SPEEDWAY, Ind. — After a year without Indy 500 fans, Speedway non-profits believe they lost fundraising dollars totaling in the hundreds of thousands. This year those efforts are returning as fans come back to the track.
“Several groups, several businesses shut down for 2, 3, 4 weeks,” explained Gary Raikes, vice president of the Speedway Lions Club. “All of them opened back up, some didn’t necessarily make it.”
Campers are already moving into the parking area for the Speedway Lions Club. All proceeds from those sales go toward local charities and non-profits. A survey from the Speedway Exchange Club showed area non-profits lost an estimated $270,000 without the fans and festivities at last year’s Indy 500.
“The whole motto of the Lions is to serve, and the way they serve is raise money and putting that back to the community,” detailed Raikes.
Upstate New Yorker Bill Powell drove nine hours to Indy to watch the race this year. He and his family are the first ones to camp in the Lions Club lot this week.
“It’s like a donation, so it’s awesome,” said Powell. “Been coming here for 30 years, this is our spot. There’s a family across from us, and we see them every year. We exchange food.”
This Friday, the annual Rockin On Main concert and festivities will return to Speedway. Proceeds from the event will go to help area non-profits.