New Welcome Center Opens at Pocono Raceway

POCONO RACEWAY -- Tens of thousands of race fans come to Pocono Raceway a few times a year to see the action on the track. There's a new effort to convince them to do more in the Poconos than just root for their favorite driver.

The new Pocono Mountains Activities and Welcome Center will allow race fans to learn what is happening inside -- and outside -- the track.

It will be run by members of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau.

Some fans got a sneak peek of the place before next month's race.

Inside the new Pocono Mountains Activities and Welcome Center, there's a lot to see and do. The new building opened inside the track at Pocono Raceway.

Jamie Schmeelk brought her children to take a look around at the official opening.

"It's definitely important for us. We are always trying to find new activities to do here and having a boy and girl, trying to meet both their needs. He comes to see the cars and racers, and for her now, she has coloring," said Schmeelk.

The center will be open during race weekends. There will be daily activities for both children and young adults.

Officials with the track and with the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau say this is an important partnership.

"We are building a hub here in the infield and when our fans arrive, they are going to have a ton of things to do," said raceway president Ben May.

"We really wanted to find a way that we can educate all of their visitors on all the other things you can do in the Pocono Mountains and all their other members, so and we really like the fact that they started catering to families and kids. We thought it was a great fit and that is why we are here," said Brian Bossuyt, Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau.

The goal of this new addition is not only to let people know what is happening inside of the track, but also give them an idea of what is happening outside of it, too.

Staff from the visitors bureau will have an area set up where guests can learn all about the Pocono Mountains.

"Tourism is a big part of our community and we really want to educate them that we are a pretty big surrounding area with four counties," Bossuyt said.

"I think so often people come to the raceway and then scoot back. 60 percent of our fans are coming from out of state, so we want them to stay," May added.

The first NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway is scheduled for June 2.

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