TUNKHANNOCK TOWNSHIP — Party in the Poconos 400 will be held Sunday. But as we all know far too well, the real party at and around Long Pond starts well before that.
Thursday night, businesses welcomed all the fans who flocked in from all over.
Looking to make a quick buck, NASCAR souvenir vendors are camped out here at the off ramp of Interstate 80 onto Route 115 near Fern Ridge.
With plenty of race fans pulling in, merchants are set up along to road to Long Pond.
An RV carrying friends just rolled in from western Pennsylvania and say they`ve been coming for decades.
“Since 1978 was my first race down here,” said Brad Zediak of Dubois “It`s the closest race we have to home so we figured we`d come down and been coming ever since.”
Most of these fans are repeat customers, as NASCAR followers are known for their loyalty.
Michelle Cheek came in from New Jersey to party at the Party in the Poconos 400 once again.
“I love it, been here like eight times and we just brought our neighbor. She`s never been to a race track. She`s never been to a car race. We had to make her pick a driver. She`s never heard the roar. She`s never heard the roar,” said Cheek.
Debbie Goodman is that first-timer and it`s clear she`s revved up to hear that roar.
“I’m very excited, I can`t wait,” Goodman said. “Carl Edwards, number 99, Subway, back flips.”
And all these extra bodies in the area mean big bucks for businesses including bars and restaurants such as Woody`s, which is just a few minutes from the track.
“It`s a massive influx of business because we have both the vendors, the people who are doing the work and operations at the race track as well as people coming in all over the place.”
One thing is for sure. Race week is good for business. It`s good for fans. And it`s just simply a good time for all.
“It`s the fan experience. The excitement, the cars, good time,” said John Wheler.
Employees at Woody’s say while they’re sorry to see the wet weather. They hope the rain will bring people out of the track and into dry bars and restaurants this weekend.