About 82,000 fans filled the stands during the Bud Shootout Sunday (February 29), but only a fraction of those fans parked their RVs inside a speedway campground north of the speedway.
She and her husband have been coming to the same campground for the past 12 years.
“You used to be full at this time, difficult to find a parking spot, “said Hamilton.
Hamilton blamed the economy on the 20 or so RVs inside the campground, reports Central Florida News 13.
Gary Flagg said he has been setting up his RV sales and repairs tent inside the campground for the same amount of years Hamilton has been there.
He agreed the campsite was emptier than in years past.
He said there are fewer RVs because the speedway changed the scheduled racing dates adding an extra week during Speedweeks.
“This year is a little different than years in the past because it’s over a two weekend period versus a normally eight or nine day period. So a lot of folks who normally would’ve had that one week off have held off,” said Flagg.
In an earlier news release, Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III announced that the 54th Annual Daytona 500 would be held on Sunday, February 26, 2012.
“The decision to kick-off to the NASCAR racing season one week later was made in close partnership with the sanctioning body, our broadcast partners including FOX, community partners, and others within the industry,” said Chitwood.
“This move shortens the racing season by one week, which is something the teams and competitors will surely enjoy, and it eliminates the off-weekend typically scheduled in March, which many fans and media partners have said created a drop in momentum in the early part of the racing season.”
Flagg told Central Florida News 13 that his business is down as much as 50 percent since he first set up shop more than a decade ago.
He sells parts to other RV owners in nearby campsites and said there were fewer RVs in other campgrounds as well.
“Very, very disturbing because a lot of them are my friends have been over the years,” said Hamilton.
The owner of the campground hopes race fans will be pulling up to his campsite as the Great American Race date nears.
The Daytona 500 is scheduled this year for February 26.
The First Daytona 500
On February 22, 1959, Daytona International Speedway hosted the first Daytona 500. The posted awards for the “500-Mile International Sweepstakes” totaled $67,760. A field of 59 cars took the green flag for the start of the 200-lap race. A crowd of 41,000 was on hand to witness the beginning of another chapter in the history of racing in Daytona.
Gatorade Duel for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Thursday, February 23, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
The Gatorade Duel at Daytona features two 150-mile qualifying races that determine the starting lineup for the 54th annual Daytona 500.
NextEra Energy Resources 250 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (100 laps, 250 miles)
Friday, February 24, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
The tough trucks from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will tackle Daytona International Speedway in a 100-lap, 250-mile battle that is famous for its wild and unpredictable three-wide racing.
DRIVE4COPD 300 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series (120 laps, 300 miles)
Saturday, February 25, 2012, 1:15 p.m.
The rising stars of the NASCAR Nationwide Series face off against the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in a 120-lap, 300-mile event.
54th Annual Daytona 500 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (200 laps, 500 miles)
2011 Champion: Trevor Bayne
Sunday, February 26, 2012, 1:00 p.m.
Forty-three of the top drivers in the world compete in “The Great American Race,” NASCAR’s biggest, richest, and most prestigious motorsports event.
Tickets for all Daytona International Speedway events are available online or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
Second place is just the first place loser.