NASCAR ready to rev the local economy despite setbacks | Business
CONCORD - Live music, a buffet lunch, even a little corn hole with NASCAR star Kevin Harvick...it was great fun at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord today for a few of Harvick's lucky fans, and for the media a chance to see what the speedway has cooked up bring fans in for the Bank of America 500 and hopefully rev up the local economy.
"You think about 80,000 people coming in from over 300 miles away," CMS President Marcus Smith told WBTV. "They're staying in hotels, buying food and beverages, for campers, there staying for several days and their enjoying themselves."
The sport was fast out of the box this season with TV ratings and attendance up, but just in the last couple of weeks two announcements were a step backward.
Red Bull, a major racing sponsor worldwide announced it would leave NASCAR, leaving 150 workers out of a job, and Kevin Harvick announced he would shut down his successful truck series team, idling 140 workers.
Now Harvick worked out a deal to sell the team instead and he;s hopeful that will save some jobs. Harvick told WBTV today that while the economy has been a game changer, it's often used as an excuse for other factors.
"I think it's forced a lot of people to change their ways," Harvick said. "I know at our company, KHI, we've had good luck with sponsorships and changing the approach in a way that we've gone about things, you can only use the economy as an excuse for so long."
Charlotte Motor Speedway President Marcus Smith is still optimistic and thinks the sport is on the rebound.
Many insiders agree that they don't see a repeat of what happened when the 2009 season was over and between 1500 and 2000 people in the sport lost their jobs. One reason is because as a result of that disaster, there are fewer teams, and those that survive are running lean operations.
The Bank of America 500 runs under the lights on Saturday, October 15. NASCAR is estimated to produce a yearly economic impact on the Charlotte region of $400 million.