SPEEDWAY, Ind. — On the wall of Barbeque and Bourbon in Speedway sits a clock counting down every second till the next Indy 500 officially starts.
”A lot of customers that’s the first thing they say, ‘Oh, that’s so cool,’ said Michelle Harris, a bartender at Barbeque and Bourbon.
The TV below the clock is always showing an old Indy 500 race. On Friday it was the race from 2009, the 93rd running of the Indy 500. Helio Castroneves won his third of four victories in that race.
“We keep that rolling throughout the whole day,” Harris said.
The 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 is just 100 days away. Restaurants and bars are already looking forward to May 28, 2023 and the days leading up to it.
”There is a level of excitement and the weather definitely plays into that, we’re having those days of 63, 65 degrees that hype us up even more,” said Donna Cozad, one of the managers at Dawson’s on Main.
She said the people of Speedway make the hundreds of thousands of visitors feel at home.
”The lead up to it is the best part because we get to meet a variety of people. There are always new people that are coming into town,” Cozad said. “A lot of our regulars make the outsiders, as we call them, feel very welcome here. So our community plays a big role in our success.”In the weeks before the 500, Harris said they’ll see the most customers all year. “It gets really busy in here, it’s packed,” she said. Harris said the week of the Indy 500 last year was her best week on the job at Barbeque and Bourbon.
“That week especially leading up to the 500 was the best money I have ever made,” she said.
But the most exciting aspect is meeting people from all over the world as they watch the clock tick down.
“That’s my favorite part of my job is finding out where people are from,” Harris said.
IMS is hosting a 100 days out fan party Friday evening. The event is free but IMS President Doug Boles said all the tickets were claimed just minutes after it was announced.
As for the race itself, Boles said ticket sales are already looking better than this time last year.