• 57°

Memorial Day traffic expected to be heavy near NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — More than 1 million North Carolinians are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend by road, and no doubt hundreds will descend upon the region for NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

State troopers warn that if there is an accident on Interstate 85, it could have a ripple effect in Rowan County. When there are traffic delays, most people heading out of Rowan County take Exit 68 for China Grove and get back on I-85 via U.S. 29.

More than 150 troopers will assist with race-day traffic from various parts of the state, including Rowan County. Typically, each county sends two or more troopers to help during major events, said N.C. Highway Patrol 1st Sgt. Stephen Pace.

Pace, who heads the patrol office in Rowan County, said Memorial Day weekend is generally a busy one for travel.

Charlotte Motor Speedway officials encourage motorists to use U.S. 29 and N.C. 49 if they are traveling to the racetrack. Roads are usually busier within hours of race times, which are midday today and Sunday, said Jonathan Coleman, director of public relations for the speedway.

Fans are encouraged to follow the directions of law enforcement at the speedway. Coleman said people often have a tendency to turn left when authorities are directing them to turn right out of the speedway.

“If you follow those directions, all roads will lead you to 29, 49, I-85,” Coleman said.

Across 10 days of racing events, fans from all 50 states and 23 foreign countries are expected, Coleman said.

“The Coca-Cola 600 has been around for 58 years. It has a rich history and is one of the crown jewels of NASCAR. It certainly draws a crowd,” he said.

Coleman said he expects lots of people from Rowan, Cabarrus and Gaston counties as well as those in the Charlotte market to attend. There will definitely be travelers from areas such as Greensboro who may stay in Rowan County hotels, eat at local restaurants and possibly buy groceries to fill campers.

The annual economic impact for the greater Charlotte region is $451 million, which helps support 8,600 jobs, Coleman said.

“Each race has over $100 million economic impact in Cabarrus County and other counties that touch Cabarrus, Rowan included,” he said.

Race weekends are a big part of what the speedway does, but they are not the only benefit for neighboring counties like Rowan.

The Speedway Children’s Charities black-tie gala, held Wednesday, raised $890,000 to support local organizations that benefit children, including in Rowan County, where 23 agencies benefited, he said.

“We want our friends in the community to know we are not just creating headaches but creating good memories and trying to give back to the community,” Coleman said.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has some safety tips for drivers this weekend:

• Leave early to get a head start on the drive. Travel at nonpeak hours when possible.

• Stay alert. Even if road construction work is suspended, you may encounter narrowed lanes and traffic shifts in work zones

• Be patient and obey the posted speed limit

• Use alternate routes, when possible, to avoid traffic congestion

• Stay informed. Real-time travel information is available at DriveNC.gov, by calling 511, or by following NCDOT on Twitter.

• Don’t drive drowsy. Travel at times when you are normally awake and take frequent breaks

• Avoid distracted driving. When drivers stop focusing on the road ahead, they react more slowly to traffic conditions and are more likely to be involved in an accident.

Visit http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com for more details about this weekend’s races and related activities.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

 

Comments

Education

Superintendent talks first 100 days, dives into district data

Business

‘It was an answer to a call:’ TenderHearted Home Care celebrates 10 years of providing care at home

News

Political Notebook: Local polls find increasing number of North Carolinians want COVID-19 vaccine

News

Trial begins on challenge to latest NC voter ID law

Local

Burch, Fisher, Marsh honored as 2021 recipients of Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award

Landis

Landis board talks revenues, budget planning, department updates

College

College baseball: Catawba rolls 7-1 and 24-1

Nation/World

Student fires at officers at Tennessee school, is killed

Nation/World

Police: Minnesota officer meant to draw Taser, not handgun

Crime

Man receives consecutive prison sentences for sex offenses

Education

RSS Board of Education approves Faith Elementary sale

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department receives 400 Pfizer, 800 Johnson & Johnson vaccines for week

Crime

Blotter: Accident in Food Lion only weekend shooting to produce injuries

Crime

Salisbury man charged with felony drug crimes

Crime

Second person charged in thefts from house near county line

Crime

Police use tear gas to end robbery stand off, arrest suspect

Local

Ask Us: When will Rowan Public Library’s West Branch open?

Nation/World

Prosecution case nears end in ex-cop’s trial in Floyd death

Nation/World

Officer accused of force in stop of Black Army officer fired

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with hitting man with car, fleeing while intoxicated

Local

‘Meet the need’: Rowan County Health Department looks to add to vaccination options

Local

Seaford is first woman in county hired for town manager position since the ’90s

Local

Colonial Spring Frolic makes a comeback to kick off museum’s year

Local

Concord City Council wants to name bridge for fallen officer, Rowan native