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After a year of pandemic restrictions, Speedway's Main Street is coming to life ahead of Indy 500

Fast cars, sunshine, and race fans are the life blood of Speedway.

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — After a dismal year and a struggle to survive, Indy 500 fans are coming back to the small town of Speedway.

Fast cars, sunshine, and race fans are the life blood of Speedway. In a typical year, they bring tens of millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of fans to the small town.

"It's wonderful. So wonderful. Life is returning to normal a little bit." said Jan Monteith.

Main Street businesses are clawing their way back to life after a brutal year with no race fans and plenty of pandemic restrictions.

"They shut down for two to four weeks. Some of them shut down and came back and shut down again and didn't reopen and closed," said Gary Raikes, Speedway town councilor. Raikes went on to say that he is seeing a resurgence on Main Street.

Friday morning, businesses looked busy heading into the popular qualifications weekend.

How busy is busy? Every bar and restaurant owner or manager we tried to talk with was too busy to talk.

Credit: WTHR

This year, race day will have less than half the normal number of fans, "only" about 140,000. Although a lot of them are expected to spend money at Speedway businesses, but Chamber of Commerce executive Connie Harris is realistic.

"They are not going to make the same amount of money as they have in the past," she said.

However, they ought to make a lot more than last year when Main Street was anything but busy.

While walking down the street, Harris couldn't help but notice. 

"I see thriving businesses. I see people committed to the community and I see excitement for something close to a normal month of May," she said.

Credit: WTHR

"Normal" is bigger than just making money. It's a winning attitude. Marie Hall has been in business here for decades.

"I feel good. It's good to see people smiling," she said. "It's good to see things closer to normal."

With the Indy 500 is still more than a week away, the town of Speedway is already feeling like a winner.

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