Letter hopes to sell out Darlington

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - A letter signed by Governor Nikki Haley and other state leaders, hopes to encourage businesses to support Darlington Raceway, and tourism.

Darlington Raceway President, Chris Browning, says the raceway asked leaders to do anything they could to help draw attention to the Mothers Day weekend race at Darlington. Browning says the goal of that, was to get a sellout crowd, so they can show NASCAR that Darlington is a profitable event for them.

"Well that's the end goal, to try to make sure we're successful so we can maintain the track here and keep it going and keep delivering that economic impact that we deliver to the entire state," Browning added.

The largest event at the track is the Showtime Southern 500 which is coming up in May. The one event brings a $54 Million impact to the entire Palmetto state. Something state leaders say is an investment in the economic prosperity of the state.

Darlington's Mayor, Tony Watkins, says the city has worked with the racetrack in the past to help make the race as successful as possible. He says the track is important to Darlington and has helped define the city as it is.

"With the Car Haulers Parade and Racefest, and we do everything we can to make sure to promote the race because we want to see it stay in Darlington forever," said Watkins.  "It's not only important to us, but it's also important to the history and tradition of NASCAR and that we believe makes us a tourist attraction."

Browning says pressure from competing NASCAR venues is making it tougher to make ticket sales, and he says the economy isn't helping.

"Pressure from our competition in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and we just want to make sure we leverage every asset that we have to get the people who are thinking of coming to races to come here to Darlington," said Browning. "And basically said can you help us out and make sure we're top of mind with people in our state."

Browning hopes the letter will encourage business leaders to buy business packages that they can use for employee give-a-ways.  He says some packages can be purchase for $70.

"We're trying to do everything we can to make sure we're successful and again that success generates millions of dollars for our state," Browning added.