Editor's note: Dennis Bickmeier is a guest columnist. The views expressed below are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of NBC12.
The adrenaline was definitely pumping at Richmond International Raceway on Wednesday. Some of the biggest stars of NASCAR were at The Action Track to test and fine tune their racing machines for the upcoming TOYOTA OWNERS 400 weekend April 24-25.
While a test like this is beneficial for the teams in preparation for the big weekend, it was also a great opportunity for the fans, both avid and casual, to get "geared up." The test was open to the public, and if there are cars on the track, the fans want to see them. If the fans are here, I want to see them.
I met a family of four who drove down from Maryland. They had just learned about the test the night before, and the next morning they were on the road to Richmond. A husband and wife from Detroit drove four hours from North Carolina where they were visiting their son to watch the test.
A mom and her three kids, all Jeff Gordon fans, made the drive over from southside to create their own mini Jeff Gordon cheering section. The kids were very excited when they saw Jeff walk to his race car from across the way and waved to his car when he zoomed around the track. Another family from just beyond Charlottesville made the drive as a great way to spend a spring break day.
Several local fans turned out as well, including one gentleman who has been coming to RIR since 1969 and another who doesn't live far from the track but camps at every race. He invited me over to visit his little camping village on race weekend, and I can't wait to do it!
The intrigue of the cars screaming around the track also caught the attention of some crews working on a road in the area so much that a few of them came over after a hard day on the job. None of them have ever been to a NASCAR race, but after 30 minutes or so of standing just a few feet away from the track, they were hooked. We'll see them back in a few weeks.
Seeing the reaction of those in attendance today, to watch a test, has me pumped for what is ahead when all of NASCAR returns for what continues to be one of the most anticipated stops on the 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule right here at RIR!