Pace Car Driver Announced
Apr 1 - For the first time in 102 races, a
President of the United States is going to
be driving the pace car in the Indy 500.
President Donald Trump was asked by
the Hulman organization if he would
consider driving the pace car in this
year's 500 mile race.
Trump visited the Speedway today and
agreed to the Memorial Day driving duty.
|Most recent news is at bottom of page.
This photo is from 2011 when Trump was actually going
to be the pace car driver! Things didn't work out though
as you can read from the article below:
That time Donald Trump nearly drove
the Indy 500 pace car
by Will Higgins, indystar.com May 23, 2016
Five years ago at the Indianapolis 500, Donald Trump was
to play a prominent role. But things did not go as planned.
On April 5, 2011, Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials
announced that Trump would drive the pace car. The
speedway had a history of celebrities driving the pace car.
TV broadcaster Robin Roberts, for instance, had driven
the car the year before. Trump, of course, was a celebrity,
the star of NBC's "The Apprentice" as well as a famous
real estate developer.
But Trump was just then becoming more than a celebrity.
Mulling a 2012 presidential run, he was emerging as a
champion of the "birther" movement. President Obama
"doesn't have a birth certificate," Trump told Bill O'Reilly
only days before the pace car announcement. "He may
have one, but there is something on that birth certificate -
maybe religion, maybe it says he's a Muslim."
Two days later Trump said on NBC that Obama's citizen-
ship issue could be "one of the greatest scams in the
history of politics and in the history, period."
In Indianapolis outrage came swiftly. Anti-Trump letters
to the editor arrived at IndyStar containing words such as
"embarrassment," "shamefulness," "a ridiculous celebrity
figure." A Facebook page popped up urging Trump be
On April 27 Trump went further. He voiced suspicions
about the president's education: “The word is, according
to what I’ve read, that he was a terrible student when he
went to Occidental. He then gets to Columbia; he then
gets to Harvard. … How do you get into Harvard if
you're not a good student?”
And again his remarks drew rebukes.
On May 1 Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric
Dyson said on "Face the Nation" that "skepticism about
black intelligence and suspicion about black humanity
have gone hand in hand throughout the history of this
country in feeding the perception that black people don't
quite measure up."
Two days later the Baptist Ministers Alliance of Indiana-
polis urged the speedway to rescind its offer to Trump.
"A groundswell of pressure is starting to build on Indiana-
polis 500 officials to dump Donald Trump as pace car
driver at this month's race," IndyStar reported in a May 3
The 500 Festival Parade found itself dragged into the
ruckus. "The traditional invitation to the Indy 500 pace car
driver to participate in the parade is a long-standing one,"
said festival representative Megan Bulla. But, she added:
"Please let it be clear that participation by any respective
pace car driver, or anyone riding in the parade in any
capacity for that matter, would never suggest that we
agree with nor endorse their personal or political views."
On May 5, Trump bowed out of the pace car job. He
cited his busy schedule. "Business constraints make my
appearance there, especially with the necessary practice
sessions, impossible to fulfill," Trump said. "I look
forward to watching the race from New York."
The next day talk show host Rush Limbaugh weighed in.
He blamed Trump's ouster on "some local lawyer who's a
Democrat fundraiser, operative, hack, or what have you"
for "raising holy hell about Trump being a divisive figure."
Limbaugh was referring to Michael Wallack, a lawyer,
longtime Indy 500 fan and self-described liberal Democrat,
though Wallack said he is not a Democrat fundraiser. The
Carmel resident started the Facebook page, which by race
day had 17,000 likes.
Wallack said he suspected the Facebook page had a lot to
do with Trump not driving the pace car, but he said he
"never heard a peep from the speedway or from Trump."
A.J. Foyt, a four-time Indy 500 winner, took Trump's spot
in the pace car.
Three-time champion Johnny Rutherford, who trains the
celebrities on how to drive the pace car, said last week that
he had no memory of nearly having to work with Trump.
But five years ago he expressed relief at the Donald's bail-
"I was sweating that a little bit," Rutherford had told
IndyStar, because Trump, a New Yorker who travels in
the back seat of limousines, "doesn't drive anywhere."
"I trained a lot of pace car drivers, and there was a tinge of
liability there," Rutherford had said. "If they messed up, I
was the one that trained them."
Indy 500 Festival Car Revealed
Apr 6 - 50 identical Camaro Hot Wheels® 50th
Anniversary Edition convertibles were delivered on the
main straightaway at IMS. for the 2018 Indy 500.
The “Festival Event Cars” have reminded Indianapolis-
area residents of the upcoming Indianapolis 500 since the
1960s, and this year’s fleet of unique Camaros again will
turn heads as they are driven around Central Indiana.
The all-new Camaro will be available on 2LT and 2SS
coupe and convertible models. The Hot Wheels edition
500 Festival cars are based off the 2018 Chevrolet
Camaro 2SS convertible and are powered by the LT1
6.2-liter V-8, which offers 455 horsepower and 455
pound-feet of torque.
The exterior of the car features crush exterior paint,
satin graphite stripes with silver ice metallic accents and
graphite ground effects, 20-inch satin graphite wheels
with milled face, a Hot Wheels fender badge, front and
rear orange brake calipers, dark taillamps and a black
The car also features jet-black leather-appointed interior
with orange inserts and orange accent stitching, a suede
steering wheel with orange accent stitching and a Hot
Wheels® 50th Anniversary badge, illuminated door sill
plates with a Hot Wheels® 50th Anniversary badge,
premium carpeted floor mats with orange stitching and
ghost stripes, and orange knee pads and seat belts.
Pace Car Duties for Oriol Servia
Apr 6 - When first approached to drive the pace car at
IndyCar races, Oriol Servia was conflicted. On one
hand, he was honored to be asked. On the other hand,
he still has some racing left to do.
Servia is already signed to compete in the Indy 500 next
month in an alignment between Rahal and sportscar
operation Scuderia Corsa. Other racing opportunities
could develop for the 43-year-old from Spain during
the remainder of the 2018 season, but he has agreed to
a part-time run as the series' pace car driver, beginning
with Saturday night’s Phoenix Grand Prix.
Servia and Sarah Fisher, who has driven the pace car
at IndyCar races since 2016, will split the duties for the
rest of the season. Fisher shared the duties with
Indycar champion Johnny Rutherford in 2016, then
took over full time last year. Growing family and
business obligations have necessitated that Fisher step
back from the full-time role.
Servia credited Rutherford, a three-time Indy 500
winner, with developing the pace car duties into a role
of ambassador for the sport, something Fisher carries
In nine previous Indianapolis 500s, Servia has two
finishes in the top six – a fourth-place effort for
Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing In 2012 and a sixth-
place showing after starting on the front row for
Newman/Haas in 2011. He has been in 202 career
|Johnny Rutherford & Sarah Fisher
500 Parade Grand Marshals
Apr 16 - The theme for this year's 500 parade is:
"Illuminate. Innovate. Indianapolis."
Abby Abel and Mitch Bonar were surprised when they
were selected yesterday to lead the 62nd annual IPL 500
The selection of this year's honorees will illuminate the
good work being done by Indiana high school and
college students every day in communities around the
state as well as tell the story of the innovation happening
from within Indiana, a state that is leading the field of
Abel is a 2015 Carmel High School graduate and was a
star player on Carmel High School's girls' basketball
Bonar is a 2015 Noblesville High School graduate and
was born with cerebral palsy.
The two became best friends in high school when they
joined their school's Unified Track and Field team. It
joins people with and without disabilities on the same
team to compete. They also worked to develop a
program to help athletes and friends to stay connected
after high school.
Abel is now a junior at Purdue and plays on the women's
basketball team. She also helped to organize the Play
Unified Basketball Tournament at Purdue.
Bonar is a student at Ivy Tech and travels the state as
part of the Champions Together program, speaking to
thousands of Indiana high school students.
Together, they are working to shatter the stigma and
perception against people with disabilities.
The 500 Festival used to use celebrities for the parade
grand marshal, but changed to more inspiring local
|Mitch Bonar and Abby Abel
102nd Indy 500 Pace Car
Apr 19 - The 2019 Corvette ZR1 is the official Pace Car
for the 2018 Indianapolis 500. It marks the 15th time a
Corvette has served as the official Pace Car. No other
vehicle has served as the Pace Car more than the
The 2019 Corvette ZR1 Pace Car features:
• LT5 small block 6.2L supercharged V-8 engine with 755-hp and 715 lb.-ft. of torque
• 8-speed 8L90 paddle-shift automatic transmission
• ZTK Performance Package, which features a stanchion-mounted adjustable carbon-fiber high rear wing, Michelin
Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and performance suspension
• Magnetic Selective Ride Control™
• Brembo® Carbon Ceramic brake system
• ZR1 chrome-aluminum wheels: 19-inch front and 20-inch rear
• Standard Performance Traction Management and Electronic Limited-Slip Differential
• Unique Indy 500 graphics package
• GM Design fully-integrated safety strobe system
• Performance Data and Video Recorder
The Corvette ZR1 Pace Car can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 2.85 seconds and reach a top track speed of 212 mph,
the fastest Corvette in history.
Notes from F1 Race at Azerbaijan
April 29 - Some contact at turn 2. Then Raikonnen hit
Ocon as they went thru a turn (3?). Ocon is out.
Sergey out too – has some front end damage. Kimi pitting
as he has front end damage.
Alonso has a puncture right front from it too – he pits, new
Sirotkin went in hard to t2 and hit force india, but nothing
really happened, but Hulkenberg cut across Sirotkin,
damaging his tire.
Safety car lap 2-5
Vettel leads both Mercedes. Next, Hulkenberg between
the two Red Bulls.
Lap 11 – Hulkenberg hit the wall! Pulls over and is out of
race! And Magnussen in last – my two picks. Hamilton,
in 2nd, just set fastest lap
Lap 18 – Raikonnen seems to have lost his auto DNS, he’s
Lap 20 – Vettel has over a 4-second lead over Hamilton
Lap 22 – Hamilton hit brakes hard – lost 4 seconds – he
Lap 27 – Verstappen passed Riccardio after first being
passed by Riccardio
Lap 31 – Vettel pits , Bottas takes over lead
Lap 35 – Riccardio passed Verstappen, Bottas still in lead
over Vettel and Hamilton.
Lap 43 – Grosjean drives into wall from 6th place while
following safety car! WTH?!
Lap 46… Safety car
Lap 48 RESTART – Vettel locks up and falls back to 4th,
with both Mercedes in front followed by Raikonnen
3 laps to go, Bottas in the lead, falls out with a rear puncture!
Hamilton inherits lead. Raikonnen 2nd.
Sergio Perez moved up to 3rd, but had to serve a 5-second
penalty – but he retains 3rd.
Lap 39 – Verstappen pits.
Lap 40 Riccardio late breaked and ran into the back of
Verstappen – both cars out!! They were in 4th and 5th.
Corvette Pacecar Collection to be
Apr 22 - An Indiana man plans to sell his collection of
Corvette Indy 500 pace cars.
Keith Busse, 74, is auctioning off the 16 cars next
month during Mecum Auctions' spring sale at the
Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
The collection includes cars from 1978 to 2017.
"What he has done is something that nobody else has
done," said John Kraman, who does television
commentary for Mecum. "We do a lot of (auctioning) of
collections, but this one stands out because you combine
an extreme passion with a very narrow focus and a
specific vision for assembling a collection that can never
The collection will be offered as a single lot. It will only
be split if it doesn't sell for the desired price, he said.
Shank Racing Adds Partner
Apr 6 - Michael Shank Racing, based in Columbus Ohio,
began racing in the Toyota Atlantic series in the 90s. In
2004 they entered endurance sports car racing. Last year
they started an IndyCar team, but competed in just 6 races.
This year, they are upping the number to 10 races. Their
driver is Brit Jack Harvey, who spent a couple years in
Indy Lights after coming to America.
Today the company took on a partner - local Hoosier and
CEO of XM Radio, Jim Meyer. The race team retains
the same initials, but will now be called Meyer Shank
Meyer has long been a fan of racing and has attended the
500 for decades. He has looked for ways to enter the
series, but it wasn’t until he teamed up with Harvey and
Shank at last year’s 500 that he found his way in.
“Michael and I are very different people, but he really
impressed me with what he has done to build this
organization and some of the risks he took along the way,”
Meyer said in a news release. “I knew early on that he
was the kind of person that I wanted to partner with, and
I really respect what he has done. We share the dream of
winning the Indianapolis 500 and I’m really excited to be
working towards that with Mike.”
|Jack Harvey and Michael Shank
|Jim Meyer at his Alma Mater