By Jaya Franklin
Atlanta Motor Speedway officials are preparing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race.
Major corporate sponsors from across the country have convened in Hampton for the 3-day race. However, a mega storm that is expected to make it's way to Georgia Monday night has caused AMS vendors to put their outside preparations for the race on hold.
"Tents were being set-up as well as flags," said Trey Sanders, promotions and events coordinator at AMS. "Some were up and some have been taken down." Sanders said there are about 200 logo flags on the AMS property and some vendors decided to disassemble their equipment after learning about the storm that could possibly cause damage to the area.
"We heard that the wind speeds could reach 50 to 70 mph," said Sanders. The NASCAR race is a popular event in Georgia and a lot of out-of-towners travel to Henry County to be apart of the fun.
AMS officials are expecting about 250,000 people to visit the race center from Friday through Sunday. Additional people are expected to work during the race weekend to make sure that they are fully prepared for the event.
"We usually have a staff of 80. During the race, it increases to over 3,000, including volunteers," said Sanders. Even though it is early in the week, people are still checking into hotels and parking their RVs at campsites in order to beat the weekend traffic.
"There has been a stream of campers, traffic will pick up Wednesday," said Sanders. "Thursday, you will get a good feel of the way things will be."
Caroline "Weezy" Motzel, director of operations for Levy's restaurant said the company is making preparations to feed the race-goers . Levy's has increased its food orders to ensure that it has an adequate amount for the constant flow of visitors. According to the catering company, it expects to serve 14,900 burgers; 13,000 beef franks; 33,000 orders of nachos; 6,000 chicken tenders and 800 pounds of potato salad.
"We bump up the amount of food in all areas," said Motzel. Levy's restaurant supplies food to suites, concession stands, and also does outside catering.
The restaurant is holding a Brunswick stew contest on race weekend, March 7-9. Brunswick stew is a southern, tomato-based stew that contains chicken, pork, corn, butter beans and more.
"We have five finalists, said Motzel. "The winner will be selected by the executive chef and the president of AMS."
The Atlanta Motor Speedway's NASCAR race is one of the most profitable events in Henry County. Three major races will take place over the weekend starting Friday, March 7, which is the Georgia Power Qualifying night.
On Saturday, March 8, a Nicorette 300 race will be held, and on Sunday, March 9, the Kobalt Tools 500 will take place. For more information, log on to: www.atlantamotorsppedway.com.