MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - NASCAR's Darlington 500 Race returns to Labor Day Weekend next year. The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce believes the race will bring an overflow of tourists.
As Chamber President Brad Dean explains, this is huge for the Grand Strand. Dean says over the past few years, they've tried to fill Labor Day weekend with other events but there is no match up like the Darlington 500 and Labor Day weekend.
"There's always been that desire, if we could have that race back Labor Day weekend, just how big it would be, not only for the Myrtle Beach area and the Pee Dee but for NASCAR fans throughout the region, and now it looks like that'll happen," Dean says.
He explains there is a clear parallel with Myrtle Beach visitors and NASCAR fans, and the chamber has been marketing with the "Track Too Tough to Tame" for years now.
Shelley Chapman with Island Vista Resort Management believes the news will do wonders for reservations, and she is excited to see the return of some over flow.
"If there's not enough accommodations in that area, certainly people want to make a beach weekend and a race weekend, and they get the best of both worlds by staying here in Myrtle Beach at a resort such as Island Vista," she says.
People are looking for that last summer get away with great weather and awesome activities, and to be able to combine that with a NASCAR race at Darlington Raceway, what better combination for the last weekend of the summer.
Dean says some hotels have recovered since the race was ripped from Labor Day weekend, but feels the ones that haven't will now have the opportunity to fill their rooms again. They will start to advertise special travel packages targeting those fans.
"We're looking forward to having the race back Labor Day weekend. It's going to be a busy weekend anyway, but you can never have too many events to bring people to the Grand Strand."
Some merchants say the added sales in the Pee Dee could also encourage those business owners to bring some of their profits to the beach and vacation in Myrtle Beach.
Chamber President Brad Dean thinks the benefits of the race may go beyond Labor Day weekend, serving as a kick-off to their fall marketing campaign to bring people in for their fall getaways.