RIR celebrating 60th season of racing

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Six decades of NASCAR memories, and many more to come. That's the theme at Richmond International Raceway this year, as 2012 marks 60 years of NASCAR at RIR. The venue has hosted the third-most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races ever (111), making it one of the most historic landmarks in motorsports.

To commemorate the milestone, Richmond International Raceway unveils a special "60 Years of NASCAR" logo to be used throughout 2012. The logo will be incorporated into marketing materials, as well as merchandise that will soon be available for purchase.

The first NASCAR race at what was then known as Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, took place on April 19, 1953. Lee Petty, the patriarch of the famous Petty family, won the race and took home $1,000 with an average speed of 45.535 mph on the ½-mile dirt track.

Fast forward to 2012 and the track is a bit different, measuring at ¾-mile of asphalt. When the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Richmond International Raceway on April 28, 2012, the 60th year of NASCAR at Richmond International Raceway begins.

Richard Petty, Lee's son, holds virtually every major NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career record at Richmond International Raceway, including most wins (13), most poles (8 [shares record with Bobby Allison]), most top-five finishes (34), most top-10s (41), most starts (63), most consecutive starts (46), most races led (34), most laps led (5,136).

Tickets for the Saturday, April 28, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 400 race at Richmond International Raceway go on sale this Friday, January 13, at 9:00 a.m. ET and can be purchased by calling 866-455-7223. The weekend begins Thursday, April 26, with a doubleheader featuring the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown Late Model race, preceded by the Blue Ox 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race. On Friday, April 27, catch the NASCAR Nationwide Series 250 race.