Richmond International Raceway, the renowned short track where drivers' careers are launched – or crushed – is a very busy location during race season. Fans come to cheer their favorite NASCAR Sprint Cup contestants and celebrate victories with gusto. Turn race day into a full-fledged getaway with a stay over at a nearby hotel. With a capacity of over 97,000 on race day, the hottest tip for getting a great room near the Virginia track is to plan far ahead and book early.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Richmond West
Five miles from the Raceway complex, the Crowne Plaza has more than 300 parking spaces and ample room for charter buses, but don't expect to use it as ride-share central on race day because the parking spots are reserved for registered guest only. When you make reservations, ask for the NASCAR weekend special; the spring 2011 deal included a complimentary continental breakfast for two and reduced room rates. Of the 282 rooms, 277 are non-smoking. Book one of the Crowne Plaza's five suites with a sleeper sofa if you're traveling with a group of friends. Grab an early breakfast at the Sapphire Grill in the lobby before heading off to the race, or order room service as early as 5:30 a.m. and as late as 11:00 at night.
Residence Inn Richmond West End
Use your Marriott Rewards points or AAA membership for discounted room rates at this hotel located about six miles from the Raceway. The apartment-like suites are comfortable for guests attending special events at the raceway complex, visiting its horticultural gardens or going to watch their favorite NASCAR team kick butt. A fully equipped kitchen allows do-it-yourself meal options, while restaurants serving American and ethnic food are within a three-mile drive. The Residence Inn is a completely non-smoking hotel.
Ramada Plaza Richmond West
The calm atmosphere of the richly landscaped grounds and well-appointed lobby are a welcome contrast to the loud excitement of the Richmond Raceway. Six miles away from the track in one of the 372 air-conditioned rooms, you'll find relaxation at the Ramada Plaza. Turn your stay into a private festive occasion when you book a romance package, complete with champagne, or one of the hotel's special history-focused deals. Breakfast is served overlooking the pool, while lunch and dinner are offered in the on-site University Bar and Grill. This hotel is a non-smoking facility.
Holiday Inn Richmond – Airport
If you're flying in for race day, the Holiday Inn is right at your arrival and departure point, yet just six miles from the Richmond Raceway complex. With the basic amenities of a chain hotel, this location has the benefit of being cost-efficient and close to car rentals at the airport. An on-site restaurant and bar offers meals from breakfast through dinner and room service until 11:00 p.m. A very limited number of smoking rooms is available, so if that is your preference, say so when when making reservations.