Darlington raceway puts final touches for Southern 500

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) – The finishing touches are all that remain before early 60,000 NASCAR fans will flock to Darlington Raceway for the Southern 500.

This weekend is the homestretch before Darlington Raceway's biggest annual event kicks off next Saturday – the Showtime Southern 500.

"The circus is here as we like to say," Raceway President Chris Browning said. He and a dozen other staff members worked the ticket office Sunday.

Browning said a lot of people tend to wait until the week of the event to see what the weather forecast is before they purchase tickets, which is why he said ticket sales are the most demanding aspect of the final week before race day.

"Our weather forecast right now is fantastic so that always helps with our tickets sales as we get down to the actual event weekend."

The Sprint Cup Series SHOWTIME Southern 500® and Nationwide Series Royal Purple 200 are scheduled Fridays and Saturday of Mother's Day weekend.

Several motor coaches made their way to the track in a lot designated for the competing racers. Track officials said the coaches the remainder of the coaches will arrive tomorrow and Tuesday.

"There's a thousand little things that you have to do to make sure you're ready for one of these big events," VP and General Manager Mack Josey explained. This includes checking the scoreboard, striping the parking lots and coordinating with food and merchandise vendors.

"We're finishing all of our logo paintings today," totaling more than a dozen around the raceway.

The raceway employs 14 full-time staff workers throughout the year. This figure soars to well over 1000 in the days leading up to the race.

Approximately 60,000 NASCAR fans are expected to attend next weekend's race. "It's just like running a small city. We'll have more than the population of our whole county inside of our 400-acres come Saturday," Browning pointed out.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at http://www.darlingtonraceway.com/tickets/.

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