Top 5 memorable moments from Richmond Raceway

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NASCAR would have visited Virginia this weekend for a trip to the “Action Track,” Richmond Raceway.

As we’ve done with Miami, Texas, Bristol and former NASCAR tracks, we’re taking a look at the most memorable moments from Richmond.

There were a lot to choose from and getting it down to just five was no easy task. Here’s what we came up with.

 1. “Where’s Kyle Petty!?” (1986)

In 1986, Kyle Petty was in his sixth year of full-time Cup competition and driving for Wood Brothers Racing when the series rolled into Richmond for its second race of the season. At the time, Petty was winless on the Cup circuit.

The late stages of the race were contested between Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip, with Petty running in fifth.

With four laps to go, Waltrip got underneath Earnhardt exiting Turn 2 and was about clear him as they reached Turn 3 when Earnhardt clipped his right rear and sent him into the wall.

The resulting chaos collected Waltrip, Earnhardt and four other cars.

“Whose going to win the race? Where’s Kyle Petty?!” Benny Parson bellowed on the TBS broadcast.

Petty eventually cruised by the accident scene to take the lead and his first Cup Series victory.

 2. Kyle Busch vs Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2008)

If you want to make a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan upset, just mention the spring 2008 Cup race at Richmond.

Earnhardt entered the race winless since the 2006 edition of the same event and a long simmering feud with Kyle Busch finally reached its boiling point.

Denny Hamlin dominated the race, leading 381 laps. But Earnhardt took the lead on Lap 383 with a three-wide pass around Hamlin and Busch as Hamlin began having a tire go down.

Nine laps later, Hamlin stopped on the track and brought out the caution, setting up a restart with five laps to go with Earnhardt first and Busch second.

With three laps to go, Busch went to Earnhardt’s inside as they entered Turn 3, made contact with his left rear and sent Earnhardt into a spin.

Clint Bowyer took the lead in the commotion and would go on to win in overtime. Busch would need a police escort to leave the track.

Ten years later, Earnhardt and Busch discussed the events of that night on the Dale Jr. Download.

 3. Gordon, Wallace and The Red Menace (1998)

1998 was a really good year for Jeff Gordon.

If you don’t recall, the four-time Cup champion won a modern era record 13 races that year on his way to title No. 3.

But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Gordon that year. In the June race at Richmond, Gordon was the recipient of a little payback from Rusty Wallace. A year earlier at Bristol, Gordon had knocked Wallace out of the way on the last lap to win.

Now, with 29 laps to go at the “Action Track,” Wallace and Gordon battled for the lead. As they entered Turn 1, Gordon had the advantage.

As the field exited Turn 2, Gordon was in the wall as many the crowd cheered with approval.

That wasn’t the last notable event of the night.

With seven laps to go and Dale Jarrett leading, NASCAR flew the red flag to clean the track after a four-car wreck.

Up to that point, NASCAR typically did not stop races after late wrecks to ensure that races ended under green. NASCAR officials swore it wasn’t a sign of things to come, but eventually it would become the norm.

 4. Spingate (2013)

A lot happened in the fall 2013 race at Richmond that would have lasting ripple effects.

Michael Waltrip Racing was at the center of “Spingate,” which got its name from the alleged intentional spin conducted by Clint Bowyer in the closing laps of the race, part of a plan to get Bowyer’s teammate, Martin Truex Jr., into the playoffs.

The plan, while initially successful, backfired.

MWR was fined $300,000 by NASCAR, the largest fine in the sport’s history. Bowyer and Truex’s teams were docked 50 points each. Truex lost his playoff eligibility and was replaced by Ryan Newman.

It didn’t end there. Alleged coordination between Team Penske and Front Row Motorsports resulted in Jeff Gordon being added as a 13th driver to the playoff field the following weekend.

 5. Jeremy Mayfield wins to get into playoffs (2004)

NASCAR’s “Chase” playoff era started with a bang.

Jeremy Mayfield entered the regular season finale in 14th, needing 55 points or a second-place finish to make the 10-driver field.

Instead, Mayfield threw all the scenarios out the window by simply winning the darn thing.

Mayfield led 151 laps, including the final eight after Kurt Busch ran out of gas, and beat Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon to clinch a spot in the playoff field. Mayfield also ended a winless streak stretching back to 2000.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.



Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway


After the fireworks from the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR heads to World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile speedway just outside of St. Louis. Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1) marks the second time the Cup Series has raced at this track.

Much is at stake. The race to win the regular season championship has intensified. Tempers are high. The pressure to make the playoffs builds. Ten drivers have wins this season. Twelve races remain in the regular season.


Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 11th
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond, Martinsville)
  • Past at WWTR: 12th last year

While a driver coming off back-to-back finishes of 20th or worse might not seem like a frontrunner, it actually does make Larson one. His topsy-turvy season has seen him place outside the top 10 in back-to-back races four times. In the three previous times he had consecutive finishes outside the top 10, he came back to finish second, first and second. Can he keep that streak going this weekend?

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Coca-Cola 600)
  • Past at WWTR: 26th last year

Wallace has scored three consecutive top-five finishes, his best streak in his Cup career. He has climbed from 21st to 15th in the standings during this run.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I, Darlington I)
  • Past at WWTR: 19th last year

Byron has finished no worse than seventh in the last five races. He’s led nearly 20% of the laps run during that time. Byron has averaged nearly 47 points a race during that streak.


Corey LaJoie

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta I)
  • Past at WWTR: 36th last season

NASCAR’s one-race suspension to Chase Elliott gives LaJoie the chance to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car for the first time. This will be the best car LaJoie has driven in his career. Many eyes will be on him to see how he does.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has finished 29th and 22nd in the last two points races. He’s not gone more than three races without a top-10 finish this season. After his struggles last weekend at Charlotte, Chastain saw his lead cut to one point over Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney in the standings. Five drivers are within 17 points of Chastain in the season standings.

Aric Almirola

  • Points position: 26th
  • Best finish this season: 6th (Martinsville I)
  • Past at WWTR: 5th last year

Almirola has finished 13th or worse in all but one race this season for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the five races since placing sixth at Martinsville, Almirola has finished an average of 21.0.

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin


NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Hamlin forced Elliott toward the wall. Elliott’s car slapped the wall. Elliott then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”