By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Race fans shouldnt fret over fuel
Supplies expected to be sufficient
Julio Williams with the Dyson Racing Team fills a tank that will be used to fill one of the team's Porsche RS Spyders during a practice session at Road Atlanta for this weekend's Petit Le Mans sports car race. - photo by Tom Reed

Georgia's gas crunch may have subsided just soon enough for thousands of visitors pouring into Hall County this weekend.

With heavy traffic expected in the Braselton area for the 11th running of the Petit Le Mans auto race Saturday at Road Atlanta, local merchants and the racing series' president were optimistic that fans won't be faced with a fuel crisis.

Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series, said in a statement that the news reports of recent fuel shortages in the Atlanta area were not expected to have an effect on attendance for the race, which last year drew an estimated 100,000 people.

"While fuel stations around Road
Atlanta and surrounding areas have experienced some supply limitations, we know such instances have been sporadic in nature and should not alter the plans of those considering attendance at Petit Le Mans," Atherton said. He noted that the latest news reports and statements from the office of Gov. Sonny Perdue "indicate a steady increase in supply, with expectations of being back to business as usual by Thursday or (today) - great timing for us."

Said Randy Bly, a spokesman for AAA Auto Club South: "I do not expect it will be perfect this weekend, but the availability of gasoline will be much improved."

Managers of two gas stations near the track said Thursday their gas pumps were open - without a wait.

Tom Sheffler, manager of the Pilot station on Ga. 53, said the company is dispatching extra fuel tankers to his station this race weekend to handle the expected increase in demand.

"We're running trucks from wherever we need to run them to make sure these fans are taken care of," Sheffler said. "They do a lot of business with us, and we want to make sure they have confidence in us."

While there could be some waits at the store's eight pumps, "I don't think we're going to have any major issues," Sheffler said.

At the BP Amoco station on Ga. 211, manager Tricia Turner said her suppliers also have made a commitment to keep the tankers coming.

"They made the comment that they wanted to make sure we had enough gas for the race," Turner said.

On Wednesday, the station was pumped dry of 6,100 gallons in eight hours, Turner said. A new supply arrived overnight, and at one point Thursday morning there were just two cars at the store's eight pumps. Turner said it looks as though the fuel crisis storm may have passed, judging from what she's seen on the road.

Many of the motorists descending on Road Atlanta will be in diesel-operated RVs. Diesel fuel supplies have generally not been affected in the recent gas crunch.

The race car drivers won't have to worry, either. As part of the racing series' new "Green Challenge" alternative fuels initiative, three race teams are running sulfur-free diesel, while the rest of the teams will be fueling up with ethanol blends.