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The Top 6 NASCAR Moments at Richmond Raceway

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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With a couple of superspeedways, a handful of intermediates, and the first road course race of the year out of the way, NASCAR, their drivers, and their fans now set their sights on the first true short track race of the year (and no, Phoenix, with it being a mile long, doesn’t count).

All of the short tracks in NASCAR are pretty unique and Richmond is no different. It’s a short track by definition but it races a lot like an intermediate. We at the Daily Downforce thought it’d be appropriate to take a gander at some of the best moments to come out of the Richmond track.

#6 Kasey Kahne Nabs His First Win (May 14th, 2005)

Before Chase Elliott finished second 8 times before capturing that illusive first win and long after his father did the same, there was another driver of an iconic #9 car who just couldn’t seem to get the job done. Kasey Kahne finished second 6 times before finally putting a whole race together and parking the red Dodge sponsored #9 in victory lane.

While his 2005 season is more than likely regarded as his sophomore slump, amidst the inconsistency, Kasey Kahne was able to capture his first of his 18 career NASCAR Cup Series wins.

#5 From IRL Champion to NASCAR winner (September 11th, 1999)

Kasey Kahne wasn’t the only driver to nab his first career victory at the Virginia short track. 1997 IRL Champion, Tony Stewart, did the same six years earlier in dominating fashion. What would follow would be a very rewarding career with three NASCAR Cup Series titles as a driver and one more as a car owner for Kevin Harvick.

But before all that success was made possible, there had to be a first and in the fall race of 1999, Tony Stewart made a statement that he was coming to NASCAR to light the world on fire.

#4 The Infamous “Spingate” (September 7th, 2013)

Richmond Raceway is filled with great memories for many drivers. As listed above, it is the sight of Kasey Kahne’s and Tony Stewart’s first wins. But what we didn’t know on September 7th, 2013 was that this Richmond race was the beginning of the end of Michael Waltrip Racing.

In 2012, Clint Bowyer had his career best and only championship contending season of his career, coming up just shy of the title to Brad Keselowski. While 2013 saw a slight falloff in performance, Clint Bowyer was well within the Chase grid heading into Chicagoland. This would mean that, in the eyes of MWR executive, Ty Norris, he could afford to sacrifice a little more.

Norris orchestrated a plan to have Brian Vickers in the No. 55 Aarons Dream Machine pit and Clint Boyer intentionally spin out to give teammate, driver of the No. 56 Napa Toyota, Martin Truex Jr. a fighting chance in making the 2013 12-driver Chase. And it worked! Until it didn’t.

Norris made the mistake of being very transparent of his plan over the open communications of team radio which resulted in a hefty fine and points penalty. Truex was kicked out of the Chase and the controversy would lead to long-time MWR sponsor, Napa to leave the team…which would in-turn cause Truex to leave for Furniture Row Racing where, as we all know now, he won the 2017 Cup.

Jeff Gordon was added to make the Chase field for 2013 a 13-driver one for some reason and while Clint Bowyer would limp out of 2013 with a 7th place points finish, MWR would never be the same and would ultimately cease operations with the conclusion of the 2015 NASCAR season.

#3 The Dale Jr. vs. Kyle Busch Saga Escalates (May 3rd, 2008)

A Richmond race that will go down in infamy for all of Junior Nation is the spring race of 2008. In 2007, one of the main storylines threaded throughout the season was NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. leaving the family-owned DEI for the juggernaut that was Hendrick Motorsports.

When the announcement took place, HMS was having one of their best seasons with Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon seemingly winning everything. KFB was no slouch that year, either. After playing the part of “relief driver” for Busch at the spring Texas race and the two got collected in another incident later in the year at Kansas, it’s safe to say there was no love lost between the two budding rivals.

In 2008 with Dale Jr. essentially replacing KFB at HMS, situations would come to a boil at the spring Richmond race.

Honorable Mention: Dale Jr. Pays Back KFB in the Fall Richmond Race

Though he wouldn’t go on to win, Dale Earnhardt Jr. did get a little bit of revenge at the second Richmond race of 2008…

#2 Dale Jr. Solidifies Himself As A Contender (May 6th, 2000)

Speaking of Dale Jr., he would get his second ever Cup win his rookie year at Richmond, only a month removed from the first at Texas. It was one of the first times Jr. seemed to be the class of the field.

#1 The Intimidator vs. Jaws (February 23rd, 1986)

From one Earnhardt to another, in the spring (or winter?) race at Richmond, the rivalry between Earnhardt and an ill-tempered DW reached its melting point. This was before the D-shaped configuration we have now and its easily the most iconic moment of the OG configuration.

That’s our top-6 (or 7?) moments from the northern Virginia racetrack. What are some of yours? Let us know!

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Picture of Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
All Posts