By Clay Wilson
Initial reports indicate that this weekend's Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway went off smoothly. "It's been just about as close to perfect as you can get," said Atlanta Motor Speedway Communications Manager Angela Revell. "The weather has been beautiful. The stands have been packed."
In fact, Revell said, "It's been the largest spring crowd ever." She said she didn't have exact numbers on people who attended, but earlier she had predicted that as many as 250,000 fans would visit AMS over the weekend.
Revell said that as far as she could tell from her perch in the media box, the crowd had been well-behaved. "I haven't heard anything over the radio," she said.
Officials with the Henry County Bureau of Police Services, which worked security for the race, could not be reached for comment Sunday.
Neither could Georgia State Patrol troopers who worked race traffic. But a radio operator at the Patrol's Griffin Post said his shift on Sunday had been quieter than usual.
"Usually they're killing us with phone calls about traffic, but we haven't had many calls this weekend," said Operator ??? Ross. "I don't know if they're just not calling or if it's been better."
Ross said he hadn't heard of any serious accidents around the raceway area.
"I did get a call from one lady who said she's been stuck for three hours and hasn't gone ten miles," he said.
But Hampton resident Virginia Sisco said Sunday afternoon that she hadn't experienced major problems with the traffic.
"Since I've been here three-and-a-half years I've learned to take the back roads," she said.
Sisco said that on Saturday, she simply avoided what she knew would be high-traffic areas. She went out about 10 a.m. Sunday and found "bumper-to-bumper traffic" on Ga. Highway 81 westbound toward the raceway, but since she was headed east it didn't affect her.
"I did encounter (traffic) but it did not detain me," she said.
For one local business employee, the traffic was a blessing, not a curse.
"It's been awesome," said Katie Nunnery at Kangaroo #330 on Hampton's East Main Street. "We've had a lot of customers. They came in happy and they left happy.
"We made a lot of sales this weekend."