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.
According to Dave Moroknek, CEO of MainGate Inc., the locally based firm that handles licensing and retail sales out at the Speedway, merchandise sales has been up more than 10 percent each day over the same day last year.
“We’re seeing some very nice gains,” Moroknek said. “The centennial is definitely bringing people to the track.”
Observers at the track said crowds for Fast Friday and both qualification days were up over last year.
Hot retail items, according to Moroknek, include anything Danica Patrick related, especially autographed items; die cast Hot Wheels cars and somewhat surprisingly, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter items.
“Tony Kanaan is our No. 2 selling driver behind Danica,” Moroknek said. “And Ed Carpenter is at No. 3, which is somewhat unexpected.”
Kanaan and Andretti Autosport parted ways after 2010, and the Brazilian driver landed a last-minute deal in March to drive a third car for KV Racing. 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 is making more 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.”
This post will be updated this afternoon with a complete list of the top 10 selling IndyCar drivers in terms of merchandise sales this May.