NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 Fueled Economic Engine
As the May race weeks pass in therearview mirror, area businesses, non-profit groups and municipalities arefeeling the positive impact of NASCAR's biggest back-to-back weekends at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Past studies by the North Carolina Motorsports Association estimate the economic impact of May's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 Weeks to be $230 million.
"With this year's unexpected rain delay and new events taking place across the region, the numbers would be even greater," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "We were fortunate to have most of our fans stay for Monday's race and celebrate Memorial Day with us."
Fans from as far away as Wisconsin and New York began arriving in speedway campgrounds as early as May 5, a full 10 days before any action on the track. Ticketholders from all 50 states and 10 foreign countries attended the Coca-Cola 600 and many were so passionate about seeing the 50th running, they spent the night in their cars when the race was postponed, while others extended their hotel accommodations.
"It was more than just an extra night in the hotels," said John Cox, president and chief executive officer of the Cabarrus Regional Partnership.
"More local purchases were made and area restaurants had one more day to capture a hungry NASCAR nation. One positive about the rain was that many fans turned to Concord Mills, AMC Theaters and other area attractions they otherwise might not have been so interested in. It all adds up to a lot of business and tax revenue for the area.
"The Charlotte region and Cabarrus County also enjoyed an additional day of national media attention which has a residual positive economic impact that is hard to measure," Cox added.
On the employment front, approximately 3,000 people worked at the track in different capacities of customer service, souvenir sales and food vending. Most of the employees were from more than 100 non-profit groups.
The postponement of the race gave many an extra day to earn income for community service projects.
In addition to the events at the speedway, thousands attended new activities during race weeks such as the unveiling of the North Carolina Auto Racing Walk of Fame in Mooresville, the NASCAR Rev'd Up concert featuring O.A.R. in Charlotte and the Racing Legends Celebration in Concord.
Many team shops hosted fan days and autograph sessions while the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge and Food Lion Speed Street festivities resumed their crowd-drawing places on the race weeks calendar.
"The national awareness of our region during race week is priceless," said Mike Butts, executive director for Visit Charlotte. "Our hope is that it will help our hotels, restaurants and attractions increase the number of visitors next year, especially with the addition of a vibrant, new NASCAR Hall of Fame.
"At such a tough economic time we are incredibly thankful that the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Coca Cola 600 and all related events call the Charlotte and Concord region home. We plan to make each year even better with the collaborative efforts and the driving passion we all have to grow this business."
"Governor Perdue proclaimed May as 'Motorsports Month' to celebrate all the contributions our industry makes to the state," said Smith. "It's a true honor and a privilege for Charlotte Motor Speedway to host the races that support the livelihoods of so many families through positive impacts on our economy."
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America on Saturday night, Oct. 17.
Tickets can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.