INDIANAPOLIS — Typically, in the days leading up to the Indianapolis 500 the Speedway Lions Club would have about 40 members working in the Coke Lot as race fans pull in to camp out for the weekend.
With no fans at the race this year, their largest fundraiser is canceled.
Born and raised in Speedway, Vincent Noblet looks forward to Indy 500 race weekend every year.
"I am sad. I miss it," Noblet said. "I grew up here. I love the race."
Noblet is on the board of directors for the Speedway Lions Club. The Coke Lot is where he joins dozens of others every year to greet fans. It's a fundraiser that typically brings in several thousand dollars for the organization.
"We have race fans from all over the country coming in starting on Thursday before the race, parking their campers and getting everything secure for the race," Noblet said.
The money the Lions Club raises during Indy 500 weekend helps award scholarships to Speedway High School seniors and allows them to serve the community at several events throughout the year.
"The race weekend really makes or breaks the Lions Club for the year in funds," Noblet said.
"We have a race family across the world. We always joke that we are a town of 12,000 people but we invite our closest 300,000 friends and family members for the month of May," Kelly Turner, director of communications for the Town of Speedway, said. "We are asking if you have been to Speedway, if you left Speedway, if you have a special place in your heart for our town we would love a contribution to the effort here to relieve some of the stress on these non-profits."
The Exchange Club of Speedway has set up a donation section on their website to help fill the gap this year. Money will be distributed to organizations that are hurting right now throughout the town.
The Town of Speedway estimates the loss for non-profits alone this year is $272,000.