BROOKLYN, Mich. (WLNS) — The Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR race kicked off Sunday afternoon at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, bringing an explosion of people who are ready to spend their money on food, lodging and parking.
With his signs out along the road, Robert Dunn hoped to fill his entire yard with parked cars.
“Anywhere I can fit cars, I’ll fit them. It is 20 dollars a day,” Dunn said.
Located right across from MIS, Dunn is cashing in on NASCAR coming to town.
“On a good year, you can make $500-600 a weekend. The local economy benefits a lot,” Dunn said.
You can see the proof of this by looking at the sea of cars and campers outside the speedway.
The majority of these fans do more than just watch the race.
Thousands of them also relax a bit with tailgating and camping, spending money at local businesses.
“We went to Kroger and got some stuff for the race. We’re supporting Kroger and local business, which is pretty great,” said Mike Fregal, a fan who came to MIS from Lansing.
Every time there’s a race in town, Poppa’s Place, a restaurant in Brooklyn can expect to see lots of hungry fans.
On a normal Sunday, this diner usually sees around 180 customers, but on race days, it’s hard to find an empty table.
“Maybe like 300 people,” said Manager Pedro Hernandez.
Hernandez said businesses in Brooklyn depend on this extra influx of cash every year.
“Very busy here. We thank all the race people for visiting us,” Hernandez said.
Michigan Lieutenant Governor Bryan Calley was at MIS today.
He says 2016 has already been a record year for tourism, and events like the Pure Michigan 400 help push us over the edge.
“It’s really a showcase of our flagship industries, we have the intersection of tourism and automotive. For Michigan, it doesn’t get any better than that,” Calley said.
The race also gets people into parts of Michigan they’ve never seen before.
“It makes you appreciate Michigan, that’s for sure,” Fregal said.