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Darlington Raceway’s Southern 500 expected to bring millions of dollars to Pee Dee economy

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 8:39 PM EDT
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DARLINGTON, S.C. (WMBF) - Campers are beginning to flood into the tailgate areas around Darlington Raceway, and the hotels are filling up.

“As far as I know the hotel rooms are just about fully booked, they are handling a few last-minute cancellations but I know they’re filling those rather quickly,” Director of the Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau Holly Beaumier said.

Beaumier said the Southern 500 is the largest multi-day tourism event in the state. It annually draws in millions of dollars into the Pee Dee.

“Of the $53 million to $64 million in economic impact that comes in on a typical race weekend, nearly $50 million stays in the Pee Dee,” Beaumier said.

Darlington Raceway president Kerry Tharp has waited two long years to watch the green flag drop at a full capacity race.

“To be able to have racing back here last year, and then slowly but surely bring the fans back, to finally be back at full capacity is a great opportunity for us,” Tharp said.

Tharp said it’s going to be a blessing to see the crowd of people during race weekend.

He wants race fans and the community to know this weekend’s races are for them.

“I just want them to have the best time they possibly can, that’s why we put so much effort into this. You know we have a couple of times a year where we can really have an impact on this community and on this state, and we want to make sure we get it right,” Tharp said.

Race weekend kicks off with Saturday’s Xfinity Race which begins at 3:30 pm.

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