SPEEDWAY, Ind. — It turns out GMR Grand Prix winner Rinus Veekay was not the only one claiming a victory this weekend. Businesses in Speedway enjoyed the kind of race-day foot traffic they’ve long been waiting for.
“As a business owner, it just makes you feel less stressed. Let’s put it that way, because if you don’t see business and people spending money, basically, we are stressed out a lot,” explained Gerardo Rios, who owns Tacos and Tequila on Main.
The GMR Grand Prix was expected to bring 25,000 fans to the area. That number could more than quadruple come the Indy 500.
Bars and restaurants spent the pandemic in survival mode just so they could make it to events like race weekend. Spots we spoke with say they have all their staff members working, and they are looking to cash in. Given the struggles of the past year, it’s hard to blame them.
“It’s been solid. We expect six times this for the race,” expressed Mark Fodor, general manager at O’Reilly’s Irish Pub and Restaurant. “Now we are up to the point we have done everything we can. Bring it on!”
Now these businesses have their eyes set on the coming weeks. Next up is the Indy 500 qualifier on May 22. Speedway business owners believe that weekend may be bigger than this one.