Richmond business groups push for NASCAR ticket sales

Several local leaders are urging business owners to buy tickets to the two NASCAR races in Richmond or run the risk of losing one or both.

"As wonderful as it is to host this semiannual sporting spectacular, we must not become complacent or take this for granted," the letter said.

It asked that owners consider buying four tickets and keep buying them year after year.

The letter is signed by the heads of four local organizations: the Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, Richmond Sports Backers, the Greater Richmond Chamber and Retail Merchants Association. Henrico County Manager Virgil R. Hazelett also signed the letter.

The letter writers use Baltimore, St. Louis and Montreal as examples of cities that lost pro franchises in part because of a lack of local fan support.

"We are not in crisis mode," the letter says, "but we are declaring a call to action."

Doug Fritz, president of Richmond International Raceway, credited the business leaders for reaching out to their constituents to build support.

"They realize how important Richmond International Raceway and NASCAR are to our community and they recognize the widespread economic impact that is generated each and every year — not only in our region, but in Virginia as a whole," he said.

Attendance dropped at both races held this year from 2009. September's race had 95,000 people attending, compared with 108,000 in 2009. May's race drew 93,000, compared with 100,000 in 2009.

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