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The Best Races at Richmond Raceway

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Joshua Lipowski

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NASCAR heads to one of its' most historic race tracks this weekend in Richmond Raceway. Since 1953, the track has changed from a rustic, half-mile, bullring to a 0.75 mile d-shaped oval that tests driver skill and tempers alike. What are the five best races to happen at Richmond Raceway?

NASCAR heads to one of its’ most historic race tracks this weekend in Richmond Raceway. Since 1953, the track has changed from a rustic, half-mile, bullring to a 0.75 mile d-shaped oval that tests driver skill and tempers alike. What are the five best races to happen at Richmond Raceway?

5. 1992 Pontiac Excitement 400 (Bill Elliott Beats Alan Kulwicki)

The third race of the 1992 NASCAR Cup Series season gave a sneak preview for the end of the season. Bill Elliott was riding high in just his third race for legendary car owner, Junior Johnson. Elliott had won the second race of the season at Rockingham, leading 260 laps, and he seemingly picked up right where he left off at Richmond.

Elliott dominated, leading 348 laps, but Alan Kulwicki was hot on Elliott’s heals. For the final four laps, the two were side-by-side for almost the entire time. In the end, it was Elliott who took home the win after beating Kulwicki in a photo finish.

4. 1998 Pontiac Excitement 400 (Rusty Wallace Spins Jeff Gordon)

Heading into Richmond in June of 1998, Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace were both near the top of the NASCAR Cup Series points standings. The two would come together in the closing laps of the Pontiac Excitement 400. After leading the first two laps from the pole, Jeff Gordon could not find his way back to the lead again until there were 29 laps to go.

Rusty Wallace then turned Gordon in turn two, with thunderous applause from the Richmond crowd. A wreckfest of a race ensued in the final laps, but Terry Labonte, Gordon’s teammate, would make the final pass for the win over Dale Jarrett with only three laps remaining. From there, Gordon would finish the 1998 season on a tear with 10 wins in 20 races and no finish worse than seventh.

3. 2014 Toyota Owners 400 (Four-Way Battle for the Win)

There’s just something about short track Saturday night, isn’t there? That came to fruition once again in the closing laps of the 2014 Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond, as, in the final nine laps, four guys were battling for the win. Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Jeff Gordon all were in a cluster in the closing laps.

As Keselowski and Kenseth kept banging each other, Logano worked his way around everyone to take the lead over Gordon. Kyle Busch, who had been a non-factor all night, somehow found his way in third. Keselowski and Kenseth were relegated to fourth and fifth respectively.

Following the race, Kenseth and Keselowski got into a heated discussion with Keselowski, who referred to Kenseth’s move as “mind-boggling.” In the infield, Marcos Ambrose punched Casey Mears in the face for an incident further down the field.

2. 2008 Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400 (Dale Earnhardt Jr. vs Kyle Busch)

The 2008 spring race at Richmond was looking to be the Denny Hamlin show, as he led 381 of the first 382 laps. However, a flat tire would hand the lead to Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the closing laps over Kyle Busch. Earnhardt Jr. was looking for his first win with Hendrick Motorsports, and Busch was looking for his third win in seven races.

Busch found his way under Earnhardt Jr. with three laps to go, but the two got together. Earnhardt Jr. ended up in the wall while Clint Bowyer ducked low to take the win. The two have seemingly buried the hatchet now, and they have joked about it on multiple occasions.

1. 1986 Miller High Life 400 (Dale Earnhardt vs Darrell Waltrip)

A classic NASCAR short-track slugfest came down to two legends in Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip. With only four laps to go, Waltrip passed Earnhardt for the lead. Earnhardt wanted none of it as he right hooked Waltrip into the wall, taking both out.

Kyle Petty, who was well-behind the top-two, moseyed around the wreckage to take the lead and the win. It was Petty’s first career Cup Series win, and it was the first win for the Wood Brothers since the 1983 Firecracker 400 at Daytona with Buddy Baker.

Could this race this weekend add to this list of great Richmond races? We will have to wait and see this weekend.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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