Richmond Raceway Founder Wayne Sawyer Dies at 78

Less than seven months after the last race on the half-mile Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway, the ¾-mile Richmond International Raceway, built on the same site, holds its first Cup race on Sept. 11, 1988. PHOTO CREDIT: 1988, RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH

Wayne Clarke Sawyer Sr. born August 14, 1943, passed away into the arms of his Lord and Savior on November 19, 2021.

Wayne studied at Elon College and went on to marry his high school sweetheart, Sandy. They had three sons together, John Clarke Sawyer and twins, Wayne Clarke Sawyer Jr. and Paul Sean Sawyer.

Wayne joined the family business in 1987 at Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway. He took on the job of reconstructing the half-mile flat track with 26,000 seats, redesigning it into a quarter-mile track with 14-degree banking and with that, Richmond International Raceway was born. Quite an accomplishment in six months’ time. When RIR was sold in 1999 to International Speedway Corporation, the speedway boasted 36 suites and 106,000 seats.