IMS, Speedway businesses welcome thousands of fans for weekend racing events

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — This weekend marks the first time this year that fans are in the stands for live racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s good news for them and for businesses that have been struggling this summer in the town of Speedway.

This is Summer Liampetchakul’s first time at the track since the coronavirus pandemic began months ago.

“I feel really excited. It does feel super odd, because there aren’t a lot of fans here, not as much as like we’re used to seeing,” Liampetchakul, a racing fan, told News 8 on Friday.

At the gates, everyone that comes in gets a temperature check. Inside the track, signs remind people to wear a face covering and be socially distanced.

And fans are split up into two spectator zones of up to 5,000 people each. Eduardo Rocha also claimed one of those socially distanced seats.

“From what I’ve seen, we’ve been walking around Gasoline Alley, and by all of the garages. Everybody’s pretty much following all the precautions, and doing pretty well at it,” Rocha, a racing fan, told News 8.

Outside the track on Main Street at the Foyt Wine Vault, general manager Ashlee Nemeth said she thinks this weekend’s racing events will be a boost for businesses around here.

“I’m hoping for the best for this weekend. Hopefully we’ll be a lot busier. I get a lot of good feedback on Facebook and Instagram about people wanting to stop in and they’re coming for the Harvest GP race, even though they’re only letting around 10,000 people in,” Nemeth said.

The wine vault is one of 15 Speedway businesses coordinating with the Speedway Chamber of Commerce to offer fun contests and sell pumpkin-themed items to fans to celebrate the racing events that started on Friday.

“With this promotion going on for Main Street, in Speedway, I think is going to help a lot,” Nemeth said.

Back at the track, Liampetchakul feels like all of this will have a positive impact on Speedway and Indiana’s economy.

If you are heading to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, make sure you check out the IMS Plan Ahead Guide for the weekend of events.