Coca-Cola 600 provides ‘great boost’ to area as thousands pack Charlotte Motor Speedway

Updated: May. 30, 2021 at 11:13 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With full capacity allowed at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the first time since the start of the pandemic, more than 50,000 were expected in the grandstands for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.

“It’s been awesome. It’s good to be back, be around folks, good people, so I’m looking forward to it,” said Connie Nelson.

While Nelson has been to previous races, this was the first one for Jeremiah Lapp.

“Yeah, it’s crazy to see no one with masks on, most people at least, so it’s cool to definitely be in this big of a crowd of people and be like normal again,” Lapp said.

Last year, the race went off without fans.

When restrictions were lifted by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper earlier this month, the green light came for a full reopening.

But amid a pandemic, there is still the push to get as many Americans vaccinated.

There was also an area at the fan zone to get vaccinated with a Johnson & Johnson dose.

Daniel Phillips said this was the perfect opportunity.

“Where I live we don’t have the single-dose shot so I thought it was better to get it now than the two doses because who knows if I would follow up again and also because I got my two kids here trying to set a good example,” he said.

As fans piled inside, there was also a sense of excitement for local businesses.

Nearby, Tastebuds Popcorn Concord held its grand opening Saturday.

Since then, owners say customers have been in and out non-stop.

“Absolutely swamped. We’ve had a lot of lines and race traffic as well. It’s been a wonderful thing. People said they needed to refill their popcorn, some were here yesterday and came back today, so it’s been a blessing,” said owner Tavia Jackson.

Jackie Boys Grill & Tap also saw a packed house.

“It brings people in here that we usually wouldn’t get and as I said our employees make more money,” said general manager Scott Richheimer. “Open today at 10 o’clock and we noticed a huge increase in our business from a usual Sunday.”

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