By Joseph Wolkin
Richmond International Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier loves greeting fans who enter his ¾-mile facility. Indeed, he loves when the crowd roars when the green flag waves. For the man who runs the track, implementing new ideas is just a small step in achieving a greater goal.
According to a lot of fans, the racing was better at Richmond this year. What do you feel like was the biggest difference maker?
“I think it definitely has something to do with the package and the tires. I know everyone was really pleased with the tire Goodyear brought in April. We saw some four-wide racing here, which is pretty amazing at our little short track. It’s going to be a bit of a different experience this weekend because we’re back under the lights. I think everything the drivers have spoken about publicly or told me personally leading into the April race in regards to racing in the daytime, the rubber on the track and how the cars and tires would react really played out as I heard a lot of drivers talking about.”
How do you feel like a new title sponsor will work with all the different tracks next year?
“I think they’ll handle it equally as well as Sprint – well, Nextel – did when it came into the sport, or as we’ve seen with Nationwide and now XFINITY. I think it’s a great opportunity for a new sponsor when they come into the sport to bring in new ideas and innovation as well. A lot of it will go back to what are their strategic goals, like what do they want to get out of a partnership with NASCAR and racetracks to drive business? They have to make the determination as to what the interactions will be. From the racetrack side, this is that meeting point between the sport and the fans. This is where things happen.”