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.
The morning of the qualifying races is always one of the more anticipated days of Speedweeks. It is the first day of the year that our Richmond Raceway team gets up in Daytona Beach, Fla., with the knowledge that the day will end with racing at Daytona International Speedway. Along with race fans, we count down the minutes to hearing the roar of the engines throughout the day.
During Speedweeks, you can feel the energy as the buzz around the start of the NASCAR season builds. On Wednesday, I could feel that energy, along with our motorsports colleagues from other tracks, as part of our annual NASCAR promoters meeting. As we spent time exchanging ideas, it was an invaluable time of collaboration on how we collectively promote NASCAR in our race markets annually.
Wednesday is also Daytona 500 media day, when drivers gather to discuss the new season with local and national media. Like Super Bowl media day, Daytona 500 media day is quite the spectacle. Drivers pose with the Harley J. Earl Trophy, make appearances with media, touch the NASCAR Cup Series trophy, hold press conferences, join our broadcast partners at Fox Sports, NBC Sports, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and so much more.
As I looked around at media day, I could see some of the biggest names in NASCAR, such as Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin (Manchester High), Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson. Another generation of competitors in Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, William Byron, Erik Jones, Matt DiBenedetto, Bubba Wallace, Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Daniel Suarez and Cole Custer are seeking to break through to the upper echelon. I have no doubt that Busch, the defending Cup Series champion, and company are not looking to give up their place in at the top just yet.
One of the biggest storylines of 2020 is the final season for Johnson, a seven-time series champion. Johnson has won three times at Richmond, and in 2007 he won both races at RR, becoming one of only six drivers in track history to accomplish the feat. He also won at RR in 2008. As he bids farewell to NASCAR this season, we will celebrate with what is sure to be another historic moment at Richmond Raceway.
As the entire industry rallies together to welcome the dawning of a new season, Thursday we’ll get a preview with the Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona. On April 17-19, we’ll host the superstars of NASCAR at RR. Get your tickets at richmondraceway.com.