FORT WORTH-DALLAS (March 28, 2001) - As a result of recent heavy rains, Texas Motor Speedway is asking fans to leave early and follow directions as they arrive for this weekend's Jani-King 300 NASCAR Busch Series event on Saturday, March 31, and...
FORT WORTH-DALLAS (March 28, 2001) - As a result of recent heavy rains, Texas Motor Speedway is asking fans to leave early and follow directions as they arrive for this weekend's Jani-King 300 NASCAR Busch Series event on Saturday, March 31, and the Harrah's 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race on Sunday, April 1.
The area has seen an unusually wet winter, with an estimated three inches of rain falling on the speedway since Saturday.
"The rain certainly hasn't helped us," said speedway general manager Eddie Gossage, "but we'll still have parking for our fans this weekend. The important thing is that our fans follow the direction given by our parking staff. They are there to direct cars to the best available spots - it may not be where someone is accustomed to parking when they come here, but it will be out of necessity that we're making the change."
Approximately 55,000 cars are parked on speedway property for the Harrah's 500 event. With 23,000 paved spaces, there are ample grass and gravel lots for the remaining vehicles - even with the loss of some traditional parking areas.
"There are areas that are quite wet and soggy already," said speedway facilities manager Barry Worden. "We will make fans aware of the wet areas by roping them off. We certainly don't want anyone getting stuck. That's why it's so important for our fans to go where they're sent by the parking staff. We know where the acceptable areas to park are and that's exactly where we'll be attempting to send them.
"If the fans will follow the direction given them, the process will move much more smoothly."
The speedway has already spent nearly $200,000 on gravel this week to build up the aisleways throughout the camping and grass parking areas and will utilize some of those aisleways to park cars if the ground is too soft.
"We'll have wreckers on property by to assist if necessary," said Worden. "Our hope, however, is that folks will park where and how they are told and we can avoid the towing process as much as possible.
"It's not necessary for everyone to try and be here at 5:00 a.m., we just don't want fans all waiting to the last minute to make their way here."
A few tips for fans traveling to the speedway for the weekend's race activities: * Plan to leave early - Allow for normal travel time with additional considered for the parking process. Races start at 12:00 noon each day with Daylight Savings Time taking effect Sunday morning, April 1, at 2:00 a.m. * Carpool - The fewer vehicles, the more quickly and efficiently fans can be parked. * Follow directions - Fans shouldn't argue with parking attendants over which way they are being sent. Places that fans may be used to parking may not be suitable this weekend. * Don't "search" for a spot - Once fans have been directed to a spot, they should pull in and park, not drive up and down aisles looking for a "better" space. Filling every available space as they are directed to it is important to make sure all fans get parked in a timely manner. * Campers stay over - Campers (RVs, etc.) which are traditionally held for an hour after the race to allow cars to begin making their way out, are asked to stay over until Monday if possible. The speedway will have wreckers available Monday to focus specifically on campers who may be stuck.
"We know the fans will definitely want to be in their seats by 11:00 a.m. for the pre-race show Sunday," said Gossage. "That's when we'll have our special tribute to Dale Earnhardt.
"It's a shame the weather can't cooperate with us, but at least we know going into the weekend what we're dealing with and are prepared to make it work. It's going to be a great weekend of racing."