Richmond president: ‘Everything’s on the table’ to improve track’s attendance

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After Richmond International Raceway had many empty seats during Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400, track president Dennis Bickmeier said “everything’s on the table” in hopes of improving attendance of future races, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

That includes moving the late April race back to a night event.

The 0.75-mile track has 59,000 seats, according to International Speedway Corp.’s annual report, and those were about half-full Sunday afternoon, according to the newspaper, as Joey Logano won his first Cup race of the season.

Bickmeier told the Times-Dispatch there had been three years of growth in the track’s “Richmond Nation” season-ticket package.

“You see glimmers of hope, and you build on that,” Bickmeier said.

Richmond announced in early 2016 that it would remove bleachers on the backstretch, reducing its seating by about 9,000. The “Action Track” had a seating capacity of 109,000 seats in 2008, according to ISC’s annual report that year. It recorded 33 straight sellouts from 1992-2008.

The streak ended with the September 2008 race when Tropical Storm Hanna resulted in the race being postponed.

RIR is under consideration by International Speedway Corp. as one of its next tracks to be revamped.

In March 2016, ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy named it and Phoenix Raceway as tracks the company would pursue improvements at following the completion of the $400 million renovation of Daytona International Speedway.

“Those are great markets that we need to look at and also great racing experiences,” Kennedy said.

While nothing has been announced regarding Richmond, ISC approved a $178 million renovation of Phoenix last November. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2018.

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