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Speedway residents prepare for Race Day

(As Seen on WISH)

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — Track neighbors young and old on Friday said they love the sight of people coming to town from around the world to watch the race.

At his home near Speedway Drive, Johnny Bland put fresh mulch in his planting beds and trimmed bushes. He lives with his wife and young son in a home he bought three years ago. He said he still remembers the thrill of seeing the crowds arrive for Race Day that first year.

“We’re only about a 10-minute walk but it’s still neat to see people park down here on your street to make that trip down to the track,” he said.

Bland said his home has become the focal point for family gatherings throughout the year. He said his family and friends love getting to hear the noise from testing and practice sessions.

A few blocks from Bland’s house, John Riczo and his daughter, Regina, finished hanging up their banners and posted the American flag. Riczo said he moved to the neighborhood near the speedway 50 years ago. He said the parking situation has gotten a little easier for the locals since parking spaces were installed along Main Street some years ago. He said he looks forward to seeing the race fans every year.

Riczo says they’re always cordial.

“If you don’t enjoy the crowd or the noise or the track, you should have never moved here in the first place,” he chuckled.

The speedway has always been part of Gloria Snyder’s life. Now in her eighties, she was born and raised in Speedway and has lived within a mile of the track almost her entire life. Like Bland, Snyder’s home has become a place for the whole family to gather for a cookout after every race. She said sometimes it’s easy for people who live near the track to take it for granted. When she travels and tells people where she’s from, she said people are always stunned.

“I don’t have a special word for it. It’s just a good time and it’s something that happens once a year and I would miss it,” Snyder said.