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Buddy Rice helps promote Richmond race
IndyCar Series driver Buddy Rice, the winner of the 2004 Indianapolis 500, visited downtown Richmond yesterday in advance of the upcoming SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series race at Richmond International Raceway. Rice participated in media day activities and signed autographs for fans at the downtown SunTrust building, helping promote the June 28 SunTrust Indy Challenge race at America's Premier Short Track.

"I do truly enjoy coming [to Richmond International Raceway]," said Rice, who is in his second season driving for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. "I like the track. I like the uniqueness of it. It's a high-banked, short oval track and [the race] is under the lights."

Rice will return to Richmond International Raceway June 27-28 for the SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series weekend, featuring three races in two nights. Rice will be joined by 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon, Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Graham Rahal, and the rest of the IndyCar Series stars.

The 2008 IndyCar Series event at Richmond International Raceway is the first at the ¾-mile track since the historic unification earlier this year of the IndyCar Series and the Champ Car Series--the two premier open-wheel sanctioning bodies in North America. The unification means even more drivers, cars and excitement in America's top open-wheel series all on the same track at the same time.

"I think [the unification] is big for everybody," agreed Rice. "It's big for the league, and it's great to get all the top drivers back together in the United States. I think it's great for the fans. It's great for the sponsors. It's something that needed to be done. The racing will be really close, and I think there will be a little more contact."

Tickets are on sale now for the SunTrust Indy Challenge weekend at Richmond International Raceway. The SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series race is scheduled to run "under the lights" on Saturday, June 28. Saturday's ticket also includes a seat for the James River Grounds 100 USAC Silver Crown Series race. Tickets for Saturday are $35 (reserved) and $30 (general admission). The weekend begins Friday, June 27, with NBC12 Day, featuring practice and pole qualifying for the SunTrust Indy Challenge, USAC Silver Crown Series and USAC National Sprint Car Series, followed by the USAC National Sprint Car Series race. Friday's ticket also includes an autograph session with all of the IndyCar Series drivers. Friday's tickets are $15. Children 12 and under are admitted free in general admission sections both nights. Tickets are available by calling 866-455-7223 or visiting www.rir.com.

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