Story By: Richard Thomas
Photos By: Hal Jalikakik
I must admit over the past 20 years of coming to Richmond, plenty has changed. This year I wanted to experience what the fans see around the track, so I hit the stands instead of my Hot Pass around my neck. Well I did get a Hot Pass with my ticket… so about the same as covering the race only a different side of things.
As the sunset on Saturday night and they had completed the flyover, we didn’t really know what the checkered flag was going to look like, but there were quite a few people that had those Truex shirts on in the stands. While some may say this dude can be hated on now because he drives for JGR Racing, which now has become the RCR of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, but damn, his is super nice guy and may be one of the best on the track.
Not only did Truex hit the finish line and take that checkered flag, he now has two wins that sets him right where he needs to be to possibly take another championship with his new team.
Walking around the infield has become a lot more fun with interactive games, music and a more hands on approach to racing than it was up until about 3 years ago. What I did notice is there were still quite a few empty seats around the track. This was a place where it often took as much as 2 hours to get back on 95 after the race ended, this time a hour after victory lane, we scooted right out the back. My how things have changed around here.
For JGR racing it was about as impressive as you can get. Didn’t see too many fans around for Friday night’s Xfinity Series race, but we did get a chance to see Christopher Bell advance in the No. 20 JGR racing car in what turned out to be a dominating race for the team. One day prior he was one of the featured cars that took place in the kickoff on Browns Island and a parade around Downtown Richmond. Bell seemed super pumped about racing later the next day.
“I am glad to be here as part of the championship,” said Bell. “I just want fans to see what I can do out here on a short track tomorrow and keep this momentum going all the way to the end.”