Biggest weekend of the year at VIR, Richard Petty serves as special guest
ALTON, Va. (WSET) -- The biggest event for the Virginia International Raceway is underway this weekend, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Former NASCAR driver and champion Richard "The King" Petty is serving as the Grand Marshall for the track's largest race of the year, the Michelin GT Challenge.
"I go to all the cup races," Petty said. "I usually spend two-three days at the cup races and, you know, we got a weekend off so where do I go? The race track."
Mr. Petty took the time to visit with hundreds of fans and sign autographs at various tents along the track.
Zachery Ortwine and his cousin Lisa Nauman were excited they got to meet "The King."
"Mr. Petty is really humble; had a good smile on him," Ortwine said. "He enjoys the environment... you can tell that."
They both said it was such a great surprise to see him in person.
"It's our first time out to one of these races so... a lot of cool cars and good people out here," Ortwine said Saturday afternoon. "I'm really enjoying my time so far."
People from all over the country come to see races at the Virginia International Raceway.
"We seen cars license plates from all over... if you're here and you just think it's a local deal, it's not a lot a local deal, people come from all over," Petty said.
James Forte Sr. and his son have been coming to the track for several years now.
"I come with my son who lives in Raleigh and we both come to the track," Forte said. "We come a couple of times a year so we really enjoy it and it helps us to bond as well."
Around 40,000 people were expected this family-friendly weekend at VIR.
ABC 13's Courtny Jodon even got the chance to take a lap around the track with a professional driver in one of the BMW race cars.
They reached speeds of 145 MPH.
You can sign up for your own ride at the Michelin tent at VIR.