New camper-parking rule at Speedway

Race fans are finding a change has taken place in the requirements for parking recreational vehicles at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The speedway, located in Hampton, is requiring so-called RV'ers to present two tickets to one of this weekend's NASCAR races, in order to gain entry into its campgrounds.

"It's new here," said Ed Clark, general manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway. "A number of the other tracks have a similar policy. It came about because we've gotten a number of concerns from fans about people who don't attend the races [but at times become raucous].

"We have security throughout the campgrounds 24-7," he continued. "They largely take care of themselves. We do have people in place to enforce policies if needed."

Clark said the speedway amended its policy on recreational- vehicle parking last fall. The change mandates that in order to enter the speedway campgrounds on NASCAR race weekends, a person must have two tickets for one of the weekend's racing events. A camping space is allowed at two tickets per vehicle.

"I don't think any fans attending the race would be deterred, because there is no reason for them to be," he said. "This is not intended to keep anyone from coming to the race, and enjoying a race."

Clark acknowledged the speedway maintains 4,534 reserve spots and nearly as many unreserved spots contained in 49 acres of unreserved camping area.

"It's not about space," he said. "It's about providing a quality experience for the people who come here to attend the race. It's not about revenue in any way. We're a race track, we're not a camp ground."

Covington resident Lindsey Erwin said it makes a positive difference to her that partygoers are discouraged from camping. She has attended weekend races at the speedway with family and friends for more than a decade.

However, the self-employed wife and mother said she believes restrictions should be fan-friendly as well, without requiring fans to attend any particular race in order to park their campers and recreational vehicles.

Erwin said her concern is that the speedway would require RV'ers to buy tickets in the future for the more expensive marquee racing event on Sunday. She said many in her family can only afford to attend smaller races on race weekends.

"I feel like you should be able to attend any of the races and camp," Erwin said.

Presently, the speedway allows campers to park recreational vehicles as long as they have at least two tickets per vehicle to any of the weekend races.