Leaving Bristol: Fans and businesses reflect on race weekend

Local

BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – Race fans are packing up and reflecting on a great week. They say they’re thankful for the experience and the memories they’ve made.

Mike Hiatt and his friends were staying at Rogers Gardens campground, across from the Speedway. Hiatt and about 200 campers were parked at the campground for the week.

“I hated that it ended because it went too quick, but it was a whole lot of fun,” Hiatt said. “Everybody needs to come out and enjoy Bristol, I mean it’s a great time what they do to the track, the racing’s great.”

Also reflecting on the week are businesses, like vendors, that depend on race fans to survive financially.

Some said this year was bigger and a better money-maker than last. Kaycie McCrary helps out every year at a tent selling t-shirts and souvenirs.

“It’s been steady, it’s not been tremendous, but I can’t say it’s been like a total drop,” McCrary said. “I mean people are still getting out and trying to live the best they’ve can while all of this is going on.”

Byron Rogers, son of the owner of Rogers Gardens Campground, said this year is giving his family business a boost.

“This is a big point of what feeds my family through the year,” Rogers said. “My family, my mother and father, my brother and his family. So, financially it’s our living, but it was a good week.”

Rogers said another change he noticed this year was a decreased police presence.

“We saw nothing but Bristol police officers this year,” Rogers said. “Usually they pull in from other districts. It doesn’t look like- maybe they didn’t do that this year.”

Fans said just like every year, this year was still hard to say goodbye.

“This week’s been just a lot of karaoke, lot of singing, lot of drinking,” Rogers said.

“It’s Bristol Baby,” McCrary said. “I mean c’mon, where else would you rather be?”

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