Richmond International Raceway is planning its biggest and brightest summer to date -- literally. Track officials recently announced that the speedway will move its racing slate from day to night as it brings in temporary lighting to illuminate the NASCAR Twins doubleheader in August and a Winston Cup weekend in September.
"We did it primarily for the heat situation and to give us a Sunday rain date to fall back on," said track spokesperson Dave Fulton, noting the change in the Winston Cup race from Sunday afternoon to Saturday night. "It's in the interest of both the fans and the competitors."
The Winston All Pro Series and Modified Tour will be featured in two 200-lap races Aug. 3 at 7:30 p.m. The Winston Cup Series continues at Richmond, Sept. 6-7, with a Busch Grand National race Friday and the Miller Genuine Draft 400 Saturday. Both races begin at 8:05 p.m. with qualifying and practice leading up to the green flag.
At a cost of $150,000 for the two events, MUSCO Lighting of Oskaloosa, Iowa, has been commissioned to throw some light on the situation.
"They tell us this will be the biggest assemblage of temporary lights ever on the face of the earth," said track public relations director Kenneth Campbell.
But it's not the first time the Iowa company has brightened a race track. MUSCO provided the lighting for Tom Cruise's film, "Days of Thunder." It also furnished lighting for the cornfield-turned-baseball diamond in the film "Field of Dreams" and has illuminated three Super Bowls.
Bristol, Tenn., which has been presenting night racing since 1978, is the only other track on the Winston Cup schedule that presents a night event.
"It's been very exciting and gratifying to see as far as fan reaction and ticket sales," said Fulton. Ninety-percent of the 57,000 reserved seats have been sold for the Winston Cup event.
Defending Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, winner of three night races at Bristol, will be looking for his third straight Richmond win. Earnhardt, who leads the championship points standings, captured last September's Miller Genuine Draft 400 then nipped Ricky Rudd to win Richmond's February event. Eligibility Changes
Eligibility requirements for The Winston, NASCAR's all-star event recently won by Davey Allison, have been changed for the 1992 running at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
In addition to drivers who have captured a Winston Cup event within the past year, future fields will include drivers who have won The Winston within five years. Winston Cup champions also will qualify automatically, as long as they are regular participants of the Winston Cup Series. . . .
Rudd, second in the Winston Cup standings, has been named Honorary Sight Saving Chairman of the Virginia affiliate of the National Society to Prevent Blindness. The Chesapeake, Va., native will serve as the Society's spokesperson, stressing eye health and safety. Johnson Dominates
Eddie Johnson continues to dominate the Winston Racing Series late model division at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas.
Johnson, who finished sixth in the track's point standings a year ago, posted his fourth consecutive win in the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation's "Race for a Cure" 100-lap feature on June 1. Johnson's only non-win of the year was a second-place finish to Charlie Ford on the season's opening night. . . .
On the same night as Johnson's fourth victory, Doug Tuck, a juvenile diabetic, won the 25-lap MotorWorld Grand Stock event for his first win of the season. . . .
Old Dominion will host Armed Forces Night, with all active military personnel admitted free of charge on July 6. The feature event will be a grand stock 100-lap race. In addition, late models will take the green for a 50-lap event with the mini-stocks and hobby stocks running 20- and 15-lap events, respectively. Gates will open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7:30. . . .
Hagerstown Speedway will hold its own tribute to the soldiers of Desert Storm on July 3. All persons with a military ID will be admitted free.