NASCAR & Auto Racing

Smith unveils discounts for fans

Marcus Smith has wasted no time on delivering on his goal of making races a more affordable opportunity for fans.

Smith, along with Tim Newman, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, unveiled on Tuesday a comprehensive package of discounts for fans planning to attend the Oct. 11 Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Perhaps the change with the most appreciable impact was the announcement more than 30 hotels within 30 miles of the speedway have agreed to reduce their race week room rates by 15 percent and waive any minimum-night stay requirements.

“It should be about fun, not finances,” said Smith, who was named the speedway’s new president and general manager following the retirement of H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler earlier this year. “We have succeeded in making this a group effort.”

Newman said the hotels’ participation was prompted by their recognition of the drop of room occupancy rates during the May race weekends at the track.

“For the first time a lot of hotels in the program, that had been seeing 90 percent occupancy, were experiencing 70 percent occupancy,” Newman said. “We also talked to fans and fans said the three-night minimum was the problem.

“I think these changes can be a big boon to business that weekend.”

Included in the discounts is a four-ticket/four drink, four hot dog package for the Cup race priced at $159; the start of discounted combo deals at track concession stands; and a hat and T-shirt souvenir package priced at $20.

The ticket package, the Circle K Family Fun Pack, also includes a coupon for a free 12-pack of Coke Zero that can be redeemed at area Circle K stores.

Ticket information as well as the names of participating hotels can be found on the speedway’s Web site, Newman said he hoped the publicity received by the participating hotels would spur others to join the program.