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Restaurant, liquor store serve nonstop crush of customers on Indy 500 Carb Day

Local businesses flooded with customers

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — Businesses on Friday found themselves busy as they geared up for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

Charlie Browns Pancake & Steak House on Main Street in the town of Speedway near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was jammed-packed with every table occupied.

Debbie Keith has served food for almost four decades, and the month of May is her favorite time of year. It’s like a reunion of old friends coming together. “I get excited because there are people who come here once a year, and I’ve seen them every year for 37 years.”

Keith snaked between customers with several plates in hand. “It’s very busy today so it’s kind of wonderful.”

Scott Andrew is an annual customer at the restaurant. It’s his 28th race, and he’s been coming to the restaurant as part of his tradition. The Indiana native said race weekend “feels like a holy place, a sacred ground, the best weekend in the year.”

The restaurant staff members say they expects to feed thousands of people during Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday, the restaurant had over 500 customers.

Meanwhile, a worker at Pitstop Liquors said Friday was busier than the 100th running of the Indy 500. The liquor store has been on Crawfordsville Road near the track for over 40 years.

Cashier Pam Meritt said of the influx of customers, “It’s kind of nonstop. They just line up at the door very polite, and they’re out the door. It’s very exciting.

Merritt says the weekend’s profit equates to a usual month’s worth of profit.

Customer Andria Baumgartner says she drove from Chicago to make it to the annual Carb Day. “Friday is the greatest spectacle on Earth. This is the beginning of the big party. Sunday is the little ride. This is ‘the’ big ride.”