Thursday, April 14, 2011

INDY 500 Winners to take Legendary Drive before race

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced yesterday that they will have former legendary race champions and cars pacing the track prior to 2011 race. Below is the press release. IndyCar Garage’s reaction to this: WOW, this will be cool and exciting to see.


INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - Legendary Indianapolis 500 champions Mario Andretti, Arie Luyendyk, Bobby Rahal, Johnny Rutherford, Al Unser, Al Unser Jr. and Bobby Unser each will each drive a winning car from "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" around the fabled Brickyard oval during pre-race ceremonies at the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29.

The participants, with the years of their victories and the cars they will drive on Race Morning:

•Mario Andretti (1969): The Boyle Maserati that won in 1939 and 1940 with Wilbur Shaw.

•Arie Luyendyk (1990, 1997): The No. 30 Domino's Pizza Lola/Chevrolet Indy in which Luyendyk won in 1990. Luyendyk averaged 185.981 mph, which stands as the race record.

•Bobby Rahal (1986): The No. 14 Miller that won in 1928 with Louis Meyer.

•Johnny Rutherford (1974, 1976, 1980): The No. 4 Pennzoil Chaparral/Cosworth in which Rutherford won in 1980. The car is affectionately nicknamed "The Yellow Submarine."

•Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987): The No. 82 Lotus-Ford that won in 1965 with Jim Clark. This is the first rear-engine car to win the "500."

•Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994): The Blue Crown Spark Plug Diedt/Offy that won in 1947 and 1948 with Mauri Rose.

•Bobby Unser (1968, 1975, 1981): The No. 8 National that won in 1912 with Joe Dawson. The car features a second seat for a riding mechanic, which will be filled by Unser's wife, Lisa, on Race Day.

The drivers are thrilled to bring history to life for Race Day fans.

"I think it's a great honor to be able run Jimmy Clark's car," Al Unser said. "We were teammates in 1966, so to be able to go back and drive one of his cars that he won with I think is absolutely a great thing."

Said Al Unser Jr.: "To drive a car of a great race car driver, Mauri Rose, who was truly the best in his era, is going to be very exciting and memorable. It's something I won't forget for the rest of my life."

The 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 starts at noon (ET) May 29. Live coverage on ABC and the IMS Radio Network starts at 11 a.m.

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