Richmond saw racing and a lot more. Toyota, with track and race sponsorships (ToyotaCare 250 / Toyota Owners 400), owned Xfinity race day with a pole and a 100th series win from Toyota driver Denny Hamlin. Sunday, the day started with Joey Logano’s Ford and ended with Kurt Busch’s Chevy.
We also saw tributes on the Pace Car, during driver introductions and reminders through the weekend and the race on the loss of NASCAR sports broadcaster Steve Byrnes. His insights and character enhanced the sport, the fans and everyone in the garage and the shops.
We met the new Miss Coors Light at the Pole Winner presentations. Rachel Rupert has been in the Coors Light suit since 2010 and at Richmond we met former Miss Kentucky (2012) Amanda Mertz. She is outgoing, smiley and pretty and likes the sport. Good luck Rachel – We’ll miss you. Hello Amanda – Welcome.
There was an extra day thanks to April showers. The schedule for Saturday was essentially down the drain. Fans, however, still made the best of it. They listened to the band at the Miller Lite Party Tent, they shopped for their favorite driver merch and they toured the infield and braved the weather the same as teams did going through the pre-race inspections.
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I’m guessing… But it is quite possible the local economy was boosted a bit with liquid sales on Saturday just a bit beyond normal…
All in all, rain and all, the welcome of the new and the farewell of the familiar, Richmond brought the races and the memories that the sport thrives on.