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Oct 3, 2001

AMA Race Weekend At VIR Drew 25,000 Spectators

Copyright 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>According to VIR Public Relations Coordinator Laura Comstock, the three-day paid attendance for the September 27-30 Virginia International Raceway Lightning AMA Superbike National was 25,000, with 15,000 people passing through the gate on Sunday.<BR><BR>Although the attendance was a pleasant surprise for organizers, the relative smoothness of the race weekend was no accident. VIR staffers--including Comstock and co-General Managers Jack and Vicky Abbott--attended several AMA Nationals at other venues throughout 2001, gathering input. "We have to thank the staffs from some of the other facilities that we visited because they were very helpful to us," said Comstock on Tuesday, October 2. "Everything went very smoothly. The AMA, Ron Barrick especially, Chet Burks Productions, the teams, the riders, everyone was so easy to work with. And the spectators were just awesome. We didn't have any problems with any spectators, and the campers left this place so clean you wouldn't believe it."<BR><BR>The track also expects increased sales of membership in the VIR Country Club. "Later this month we will have our grand opening of the Country Club itself," continued Comstock. "The TV time we got on Speedvision and Fox Sports Net was invaluable. There are so many people that don't even know that we are open yet. Now they will have an opportunity to actually see the facility and see how nice it is. I know I plan on staying up as late as I have to tonight to watch the races on Speedvision."<BR><BR>And what about those much-talked-about mini-still trophies? "Connie Nyholm (co-developer of VIR, along with Harvey Siegel) came up with the concept for the trophies. She has a brother-in-law, L.B. Nyholm, that is a steel worker in Sweden. So the metal part, the actual steel part, was crafted in Sweden. The little jugs were also hand-crafted by a local artist, Vicky Vaden. I thought they were quite unique and, from an artist's standpoint, quite valuable. We can't even say how much they cost because L.B. hasn't even billed us for them yet. He is a big motorcycle enthusiast and may not even charge us for them.<BR><BR>"The next thing for us is to spend this week going over the spectator surveys that we handed out and figure out where people came from for the event, how they heard about it, what they liked and didn't like, and start planning for next year."<BR><BR>Using the 2000-season attendance figures as listed in the 2001 AMA Pro Racing media guide for comparison purposes, VIR's three-day attendance of 25,000 would have ranked the race as the seventh-best-attended event behind Laguna Seca, Daytona, Road Atlanta, Mid-Ohio, Loudon and Road America; and ahead of Brainerd, Pikes Peak and Willow Springs. <BR>