NASCAR truck series returns to Darlington Raceway

Darlington, SC - By Alisha Laventure - bio | email

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is back at the Darlington Raceway for the first time in six years.

The trucks returned to the Darlington Raceway for the Too Tough To Tame 200 since 2004. County officials say it has had a positive impact on the local economy.

Charles Hardin, Former Chairman of The Darlington Economic Development Board said visitors book the two motels in Darlington City to full capacity. He said grocery stores and convenience stores also profit from the influx of out-of-towers

"It actually bleeds heavily into Florence because Florence has the predominant numbers of motels. So it has a big impact on the Pee Dee," Hardin said.

Event coordinators estimate between 15,000 – 20,000 people came to Saturday night's race. Most came from the Pee Dee and Myrtle Beach. Several also traveled from North Carolina and beyond.

Frank Rendulic moved to Myrtle Beach from Pennsylvania and said the races are worth the trip.

"When you're a race fan, you drive as long as you have to," Rendulic said. "Before, I was driving 12 hours to get here, so now it's an hour and a half, so I'm enjoying it."

The track employed approximately 400 people to run Saturday's event. Vendors arrived at the track around 10 am to cash in on the crowds.

"You've got to take advantage of the opportunity when you get it," said Chris Teague of O'Reilly Auto

"This little experience they have here, could bring them in the store and make them a customer for life."

In the past, Darlington was the site of two annual Sprint Cup Series races - the Rebel 400 and the Southern 500. NASCAR eliminated the Southern 500 in 2005, upsetting many local fans.

Darlington Raceway officials hope this new race will restore some of the excitement from the past series.

"I think it gives everybody a sense of, 'Hey, this is our Darlington. We're gonna come out and support the track,' said Jake Harris, Director of Public Relations. He says the race is also an opportunity for cities near the raceway to establish a sense of camaraderie.

In addition to profits, 17-year-old Serena Mentel of Conway says the race is a simply an entertaining event.

"It brings family together and friends and you just realize how much fun you can have together," Mentel said.

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