Indy 500 to supercharge Indianapolis economy

Fri May 27, 2016 3:59pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 has supercharged the local economy, putting the event on track to cash in on what is hyped as the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing'.

For the first time since Ray Harroun nursed his Marmon Wasp to victory in 1911, the Indy 500 was declared a sellout on Wednesday setting cash registers into overdrive as thousands of motor racing fans flooded into the greater Indianapolis area for a week of high-octane partying.

Indianapolis is no stranger to big events having hosted the 1987 Pan Am Games, 2010 Final Four and 2012 Super Bowl but none pack a bigger economic punch than the Indy 500.

While the Super Bowl poured an estimated $178 million into the local economy, the Indy 500 has traditionally dwarfed that.

The last study commissioned by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in 2000 pegged the Indy 500 economic impact at $336 million.

With close to 400,000 fans expected to pack the Brickyard on Sunday, and swarm souvenir and concession stands, a record haul seems certain.

With the centennial race sold out and hotel rooms as scarce as a horn on an IndyCar, Indianapolis is primed for a sizzling Memorial Day holiday weekend on and off the track.

"It is safe to say that this year's 500 will be record breaking in terms of economic impact and the number   Continued...

May 27, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; The 33 IndyCar Series drivers pose for a group photo during Carb Day for the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports