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Pole-sitter Brad Keselowski led the field to the green flag to start the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway in 2019.

POSTCARD

FROM DAYTONA

Richmond Raceway president Dennis Bickmeier is attending Speedweeks in Daytona Beach, Fla. He is sending a daily postcard to bring readers of the Richmond Times-Dispatch behind the scenes.

With our first night of racing with the Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona complete, we still have three more days of racing at Daytona International Speedway with the Cup, Xfinity and Truck races. I look forward to watching Friday night’s Gander Trucks race closely as the series will be returning to Richmond Raceway for the first time since 2005 for the ToyotaCare 250 on April 18.

It has been enjoyable watching the crowd build as the campgrounds fill and fans start to crowd International Speedway Boulevard as they make their way into Daytona International Speedway, the world’s first motorsports stadium. While looking at this facility, my mind wonders back to images I saw of the early racers on the sands of Daytona Beach, Fla., and I think of the role that Richmond has played — and continues to play — in the growth of NASCAR. We should be proud of our nearly 75 years of motorsports heritage in RVA.

Our partners at Toyota held a press conference at Daytona announcing the launch of the next phase of the GR Supra. For 2021, the six-cylinder GR Supra 2.0 models will jump ahead with a power boost and retuned chassis, along with a new GR Supra 2.0 four-cylinder turbo model. After the event I was able to congratulate Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales, and Ed Laukes, group vice president — Toyota division marketing, each of Toyota North America. As long-time partners of Richmond Raceway and NASCAR, it was a momentous day I was happy to be a part of.

Two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch and Supra drivers Harrison Burton, Riley Herbst and Brandon Jones were at the event. I spent some time with Busch, chatting about the announcement and the upcoming Cup season. He congratulated me for our Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco program and said he could not believe we were able to sign the 2019 NASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series champion Zack Novak. When the champion of the premier series in motorsports comments on our iRacing team, I know we are making an impact in esports.

In the timing-is-everything category, I was able to see one of the Budweiser Clydesdales being walked near our offices at the International Motorsports Center. You know it’s a big deal when the Clydesdales roll into town; to see that kind of horsepower up close is spectacular. I look forward to the horsepower returning to Richmond Raceway on April 17-19. Get your tickets at richmondraceway.com.

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