The Chamber of Commerce in Speedway, Ind., is looking for a nice economical boost this year, with the first annual "Super Weekend" coming to town with the 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR Sprint Cup Race this weekend.
The event will include the NASCAR Nationwide Series race the day before the Sprint Cup race, along with GRAND-AM Road Racing. Practice and qualifying for the Sprint Cup race is Saturday. The Nationwide race had previously been held at Lucas Oil Raceway.
"It is exciting for our small town to have this coming," said Connie Harris, executive director of the Speedway Chamber of Commerce. "We have so many visitors coming in for this historical event. Several businesses, such as gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, see a huge economic benefit."
Harris said many residents also benefit by charging race fans to park on their lawns. She said there are also some non-profit agencies running parking lots as fundraisers.
"Everyone benefits across the board," Harris said. "In the past, it's been just a short weekend for visitors to come in. This year, we think it will be more of a week-long event like the 500."
Harris said the Hauler Parade on Thursday is a fairly unique event. The trucks that carry the race cars will park in two lines on Main Street, between 10th and 15th streets, from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday. She said that they "only do this in a couple of NASCAR cities."
Harris said all of revamping work along Main Street can only contribute to the town's economic benefits.
"Both (the Indy 500 and the Brickyard) are bigger than the Super Bowl," Harris said. "With Speedway only being four square miles, that is great, even though we know that not all of the impact is in Speedway."
The Indy 500 and the Brickyard, combined with the Moto-GP race in August, provides Speedway with a nice boost every summer.
Harris said they are concerned about the dry conditions this year as a lot of race fans camp out.
Traffic, of course, is always a concern for such a large event. The Speedway Police Department will be closing Georgetown Road and 16th Street to all vehicular traffic during the running of the Sprint Cup race on Sunday for at least an hour prior to the race, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., until the end of the race.
For more information about the "Super Weekend," visit the website at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/brickyard400.
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