Richmond International Raceway’s Inaugural Fan Appreciation Honored by NASCAR

The Inaugural Fan Appreciation Weekend Named NASCAR’s Most Innovative Fan Integration Program of the Year

Four Wide

The Four-Wide Salute was one of the highlights of the NASCAR Season


Richmond International Raceway’s (RIR) inaugural Fan Appreciation Weekend was honored by NASCAR as the Most Innovative Fan Integration Program of the Year. The award was presented at the recent 2017 NASCAR Marketing & Communications Summit in Charlotte, N.C.

“Our talented staff at Richmond is grateful to receive recognition from NASCAR for the inaugural Fan Appreciation Weekend,” said RIR President Dennis Bickmeier. “Our team’s total collaboration and support throughout the motorsports industry made this program a success for our fans. We look forward to taking the program to a new level this year along with other innovative initiatives to bring even more value to our loyal NASCAR fans.”

The inaugural Fan Appreciation Weekend as part of NASCAR’s regular season finale was developed to celebrate motorsports fans by recognizing their dedication, passion and loyalty to motorsports. The program was brought to life through the collaboration with NASCAR, race teams, sponsors, broadcaster partners and other industry stakeholders.

The most memorable moment of Fan Appreciation Weekend, and recent NASCAR history, was the emotional 4-Wide Fan Salute during the pace laps (image included). The image has been highlighted across the industry and media as one of the signature moments of the 2016 NASCAR season.

“Through Fan Appreciation Weekend, we continued to support Dennis Bickmeier’s strategic goals to invigorate our fan base with unique and memorable experiences,” said Megan Driscoll, Director of Consumer Marketing. “The inaugural Fan Appreciation Weekend was an unparalleled experience NASCAR fans will not soon forget.”

The program was designed with national and local touchpoints. Sprint, Mars, and NBC Sports were sponsors of the program from its inception. Sprint utilized Fan Appreciation Weekend to thank NASCAR fans as they completed their 13 years as entitlement sponsor for NASCAR’s Premier Series.

The M&M’s® brand joined the celebration by rolling out their Red Carpet Experience for fans entering the track at the Frontstretch Gate. This was a strategic first experiential step to make fans feel like true VIPs from the moment they arrived.

“Fan Appreciation Weekend provided our team the opportunity to further support the organization’s vision to be America’s Premier Short Track,” said Jeff Hedrick, Senior Director of Operations. “Through this program, our staff supported the successful development of a thrilling, memorable, and unparalleled guest experience as a conclusion to NASCAR’s regular season.”

The greatest thank you came from drivers and teams to their fans. Gridside Live! treated over 7,000 fans at the track with an entertaining personal look at their favorite drivers through a Jimmy Fallon-style program on the pre-race stage with unique giveaways and upgrades. Race teams further supported Fan Appreciation Weekend by executing B-post decal incorporation and special paint scheme integrations as well as their own giveaways on social media and surprise and delight at-track experiences.

NASCAR fans also engaged in appreciation experiences including fans giving the command to fire engines, “Thanks Fans” messaging in the Start/Finish line and Restart Zone, shared fan stories throughout the national broadcasts on television and radio, and partner promotions and sweepstakes to engage fans through digital and social platforms.

On social media, the #ThanksFans hashtag generated over 169.3 million impressions on Twitter and 4.7 million on Instagram over the weekend. The inaugural Fan Appreciation Weekend was held on RIR’s fall race weekend on September 9-10, 2016.

Tickets for NASCAR’s 2017 return to Richmond on April 28-30 and Fan Appreciation Weekend on September 8-9 for NASCAR’s regular season finale go on sale February 2. For more information, visit

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