RIR to remove entire backstretch of seats

Published: Jan. 5, 2016 at 9:32 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2016 at 4:34 AM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond International Raceway will remove its entire backstretch of stands prior to the April race weekend. The project will decrease seating capacity to approximately 60,000. Capacity was about 75,000 after the last project a little more than two years ago, and was at 69,000 in 2015 after the venue slowly widened seats.

"It grew really fast, really big, but now the TV's have gotten bigger," said Arena Racing founder and CEO, Ricky Dennis.

NASCAR has a huge following in Virginia, so much so, Ricky Dennis even created the first ever Arena Racing at the Coliseum. However, he says a lot of fans are choosing to watch it from the comfort of their own homes. "The competition to get them out to the race track has gotten a little tougher," said Dennis.

RIR officials haven't confirmed yet what they'll be doing with that space but promise it will improve the fan experience. This is phase two of the track's plan. In October of 2013, the venue removed its Henrico Tower, a portion of backstretch seating.

"It's going to be a lot better than just people looking and seeing empty seats and wondering what's going on here," said Dennis.

RIR is also changing prices for seats on Turn 2, in order to to accommodate racing fans who purchased the backstretch seat tickets. Those Turn 2 seats will now cost $35, the cost of the seats the venue will be removing.

The changes will be in place late February or early March. Track personnel is still determining what will replace the space vacated by the removed stands.

The first NASCAR weekend at the Action Track will be Saturday and Sunday, April 23-24.

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