With ticket sales for this year’s Indianapolis 500 at a five-year high, it’s not surprising merchandise sales are up also.
But it is surprising, with all the rain this May, just how much they are up, Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials said.
According to Dave Moroknek, CEO of MainGate Inc., the locally based firm that handles licensing and retail sales at the Speedway, merchandise sales are up more than 10 percent over last year.
“We’re seeing some very nice gains,” Moroknek said. “The centennial is definitely bringing people to the track.”
Hot retail items, according to Moroknek, include anything Danica Patrick- related, especially autographed items; die cast Hot Wheels cars; and, in a bit of a surprise, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter items.
“Tony Kanaan is our No. 2 selling driver behind Danica,” Moroknek said. “And Ed Carpenter is at No. 8, which is somewhat unexpected.”
Kanaan and Indianapolis-based Andretti Autosport parted ways after 2010, and the Brazilian driver landed a last-minute deal in March to drive a third car for Speedway-based KV Racing Technology. Carpenter was left in the lurch after Vision Racing folded last year, but signed a deal to run a partial season this year for the race team owned by the ever-popular Sarah Fisher.
Carpenter items are selling so well, Moroknek said, his firm made an additional batch of Carpenter-related products for race weekend.
“A lot of people seem to be behind Ed this year,” Moroknek said, “so we think there could be a big run.”
Though Speedway officials don’t release sales figures, motorsports business experts estimated that merchandise sales at the track this May were up more than $100,000 over last May.