This weekend, thousands will pack Watkins Glen International to catch their favorite driver fight for their place in Victory Lane. But as our Bill Mich tells us, in between the action on the track, the Village of Watkins Glen is hoping to attract those visitors downtown.
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Sunday at the Glen, Dale Jr. will try to hold on to his lead in the Sprint Cup standings, Jeff Gordon goes for two consecutive wins and Marcos Ambrose will try and repeat on the legendary road course. All great story lines for racing fans this weekend. Outside the track, the story will be trying to get those fans into the village before the race.
"We expect to have about 85,000 people. That's usually what we get here, according to NASCAR numbers. We get millions into the community, so that is what we're looking for. All these dollars, all these people. And just having a great time this weekend," said Nikita Hairston, the Director of Tourism and Marketing at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.
Downtown Watkins Glen is ready for race weekend. Signs welcoming fans are in store fronts and on sidewalks. And the Chamber of Commerce says 38 local businesses are offering discounts or special contests to get people away from the track and spending money in the village.
"People who are NASCAR fans and show their tickets and once they show their tickets, they'll come down and depending on the scale of the discounts these businesses are offering, they can come down and take advantage of some of these offerings down here," said Hairston.
While many of the businesses don't rely on NASCAR weekend to get them through the year, that huge influx of people certainly doesn't hurt. And on a larger scale, the impact of race fans in the village can be felt for months.
"We're expecting to see millions of dollars trickle down here as we usually do every year and it's just great for room tax dollars as well. That's something we look forward to because that what helps drive this community and helps keeps this vibrant and welcoming for more tourists for the rest of the year," Hairston said.
Fans will pack the Glen for the races but getting them downtown will be the real victory during NASCAR weekend.