BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – Tens of thousands are flocking to “The Last Great Colosseum” this weekend and businesses in Bristol are reaping the benefits.

Jeff Strunk operates one of dozens of tents that sell racing merchandise to excited fans.

“This year, I guess since after the pandemic a lot more people are coming out, so hopefully we’ll get a nice size crowd,” Strunk said.

Bristol Campground owner Bill Gaines expects 1,200 to 1,500 people to stay on his grounds, a jump from small numbers during the pandemic.

“After 2009, you remember the real estate, stock market crashed and the numbers went down,” Gaines said. “This is the first race I’ve seen in some time where it seems to be coming back. There seems to be an energy out here that I haven’t seen in sometime.”

Just like many other people and businesses this year, he’s facing the new challenge of inflated costs.

“I haven’t raised my prices since 2007,” Gaines said. “I may have to next year, gasoline, diesel prices and we do a lot of mowing in here.”

High prices aren’t keeping the most loyal of fans away. For decades, camper Tim Konwinski has been coming all the way from Ohio for race weekend.

“It’s a blast,” Kowinski said. “We’ve been coming down here for 21 years.”

Fans said they’re excited to return to the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” and looking forward to a race that lives up to the name.