Green flag brings green

NASCAR revs up Southern Crescent economy

HAMPTON — The national spotlight will be on Hampton this weekend as NASCAR’s Sprint Cup chase comes to town.

Atlanta Motor Speedway will host the AdvoCare 500 on Sunday, in addition to other races on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Labor Day weekend races will pump millions of dollars into Clayton and Henry counties’ economy with race fans and NASCAR personnel.

Racing action starts at 8 p.m. Friday with the Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 200. Saturday will feature the NRA American Warrior 300 at 7 p.m. with the grand event, the AdvoCare 500 starting at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.

With an influx of race fans, local residents can expect an increase in traffic volume, especially along the Tara Boulevard corridor, because events are scheduled all day at the track starting on Thursday with the arrival of the drivers’ cars.

This weekend AMS will be host to some significant NASCAR milestones. This will mark the 20th anniversary of a NASCAR race at the track. At its beginnings, the race was called the Hooters 500, which at the time decided the then-Winston Cup championship.

The 1992 Hooters 500 also marked the end of legendary NASCAR driver Richard Petty’s career, but at the same time launched the career of Jeff Gordon, who won last year’s AMS event.

“I expect Sunday night’s event to continue the on-track intensity we have seen the past several weeks as drivers fight to make their way into the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup championship,” said AMS president Ed Clark in a statement.

Following Saturday and Sunday races, AMS will sponsor a fireworks show.