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DATE News (chronologically)
10/07/13
track news
Another NASCAR track to remove seats to save face  Richmond International Raceway president Dennis Bickmeier said on Friday that RIR will remove the Henrico Tower and there will be additional seating along the backstretch. He estimated that the track's capacity will drop about 10,000 seats. "We're taking down parts of Henrico grandstands (along the backstretch)," he said.

"The lower part of the backstretch as you come toward turn three as well as some sections of the Old Dominion grandstands in Turn 3." Bickmeier said that the plan to remove some seating has been formulating for over a year. These sections have been on the low satisfactory end of post-race fan survey data. Henrico Tower, in particular, is an arduous journey for fans. Bickmeier said spectators need to climb 72 steps to the lower portion of the tower, where there are few, if any, amenities such as concessions and restrooms.

"So, it's not where we get some of the best feedback from our fans," he said. "And, during the race, if you wanted to something to drink or go to the restroom, you have to come all the way down and climb all the way back up." Bickmeier said that reducing seating isn't a bad thing and referenced venues such as The Diamond and the University of Richmond's Robins Center that have lowered capacity. "This is not a new phenomenon by any means," he said. "It's happened at other motorsports facilities and other facilities in general."

International Speedway Corporation, RIR's parent company, announced in June that it would make sweeping changes to the stands at Daytona International Speedway, which included moving all the seating along the front stretch of the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Overall, the changes are part of a long-term improvement process for RIR. Bickmeier said they have short-term ideas and long-term strategies for how to repurpose those areas. He said that the best data for the long-term improvement comes from fans. Richmond Times Dispatch
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