The nation’s premier single-seat open wheel racing series today announced its newest race in Richmond along the city’s most historic street, an event that organizers are calling the Monument Avenue 400.
The IndyCar Series will race along the Richmond street for the first time in May 2011, according to a press release from the Indianapolis-based organization. The start line will be placed at the J.E.B Stuart monument at Lombardy Street and run west before looping around the Arthur Ashe Jr. monument and heading back.
During the 134-lap race, cars will reach their top speeds of more than 220 miles per hour along the 3-mile loop around the heart of the city’s most cherished thoroughfare.
“We’re excited to bring the thrill of open wheel racing to downtown Richmond, and look forward to making Monument Avenue one of the best auto races in the world,” said IndyCar Series CEO Dave Wallace, noting nearby homes will “hopefully” be protected from high-speed crashes with the installation of a 15-foot-tall fence along the historic street. “And with those cobblestones, you can bet they’ll be popping loose and making for some spectacular, fiery wrecks.”
Still, residents of the tree-lined Monument Avenue – recognized as one of the greatest streets in the country by the American Planning Association – expressed resignation over a potentially dangerous event taking place just a few feet from their homes.
“Staging a race along a historic street like this, particularly through a residential area, is a recipe for disaster and will be horrible for this wonderful avenue,” said Blair Landers, a Monument resident for nearly 20 years. “However, as long as those race fans along the track stay off my lawn, I think this could truly be a great event for the city.”