SPEEDWAY, Ind. — It’s the start of a fun weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, fans enjoyed qualifying Friday before a tripleheader of races gets going on Saturday.
”They have three races in one weekend, that’s fantastic,” said Doug Fowler, an Indy local enjoying qualifying races on Friday.
It’s the first time fans are back at IMS since the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.
”I love all of it, everything about it, the drivers, the cars, everything,” said Lisa Fowler, a huge racing fan and Doug’s wife.
For some, this Brickyard weekend is a bigger deal than the greatest spectacle in racing.
”I’ve been to every Brickyard and one 500,” said Terry Wisner, a racing fan from Michigan.
Saturday will be the Penzoil 150 and Gallagher Grand Prix. Sunday will feature the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard.
The Brickyard may not touch the crowd size of the Indy 500 but it is a unique experience.
”I’m excited that the only place you can see it in the world, NASCAR and IndyCar, same track, is right here,” said IMS President Doug Boles.
This is the second time IMS has been able to do this tripleheader with fans. Boles said it’s a way to freshen up the weekend by putting it on the road course.
”The good news is our numbers are up a little bit over last year, so not only are we not declining we’re actually growing a bit,” Boles said.
Boles said he is expected 60,000 fans Sunday for the NASCAR race and a little less Saturday for IndyCar. An added bonus for fans planning to head to IMS this weekend is the weather, Boles expects it to attract a few extra fans, as well.
”I would anticipate we get some pretty good walkup tomorrow and Sunday because of the weather,” Boles said.
Walk ups are exactly who Lucas Culp over at Famous Soda and Candy Company in downtown Speedway is looking for.
”We have a lot of vintage stuff, people come in all the time and are like, ‘I haven’t seen this since I was a kid,'” Culp said.
Along with the candy and sodas from the past, the store also has plenty of racing memorabilia. From vintage signs to model cars, it has quite the selection for fans and thrives on race weekends.
”The weekends are great,” Culp said. “We get a lot of foot traffic, especially tourists and people that are coming to see the race, just to stop in and they always walk out with something.”
From fandoms that are decades long to brand new, Boles sees this as a weekend to bridge two separate genres of racing.
”If you’re an IndyCar fans it gives you a good way to experience NASCAR and if you’re a NASCAR fan it’s a good way to experience IndyCar,” Boles said.
Two things to remember for this weekend, IMS merchandise and concessions are cashless and kids 15 and younger get in free with an adult.