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High Hopes for Hauler Parade

Photo provided by IMS

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — Race fans and business owners along Main Street in Speedway are watching the Thursday skies warily, hoping they won’t see a repeat of Wednesday’s downpours.

They’re eager for the return of an event they’ve waited several years to see.

A “Hauler Parade” of NASCAR’s top teams is set to roll back into town.

Race team semis parked on Main Street, Speedway, Indiana (Photo from IMS)

“Racing is in our DNA,” Speedway Town Manager Grant Kleinhenz told WISH-TV. “Any time we can celebrate that is exciting. It shows our pride and our connection to the industry.”

In the parade, semi drivers for racing teams bring colorful trailers full of cars and gear through the town’s streets in a celebration of the upcoming “Brickyard Weekend.”

The parade was once a signature event ahead of each year’s Brickyard 400. But a dramatic change of strategy at the track and the demands of the pandemic put the parade on hold.

Fans in line to see NASCAR hauler (Photo from IMS)

The Brickyard 400 is gone. The last NASCAR race on the oval was in 2020. Since then, IMS, NASCAR, and IndyCar have reinvented the event as a weekend of races from both series, all of them on the road course.

Pandemic restrictions that dramatically curtailed events like the parade are over, too, allowing the traditions to pick up again.

As Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles puts it, “There’s no better way to launch Brickyard Weekend.”

Plans include a DJ, race-themed activities, photo opportunities, and two full hours for fans to get an up-close look at their favorite driver’s hauler.

Young Fan at Hauler Parade (Photo from IMS)

For business owners, it’s a chance to showcase their wares and the dramatic changes that Main Street has seen in recent years. The once-sleepy stretch now bustles with restaurants, shops, racing teams, the Dallara factory, A.J. Foyt’s Wine Vault, and more.

Speedway is more than a decade into the Main Street revamp, but it’s still evolving. Town Manager Kleinhenz says a breakfast-and-brunch restaurant, a specialty liquor store, and a race-themed gift shop have all moved in over the last year.

“Whatever you want, we’ve got it for you on Main Street,” he said.

The Hauler Parade starts at 5:00 and wraps up at 7:00.