More than 80 hotels within approximately one hour of the speedway have agreed to reduce their race-week room rates by 15 percent and waive their minimum-stay requirements, according to a news release issued by speedway officials.
"Lodging is a major expense for race fans and we appreciate the area hotels working with us by rolling back prices and eliminating minimum-stay requirements," said Marcus Smith, speedway president and general manager. "We were glad to have the assistance of area tourism groups to put this deal together for the fans and we're encouraged to see the unprecedented level of participation by local hotel operators."
To get the discounted rate, fans must call hotels directly and request the Speedway Special when making reservations. The list of participating hotels is available online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.
The speedway is also offering special ticket packages for its May races. The Coca-Cola 600 Family Four Pack, which includes four race tickets, four hot dogs and four soft drinks, is available for $39.75 a person. The Rite Aid Family Four Pack includes four tickets to the Sprint All-Star Race, four hot dogs and four soft drinks for $24.75 a person.
"We're doing everything we can to make attending our races an affordable entertainment experience for race fans," Smith said.
But what Smith didn't explain is why it took so long for his track to do this.
Race fans have complained for years that they're taken advantage of by hotel operators, who in years past have doubled and even tripled their usual rates during race weekends. Reading between the lines of this release, I'm not sure if that remains the case or not.
Quoting the release, the key words that jump out at me are that the participating hotels have agreed to reduce their "race-week room rates" by 15 percent. So does this mean that the regular room rates have been doubled or tripled to arrive at the "race-week room rates" and then a 15 percent discount is applied to that? If so, that's not nearly the bargain that the release suggests.
Why not give race fans 15 percent off of the regular room rates rather than the "race-week room rates?"
I think the answer to that is the same answer as to why our country is in the financial mess we find ourselves in -- greed. While it's great that Lowe's Motor Speedway has taken steps to make attending its races financially within reach for more fans, the bottom line remains high.
Ellen Siska writes about NASCAR for The York Dispatch. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.