SPEEDWAY, Ind. - All the action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week is drawing big crowds to the town of Speedway. Police say they are ready to monitor all the activity and protect fans as well as the people who call the area home.
The checkered flags are hanging from nearly every business along Main Street in Speedway as the Indianapolis 500 gets closer. The heart of Speedway is quickly growing with new restaurants and homes now under construction. The development means more foot traffic for the big race events. Speedway Police say they plan to plan to have a continued presence throughout race week to ensure everything runs smoothly.
The staff at Tacos and Tequila, a restaurant on Main Street, are gearing up for their first race weekend.
"We are super happy and excited about this place," said Gerardo Rios, owner of the restaurant. "We are going to be super busy."
Rios said he is ramping up his staffing for the days ahead as visitors start filling the area.
"We are prepared for this," Rios said.
Just across the street, a construction crew is working on a large apartment complex with a view of IMS.
The development along these blocks is clear to those tasked with protecting the town.
"A lot more places for people to eat and hangout so the crowds that we see on Main Street have grown two-fold," said Capt. Trent Theobald, from Speedway Police.
There is a focus on keeping Speedway a safe, family-friendly environment.
"We pay attention not just to Main Street, not just the track, but we have a town we are here to protect as well," Theobald said.
While Theobald won't reveal the exact number of cops that will be out this week, he did say people will see different agencies.
"You have so many different law enforcement agencies that come out every year to help with the Indianapolis 500," Theobald. "Between our federal, state and local agencies, it’s one big cooperative effort."
Speedway Police are also asking for the public's help and emphasizing the message "see something, say something" as thousands of visitors roll through.
"If you see an officer, any public safety official, please let them know you see something that doesn’t look right," Theobald said.