• 61°

Talladega means big dollars for state and city

Clanton hotels are reporting they are either at or nearing capacity this weekend thanks to first race of the year at Talladega.

The racing weekend at Talladega — one of two on the year for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series — is big business for Alabama, bringing in more than $407 million to the state’s economy annually.

According to a 2008 economic impact study, the race brings in 250,000 people to the Talladega and Birmingham area.

Guesthouse Inn said they are already booked for the weekend with visitors going to the race and participants in four fishing tournaments.

Holiday Inn Express said they were nearly at capacity for the weekend, expecting by Saturday to have each of their rooms booked. Days Inn said they still have many of their room unreserved by said they normally see many race goers ‘drop in’ the day before the race.

In a slow economy, even the popular superspeedway is facing challenges selling out the weekend races.

In an Associated Press report Thursday, speedway spokeswoman Kristi King said the track has lowered some ticket prices from $70 and $75 to $40. The speedway is also offering deals on food and highlighting the track’s free parking.

– Associated Press reports contributed to this report.