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OFF TO THE RACES: WERE EMPTY SEATS SPOTTED AT INDY 500?
Published May 27, 1998
Memorial Day weekend's racing schedule saw the 82nd running of the Indy 500 on Sunday, the CART Motorola 300 on Saturday and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night. In Indy, Robin Miller wrote that for the "first time in my 35 years at IMS, empty seats were noticeable on race day." While IMS, in traditional fashion, gave no attendance figure, Miller puts his "unofficial estimate" at around 290,000, down from the usual 330,000 to 350,000. Miller added that while it is "still the largest gathering in motorsports," interest in the Indy 500 "continues to decline" (STAR-NEWS, 5/25). In Cincinnati, Tom Groeschen wrote that Indy "still can claim to be the largest one-day sporting event in America" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/26). AT GATEWAY: In St. Louis, Christopher Carey reports that racing teams and fans who came to Saturday's Motorola 300 at Gateway Int'l Raceway spent "about" $6.7M at hotels, restaurants and other businesses in the area. The total impact of the race, including the "multiplier effect," will bring $16.9M to the local economy over three days, a 12.7% increase over last year's race. Saturday's attendance was around 60,000 (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/24).