million, all of which will be aimed at improving fan engagement.
ISC’s decision to bring Richmond up-to-date follows its completion of renovations at Daytona International Speedway and a development project at Phoenix International Raceway that’s expected to be completed this year.
“(Richmond Raceway) has a very special personality, and it needs to continue,” Kennedy said, via The AP. “I think it’s really important that we continue to upgrade all of our facilities.”
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe reportedly pledged $150,000 to the overhaul on behalf of Virginia Tourism.
“I don’t think people realize what kind of an asset this is for the state of Virginia,” McAuliffe said.
The raceway reportedly generates $87 million in state and local taxes, and has a $497-million economic impact in the surrounding Henrico County.
The upgrades to the track will include an 80-person club with a rooftop patio near an updated victory lane, two suites and a covered garage in the infield. There will be a fenced-in area near the garage where fans will be allowed to watch teams work on their cars.
What’s more, drivers now will have to walk through fan areas to get to pre-race introductions.
“We’re going to be able to immerse people in the sport in a way that’s not happened here before,” Bickmeier said.
Construction will begin after Richmond’s fall NASCAR race and will continue through 2018, though the track expects the project to be done in time for next year’s playoffs.
Thumbnail photo via Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports Images
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