SPEEDWAY, Indiana (NEXSTAR)– Each year as the best IndyCar drivers in the world compete for the Indy 500 title, millions of people turn their attention to Indianapolis.
There will be beefed up security at the The Indianapolis Motor Speedway in wake of the bombing in England.
The sign there reads Indianapolis Motor Speedway but it sits in the center of Speedway, Indiana. A small town with a quaint, but revitalized, Main Street where racing is everything.
“The month of May is the best month ever. It’s like Christmas for race fans,” said Lynn Attkisson, Speedway Resident.
Speedway’s Lynn Attkisson is one of thousands there who lives and breaths racing.
“You can see his support right on his front porch, others deck out their porches with checkered flags and other racing décor with the sights and sounds of the track just steps away,” said Attkisson. “I can hear it from my bed.”
On race day, upwards to 400,000 people gather in and outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, many not even realizing it’s within a small town of just 12,000 people.
“Speedway is a town within the city of Indianapolis. We’re completely surrounded by the city,” said Jacob Blasdel, Speedway Town Manager.
Almost like the Vatican City of racing, but instead of a pope, there’s Town Manager Jacob Blasdel.
“This is my first month on the job and I can already tell you and see how much planning goes into this,” said Blasdel.
The partnership between IMS and the Town of Speedway is vital to making the race run smoothly and racing supports the town’s economy year around. Former drivers have opened up businesses and there’s even a boutique, Three Sisters and a Trunk, that sells only checkered clothing for the month of May.
“Right here in Speedway, we love it,” said Attkisson.
But the town and track leaders can’t do it alone. It’s the people who call Speedway home, who fill in the gaps. From being track workers, called yellow shirts, to providing parking on their own front lawns.
“My property is a pretty decent size for Speedway… I reserve most of my driveway for motorcycles… I park cars. I let people camp,” said Attkisson.
It’s a community effort, lead by, supported by, and made for fans to enjoy the greatest spectacle in racing right here in Speedway, Indiana.
A little history for you, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway does pre-date the Town of Speedway. The track was built right here in 1909. It wasn’t until 17 years later that the original owners of the land decided to create a residential area to compliment the industrial development there. Now Speedway has it’s own police department and school system. And their high school mascot is the Sparkplugs.