Reviewed by Margaret Thompson
I had two concerns going into our family’s inaugural visit to Arena Racing USA at the Coliseum, and they are no doubt the same qualms many have after hearing about Richmond’s newest family-friendly sporting event: 1. It would be loud, and 2. The fumes from the race cars would be overpowering inside the Richmond Coliseum. I am pleased to report that my worries were quickly dispelled, and now that I’ve been a guinea pig for our readers, you too can enjoy a fun night of racing with your family!
Be sure to get to one of the seven remaining races an hour or so early for the pit party! The drivers are out with their cars for autograph meet and greet sessions, and the kids can even sit in some of the cars for a cool photo opp and a great memory. If you’re lucky like our crew, you might even get a tire to take home with you…I can’t tell you what a great addition THAT is to our home décor! Seriously though, my six year-old was totally excited to get one and take it all around the pit party to have it signed.
Once we took our seats, we were ready for the racing action to begin. Founded by Ricky Dennis, son of former NASCAR driver Bill Dennis, Arena Racing USA is fast-paced fun! ArenaCars™ are real, one-half-scale stock cars (half the size of Cup cars) that must meet the exact same league specifications to ensure that the action on the track is the result of good driving skills, not a mechanical advantage. The nine foot long cars are 36 inches high from track to roof and can reach speeds of up to 100 mph outdoors. Drivers enter and exit through a sunroof-sized opening in the roof of the ArenaCar™ – it’s really quite fascinating to see these little cars fly around the track! There are several heats throughout the night with both adult and youth drivers. Our little ones loved watching the kids race and of course, everyone got excited when the cars crashed, spun out, or hit the wall. They are completely safe for the drivers, so no injuries! Young spectators were pulled from the stands throughout the night to assist with waving the flags and announcing, “Drivers, start your engines!” – quite a thrill for those lucky kids and families.
We did take ear plugs and headphones, and while some of the kids used them, I think it was more for the fun of it than for an actual need. They had no complaints about the noise when they removed the head phones (a million times throughout the race, it seemed!). And as for the smell…non-existent. Yay!
Check out their website for the rest of the schedule and be sure to follow us on Facebook for your chance at Arena Racing USA
free kids’ tickets.