BLAKESLEE, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – NASCAR Cup Series is at Pocono Raceway this weekend for a double header. Drivers will be running 130 laps on Saturday and Sunday without any fans which is putting a hit on the local economy.
On any given year, thousands of race fans come to Pocono Raceway which puts hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy.
Over the next two days, NASCAR drivers will be hitting speeds of 170 miles per hour. But the caution flag is keeping fans from the tricky triangle.
“I’ve been coming to the races for the last ten, 12 years now, uh, and i haven’t missed a year,” said Peter Houck of Bucks County.
Traveling from Bucks County, Peter Houck still came to the Poconos. More than a month ago Governor Wolf told NASCAR they could run the races but with no fans.
The news is hitting local businesses even harder with COVID-19.
“The fact that we are only allowed 50 percent to begin with was going to affect us already. So, you know not having a fan base is it’s like a double whammy,” said Michael Dovidio, Owner of Chat N Chew Cafe.
Michael Dovidio owns “Chat N Chew Cafe” in Blakeslee and says business typically picks up the Monday or Tuesday ahead of race weekend.
The restaurant is usually packed.
“NASCAR and Pocono Raceway are doing the best they can with trying to promote the local businesses but you know, without the fans it’s tough. It really is,” said Dovidio.
Two industries not feeling an impact are campgrounds and hotels. The Best Western near the track is booked each race weekend. NASCAR Officials stay there.
At Peaceful Woodlands Family Campground, 60-percent of its NASCAR fans canceled their reservations.
“40 percent stayed. Uh some people are just coming here to be in the area to hear the race, to stream it live while they’re listening,” said Denise Depaul, Owner, of Peaceful Woodlands Family Campground.
Fans we spoke with near Pocono Raceway hope they will be able to feel the NASCAR excitement next year.