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Buick GS Nationals rolling into town
By Jim Gaines
Bowling Green Daily News
Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Rumbling engines and squealing tires of the 24th annual Buick GS Nationals will carry thousands of visitors into Bowling Green all this week, filling hotels, restaurants and gas stations on the way to Beech Bend Raceway Park.
The first few fans rolled into Bowling Green a day or two early, said Dallas Jones, owner of Beech Bend.
“It’s going to be somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 people here, when it’s all said and done,” he said. “The car show alone will have between 700 and 800 cars.”
Buick fans will probably pump close to $1 million into the local economy, said Gary West, executive director of the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“They come in here and probably stay longer than any other event,” he said. “They pretty much sell out the town Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There are some events that have become bigger, but they don’t last as long.”
Only four rooms at the Holiday Inn University Plaza – which event organizers list as “secondary host motel” – were occupied by Buick fans Sunday night, but they may fill 60 by the end of the week, hotel manager Colleen Viter said.
“They started coming in on Sunday,” she said.
Most major tourism draws fill local businesses only on weekends, said Chris Sweeney, manager of the Best Western Motor Inn. But Buick events at Beech Bend will run from 8 a.m. into the early evening throughout the week: drag races, a swap meet, safety seminars, a major car show Friday and a big race Saturday.
“They probably add two to three more nights than the average group would do,” Sweeney said. “I’d say probably 50 percent of our business this week will be Buick folks.”
Weather forecasts for the rest of the week call for some thunderstorms on and off through Friday, with rain chances running between 20 and 40 percent all week. If rain continues, some locals who usually come may stay away, Jones said. But that won’t affect the visiting fans, who fill hotels and restaurants.
“The weather has some bearing on how many people will show up,” he said. “But we know we’re going to have the out-of-town folks here. They’re going to be here no matter what.”
Buick GS Nationals have been a staple of Bowling Green tourism business, with one exception. After an unpleasant stay in 1998 – facing foul weather and competing events at Beech Bend – GS Nationals organizers took the gathering to Columbus, Ohio. That departure clearly showed how much business Buicks bring to town, Sweeney said.



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HAD A 71 BOATAIL RIV, ONE OF THE FUNKIEST RIDES I HAD. GREAT TO SEE GM GIVING BUICK SOME MUCH NEEDED DOLLARS. WISH I COULD BE AT THE "GREEN"
 

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I'm going to Bowling Green tomorrow. :D I hope the Velite is there. It would be awesome if Buick brought it to display, like they did with their Blackhawk concept.
 
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