Fans hit Charlotte Motor Speedway ahead of Race Week - | WBTV Charlotte

Fans hit Charlotte Motor Speedway ahead of Race Week

Jake Crum during an interview with WBTV at Charlotte Motor Speedway Jake Crum during an interview with WBTV at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Engines will roar today at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord. The  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is back in town for the All Star Race this weekend and the Coca Cola 600 next weekend.

Add to that all the other races, concerts, and special events associated with the track, and the area should see hundreds of thousands of fans. 

The May events are also a huge boost for the local economy with an impact of more than $230 million.

The area around the speedway also takes on a new look at hundreds of vendors set up in  the fields outside the track. 

They sell everything from tee shirts and caps to clocks, sheet metal, and a few things you may not expect to see in such a venue. 

Some of the vendors represent charitable causes and they too hope to take advantage a wide open marketplace filled with fans.

Another sign of the way the sport affects the local economy can be found in the garage area for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

It doesn't cost as much to sponsor a truck series team, the crowds and TV ratings are in the same league with the Sprint Cup, but it's an important series that is popular with fans and is a good breeding ground for drivers.

Sean Corr is from upstate New York, but he moved to Mooresville to run his truck series team.  He usually drives, but tonight 23 year old Jake Crum will be behind the wheel of the 82.

Corr says having this team is a lot of work, a lot of expense, but also a lot of fun.

"Absolutely," Corr told WBTV.  "You have a lot of drivers from the small teams like us to a lot of the big teams, it's nice to be able to compete in this series, dip your toe in with some of the big NASCAR teams."

This is a big chance for Jake Crum, racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the #82 Chevy for Corr's Empire Racing Team.  It's important too, not just for the team, or for Jake, but for a new sponsor.

Tonight the truck carries the colors of an e-cigarette company called "My Freedom Smokes."

And in this series, and this race especially, some of NASCAR's biggest names will be competing, so Jake will be wheel to wheel with drivers like Kyle Busch. 

"I look at it as a challenge," Crum told WBTV.  "He's one of the best, is the best, to go out there to maybe be able to beat him that would mean a lot to myself and to my sponsors as well, you know, it's not really a scare, it's just all in your mind so you've just got to look over it and look at it as challenge."

And, as you may expect, Crum hopes to take a strong run in the trucks and use that to get noticed and possibly move up the ladder.

"Eventually I'd like to be out there, out there with the Cup guys, the goals are to go out, finish the race, ,come home in one piece, hopefully get us a top ten finish, make our sponsors happy, this is the first time they've actually came on board with us and their first experience in NASCAR and hopefully we'll make them proud," Crum added.

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