Speedway businesses hope profits soar ahead of Red Bull Air Race

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — Speedway business owners are hoping for soaring profits with the Red Bull Air Race this weekend.

About 65,000 people raced to the track throughout last year’s inaugural air race weekend. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway staff said this year’s race will generate millions of dollars for the local economy.

The owners of Barbecue and Bourbon, a Speedway restaurant on Main Street, said they stocked up with about 50 percent more supplies this weekend.

Owner Marcia Huff said it’s another opportunity to show people that Speedway is good for more than just a day in May.

“The opportunities and how good Speedway has been to us and the neighborhood people, it’s just been wonderful,” Huff said.

IMS has been ramping up efforts to draw people to the west side in recent years.

In 2015, the Rolling Stones became the the first band to ever play the speedway outside of a race weekend.

Last year, IMS started selling tickets to see their holiday “Lights on the Brickyard” display.

“It’s not just about how we impact our own bottom line. We want to make sure we’re impacting the greater community’s bottom line,” IMS President Doug Boles said.

Boles said attendance at this weekend’s air race events will be down slightly from last year’s inaugural crowd. He said it’s common for attendance to dip in the second year of an event, and he expects attendance to rise from here on out.

Nathan Persons, an Indianapolis man who’d never heard of the Red Bull Air Race, said he saw the pilots practicing above the speedway and is now considering buying a ticket.

“You see the stunts on TV all the time, and it’s pretty neat,” Persons said. “I’ve never been to one personally so I think it would be pretty interesting.”