August 8, 2017 | 8:56 P.M. EST
Dale Earnhardt Jr. stopped at Richmond Raceway on Tuesday in advance of the track’s September NASCAR weekend and was joined by five players from the Washington Redskins, including quarterback Kirk Cousins (second from right). (Photo: Richmond Raceway)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. stopped at Richmond Raceway on Tuesday in advance of the track’s September NASCAR weekend and was joined by five players from the Washington Redskins.
The NFL players are currently busy in training camp, located in Richmond. The day at the track gave Earnhardt and the Redskins players an opportunity to see how each athlete competes in their respective sport.
The day started with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney presenting a proclamation to Earnhardt declaring 8/8 (Aug. 8) “Dale Earnhardt Jr. Appreciation Day,” congratulating Earnhardt for his accomplishments on the racetrack and successful achievements off it.
Earnhardt, a lifelong Redskins fan, gave players a unique view of Richmond by driving a few laps around Richmond Raceway’s three-quarter-mile oval in a two-seater No. 88 Chevrolet. Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, cornerback Josh Norman, linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Will Compton, and right tackle and Richmond native Morgan Moses stopped by the track to take a ride with Earnhardt.
“Being a fan, it’s great to meet the players and chat with them,” said Earnhardt. “You never think you’re going to be able to take them around a track like Richmond in a racecar. It has been an incredible experience for me, from the track to training camp.”
“I felt like we were a foot or two from the wall going 110, 120, 130 (miles per hour) and to go that fast and be that close to the wall is unbelievable,” said Cousins. “You start talking about foot-hand-eye coordination. It’s impressive.”
“I can’t wait to get in my car and drive because I feel like I’m in my rookie year in NASCAR, now,” said Moses. “Only one rule about racing. You have to go fast or you go home.”
Once the Redskins got to feel what it’s like to race at Richmond, Earnhardt took to the frontstretch to visit with several hundred of the track’s season-ticket holders. Motor Racing Network’s Mike Bagley, host of “NASCAR Live,” moderated a Q&A with Earnhardt and the fans. Bagley asked the sport’s Most Popular Driver about his thoughts on Richmond, their shared passion for the Redskins and his final season as a full-time Cup Series driver.
“As we draw closer to Fan Appreciation Weekend, we wanted to take the first opportunity to thank our loyal ‘Richmond Nation’ members by hosting an event with Dale Earnhardt Jr.,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. “It was a great day of partnership with our Richmond friends at the Washington Redskins, celebrating the tremendous athletes in NASCAR and the NFL. We look forward to welcoming Dale Earnhardt Jr. back next month for his final career appearance at Richmond on September 8-9.”
Earnhardt later made his way to Washington Redskins training camp. There, he observed practice and chatted with players. At the end of practice, he was invited to experience what it’s like to be an NFL player by running some plays as a wide receiver with quarterback Cousins and being defended by cornerback Norman. Earnhardt caught two passes and ended the drill with Norman handing over his practice-used Redskins gloves.
The day concluded with Norman and Earnhardt handing out snow cones to kids watching the practice.
Richmond has partnered with JR Motorsports to give any member of “Junior Nation” the ultimate experience race weekend. Fans can purchase the “2 for $ 88” ticket package that includes two tickets to the Sept. 9 Federated Auto Parts 400 Monster Energy Series race in rows 1-5 of the Capital or Commonwealth grandstands. Fans can also purchase a general-admission ticket to the Sept. 8 Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race for $ 20. The offer comes with an exclusive JR Motorsports t-shirt. For more information on both ticket packages, visit www.richmondraceway.com/jrnation.
Tickets are available now for both races and can be purchased online at www.richmondraceway.com or by calling the track’s ticket Office toll-free at 1-866-455-7223.