Poconos expect economic boost from IndyCar announcement

Published: 6:31 PM EDT Oct 01, 2012   Updated: 5:47 AM EDT Oct 02, 2012
IndyCar race expected to bring business to Poconos

Racing already pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into our region, and Monday's announcement that IndyCar racing is returning to Pocono Raceway could mean even more money for the area.

It's a long way from New York, but Brooklyn Bridge Bagels sits in the shadow of Pocono Raceway.

"Pretty excited about the race," said owner Raymond Behrman.

Berhman is happy about Monday's announcement from the track. IndyCar racing will return to Pocono -- the so-called "Tricky Triangle" -- next summer, after a two decade absence. The track will host a nationally-televised race on July 7, part of a new "triple-crown" of races that could net a driver a $1 million purse.

"Huge announcement today," said Pocono Raceway president and CEO Brandon Igdalsky.

And not just huge for the track, but for area businesses. Various studies estimate Pocono's existing races, which include two NASCAR Sprint Cup events, pump more

Spike Rogan led a three-year online effort to bring IndyCar back to Pocono.

"You'll get fans all over North America -- from Canada, from Indianapolis, from California, Florida, coming to see the series," he said.

Analysts noted that events don't just attract fans, but race teams as well. Each driver can bring up to 25 crew members with him.

"They need hotels, they need restaurants and all that," said racing legend Mario Andretti, who lives in Nazareth.

"The economical impact that we have on any local area that we put on a race is -- it's significant, added Beaux Barfield, president of the Izod IndyCar series.

But back at Brooklyn Bridge Bagels, Berhman doesn't expect a huge spike in sales. He said that's partly because Pocono Raceway now offers many more of its own concessions on-site.

"They have more things for the kids with the parents to do than they did have before, but we still get people coming in for breakfast," he said.

Track leaders believe two things are working in this race's favor: it's on July 4 weekend, when lots of tourists are already in town, and tickets are just $25.

Tickets for the July 7 race are available on the Pocono Raceway's website.