Auto race brings economic impact, official says

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - A car race that has been in Batesville for a quarter-century have revved not only the engines at the raceway but also the proverbial economic engine in the area, the owner of the Batesville Motor Speedway said Thursday.

Mooney Starr said he is expecting a big crowd this weekend as the speedway hosts the 25th annual Topless 100.

The track has 2,600 chair back seats, not to mention a three-level pit area for people to enjoy the race. Starr said the event typically brings in dirt racing crews and fans from around the United States, as well as fans.

"They're in motels, they're in restaurants, they fuel their trucks up. You know, there here for three and four days," Starr said. "I've had some of these campers sitting here since Monday. They come spend the week here and buy groceries here so yeah, it's great for the economy of Batesville.

At least 60 drivers with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series are also in Batesville this weekend. One of them, Josh Richards, said the crews sacrifice a lot for the career they love.

"Racing is one of those things where you wonder why you do it because it's so hard and you're gone all the time but then once you get to the track and you see all the fans in the stands and get to do what you love to do, it makes every bit of it worth it," Richards, who is from West Virginia, said.

After a race Thursday night, there will also be events Friday and Saturday night with the top winner this weekend winning $40,000.

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