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Campers ready for races to begin

Magnolia and her human Joseph Youst are third in line to purchase their camp site at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

Magnolia and her human Joseph Youst are third in line to purchase their camp site at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

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Magnolia and her human Joseph Youst are third in line to purchase their camp site at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)

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Atlanta Motor Speedway is abuzz with activity in preparation for the upcoming AdvoCare 500 Labor Day race. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton

HAMPTON — Magnolia the Chihuahua and her human Joseph Youst are already in line to get their favorite campsite at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

While the AdvoCare 500 race is more than a week away, they weren’t first.

“For three years in a row now we’ve been third,” Youst said.

He’ll be joined by his wife and five of their friends — all with campers this weekend.

“We all get in a circle near the woodline and set up,” Youst said.

Once parked everyone makes the sites as homey as possible.

For example, Youst sets up a portable light post, flag pole and even a mail box.

“I’ve gotten mail before,” he said. “People will come by and drop their junk mail in the box.”

He also puts out tarps for ‘grass control’ and treats the ground around the site for fleas and ticks.

“I have to make sure it’s safe for Maggie (Magnolia’s nickname) to be outside,” Youst said.

Youst takes vacation from work as a repairman for semi trucks to camp out at the race. He estimates he spends around $1,000 to camp for 12 days, but it’s worth it.

“Our camp sites are quiet and calm and I can enjoy my vacation out here,” he said.

Atlanta Motor Speedway is expected to host several thousand campers for the Labor Day race.

Only those with tickets are permitted to be in the camping area, said Dustin Bixby Marketing and Promotions manager for AMS.

He said restrooms and bath houses are available for campers who need them, and there is no additional cost to use the facilities.

“A lot of the campers have big RVs, it’s like they’re living in their houses,” Bixby said. “It’s a really nice set up out there.”

As for safety, Bixby said there will be law enforcement and security guards patrolling all camp areas.

“The grounds are set up like small communities in each parking area.” he said. “A lot of these people having been coming to the races and camping in the same area for years so they get to know each other.”

He said the areas have something similar to a neighborhood watch.

“Patrolling guards will check in to make sure there are no problems in each area,” Bixby said.

However, if there’s a life-threatening problem, Bixby says to call 911.

“The 911 dispatchers will be able to get in contact with officers in the camp grounds,” he said.

The AdvoCare 500 kicks off Aug. 30 with a host of activities including NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup practice sessions. Qualifying begins at 6:40 p.m. for the Sprint Cup series.

Aug. 31 several gates begin opening and Nationwide series qualifying begins at 4:40 p.m. The Great Clips/Grit Chips 300 begins at 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 1 starts with Speedway Children’s Charities track walk. All grandstand gates open at 2:30 p.m. with the pre-race party lasting until 6:45 p.m. At 5 p.m. Billy Currington takes the stage for a pre-race concert. An additional $49 pass is required for the concert and must be accompanied by a grandstand ticket or infield wristband. The AdvoCare 500 race begins at 7:30 p.m.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com or call 877-9-AMS-Tix.