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String of sellouts at Bristol Motor Speedway in jeopardy

Staff Report • Mar 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM

According to ESPN.com, tough economic times have forced many corporate partners that purchased blocks of seats not to renew for what is known as NASCAR's toughest ticket.

That puts Bristol Motor Speedway's string of 53 consecutive sellouts in jeopardy for the March 22 race.

But general manager Jeff Byrd -- who would not identify the number of seats still available -- is optimistic the streak will continue based on the current sales pattern. He added that challenges of the current economy has, "been a very healthy exercise."

Bristol has 160,000 seats, including 197 skyboxes that are almost twice as many as most tracks on the circuit. The "World's Fastest Half Mile Track'' and Richmond International Speedway were the only two with a waiting list for tickets before this season.

"The economy is a concern to all of us, but it has probably impacted Bristol less than any other racetrack,'' Byrd said. "With the tickets we've sold already we're already assured the third- or fourth-largest crowd of the year, only depending on what the Sharpie 500 does in August."

None of the first four races in NASCAR's premiere division have been sellouts. Daytona came close, but track president Robin Braig said it would not be fair to call the Daytona 500 a sellout since many tickets were discounted and some were given away to track employees.

There were crowd estimates of 75,000 or less last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which seats over 125,000.

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