Auto Club Speedway

NASCAR

Speedway: Nearby operations benefit from annual Auto Club 400 event
Fontana: Stop is a boon for the local service industry
Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/22/2013 06:55:36 PM PDT
Updated: 03/22/2013 10:52:46 PM PDT

Rosa’s Italian Restaurant was quiet Friday afternoon, but assistant manager Melissa Herzog was sure business would pick up after dark.

Friday, after all, was the first day of Auto Club 400 Weekend and NASCAR’s annual arrival to the region is a big deal for hoteliers and restaurateurs.

“There’s a nice buzz,” Herzog said, referring to the servers who as of Friday afternoon were looking forward to the weekend crowds. “Rosa puts out race flags and they sign them.”

The “Rosa” in that sentence is restaurant owner Rosa Ricci. The “they” would be the NASCAR drivers who Herzog said frequent the Ontario eatery while in town. Rosa’s employees can generally expect drivers to show up for a meal, but they don’t necessarily know who will be there until they walk in the door.

“They don’t put a reservation in the driver’s name, but the driver shows up,” Herzog said.

Rosa’s Italian Restaurant is but a short drive from L.A./Ontario International Airport, in the heart of the city’s cluster of hotels and in a prime position to capitalize on an event like the Auto Club 400. Ontario’s business community is not alone in enjoying a boon when NASCAR is in town.

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