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How much economic impact does a NASCAR race have?


NASCAR at Richmond = $467 million. Now that's some economic clout (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern

   Kyle Busch was tooling around the nation's capital Thursday, doing PR for Sunday's Martinsville 500 and also the upcoming Richmond 400…and he wound up doing some personal PR too:
   "We were doing this race around Washington, D.C., on the beltway, and it was funny as heck -- because we were driving these Toyota FJs, and we're passing all these people, and there's traffic, and they're all honking and waving.
   "I have a guy in my passenger seat who has the radio: He's talking, and giving the play-by-play…and there's another guy in the other vehicle giving the play-by-play. 
    "Everybody had so much fun tuning in and listening and watching and seeing us going down the road.
    "There were, like, seven, eight or nine callers that tuned and said 'We've been life-long so and so-driver fans, and this is just hilarious.  This is the coolest thing ever.  I'm a Kyle Busch fan.  I never thought I'd say that, but here it is.'
    "I think more people are getting to see more of really who I am and how I can have fun and be laid back and easy going as anybody else out there."
   That's just part of the over-time promotion NASCAR track executives are doing to get fans in these stands.
   Track men are also pushing the impact of a NASCAR event on the area.
   How important is a NASCAR race to the town it plays in?
   Naturally that depends on the locale.
   Fontana, Calif., might not get nearly the bump that, say, Richmond, Va., gets.
   Pocono, Pa., well, it's not really even a defined urban market.
   And Loudon, N.H., well, there's not all that much there either.
   But, with NASCAR tracks pushing for local support, and local promotion, it's time again for those economic impact statements.
   Richmond officials just released one, which shows that track directly 'impacts' 6,102 permanent area jobs and indirectly impacts another 1,663 jobs, with an economic punch of $186 million a year on the labor side, part of a total economic impact of $467 million.
   That's half a billion dollars annually.
   And the track generates about $86 million in annual taxes.
   The Richmond report was prepared by the Washington Economics Group (www.weg.com).

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