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Wheldon Tribute Shades to be Given at The 500

9:44 PM, May. 22, 2012 | Written by Cathy Kightlinger |
These sunglasses will be offered to Indy 500 fans on raceday in tribute to the late Dan Wheldon.

 Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials today released the first pictures of the white sunglasses they’ll be giving Indy 500 race fans in tribute to the late Dan Wheldon.

When they slip on the shades, which say “celebrating Dan Wheldon” on the sides, they’ll imitate Wheldon — the popular, fashionable racer who won the Indy 500 for a second time last year and then died in a horrific crash in October in Las Vegas.

Race fans will be asked to put on the sunglasses, which look like a pair of Wheldon’s favorites, during prerace festivities and again during the race on Laps 26 and 98 — the numbers that correspond with the numbers of Wheldon’s Indy 500-winning cars.


IndyGo’s race weekend routes change

12:46 PM, May. 22, 2012 | Written by Dana Hunsinger Benbow |

Everything you need to know about IndyGo and Race Day Weekend.

Pre-Race Day

Starting Wednesday until Saturday, the race-related events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway could, depending on traffic and street access, put the following west side routes on detour during peak travel times:  Routes 3, 15, 25, 30 and 38.

IPL 500 Festival Parade – Saturday

The parade will affect all fixed routes in the downtown Indianapolis area, resulting in the following bus stop closures:

Meridian Street from 30th Street to Ohio Street

Pennsylvania Street from 16th Street to Ohio Street

Ohio Street from Delaware Street to Capitol Avenue

Maryland Street and Pennsylvania Streetmore »

Test your knowledge of Carb Day headliner Lynyrd Skynyrd, and hear five songs that aren’t ‘Free Bird’ or ‘Sweet Home Alabama’

12:05 PM, May. 22, 2012 | Written by David Lindquist |
In 1976, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s lineup, from left, included Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Gary Rossington, Artimus Pyle, Leon Wilkeson and Billy Powell. Guitarist Rossington is the lone remaining member from this edition of the band. Vocalist Van Zant died in a 1977 plane crash. Collins died in 1990. Pyle exited the band in 1991. Wilkeson died in 2001. Powell died in 2009. (File photo)

Long-running Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd is the featured attraction at Friday’s Carb Day concert. Although tragedy struck Lynyrd Skynyrd when a 1977 plane crash killed vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backupsinger Cassie Gaines, a reconstituted version of the band has toured and recorded since 1987. Kid Rock inducted Lynyrd Skynyrd to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, saying, “To me, ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ is probably the greatest song ever written.” Take this 10-question quiz to test your knowledge of the trailblazing Southern rock band:

1. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s name was inspired by a man named Leonard Skinner. Skinner was:

A. A piano tuner.

B. A high school gym teacher.

C. A character in the novel “David Copperfield.”

D. A villain in the film “Barbarella.”more »

@Indycar fans get social media lounge

11:48 AM, May. 22, 2012 | Written by Dana Hunsinger Benbow |

Hey all you @Indycarfans. For the first time ever, there’s a social media lounge at the track.

It includes everything from driving simulators to a Twitter wall, where tweets with hashtags (like #Indy500) will roll across the wall.

You can even come in to use the five computers available for fans to check their own Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Quick! Send out a tweet on one and then check it out on the Twitter wall!more »

What’s the gas price to drive the Indy 500?

10:36 AM, May. 22, 2012 | Written by Dana Hunsinger Benbow |

And you thought your car was a gas guzzler.

The average Indy car whirling around the track Sunday for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 will get two to three miles per gallon.

Indianapolis Star

Its price tag to keep fueled for the whole race? $600 to $900.

All this comes from a report by Brent Schutte, vice president and head of innovative solutions at Harris Private Bank. Schutte just finished up a study on the Indianapolis 500 and the feasibility of alternative fuels.

Over the past few years, technological advances have allowed Indy car drivers to increase the fuel efficiency of their cars, he says.more »

Showing the World Indianapolis Style: Dress Up For The 500

5:16 PM, May. 21, 2012 | Written by Cathy Kightlinger |

Love a good fashion parade? Me too.

Annually, when the Kentucky Derby is run the first weekend in May, I’m always just a little jealous of the fantastic hats, dresses and suits I see on that other race’s fans.

So, as I started covering Indianapolis 500 festivities this year, I started to question why can’t The 500 have a distinctive style? It wouldn’t have to involve giant, fluffy chapeaus covered in feathers or floral dresses. It could be cooler, more racing-oriented ~ A little black and white. Some leather. A nice straw hat to keep the sun off. Maybe some skinny pants. A hip tie. That sort of thing.

That in mind, I asked stylish European IndyCar driver Katherine Legge to go on a shopping trip with me, showing what she would wear to the track if she wasn’t wearing a fire suit. We stopped by Broad Ripple’s 8Fifteen, and then popped into Macy’s, and she put together some great looks. (Check them out with my column on the subject: http://www.indystar.com/article/20120520/LIVING17/205200303/Indy-500-IndyCar-driver-Katherine-Legge-shops-Derby-styles-suitable-track)

So, this week, I’ll be looking for all of you Indianapolis fashionistas at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! It’s your turn to shine and make our city look good. Show up for race day in something thoughtful and interesting. And, Tweet pictures of yourselves to #dressupforthe500! Like the “Dress Up for the Indy 500″

IndyCar driver Katherine Legge looking stylish for The Indy 500.

Facebook page, too, and post pictures.

Let’s turn the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” into a great spectacle in Hoosier style, too.

A side note: too-small tank tops, too-short shorts and anything printed with obscenities isn’t going to get it. Sorry.

Questions: Tweet them to me @ckightlinger, e-mail me at cathy.kightlinger@indystar.com or post them on Facebook at “Dress Up for the Indy 500.”

Another ‘Super’ volunteer program

12:52 PM, May. 21, 2012 | Written by Dana Hunsinger Benbow |

How many volunteers does it take to put on the greatest spectacle in racing?

500 Festival volunteer Don Bruhn, right, tells students from Sacred Heart Elementary School in Fowler, about the yard of bricks and what happens at the finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Well. Almost as many as it took to put on that other little sporting event in Indy called the Super Bowl (8,000).

More than 7,000 men and women (lots of them in yellow or blue shirts) volunteer their time to make your IMS experience a good one.

On Saturday, 3,000 of those race volunteers were shown a little love.

Volunteer Appreciation Day took place in the Plaza Pavilion at noon. The 500 Festival staff, interns, princesses and board members  served up lunch.

It’s not too shabby of a volunteer program to be associated with.

In 2011, the 500 Festival Volunteer Program won a Gold Pinnacle Award for Best Volunteer Program from the International Festival and Events Association.

500 princess really has racing in her blood

12:41 PM, May. 21, 2012 | Written by Dana Hunsinger Benbow |

She may not have been crowned the Indianapolis 500 Festival Queen on Sunday.

But that’s OK. Katy Balch has been living the racing dream her whole life.

This 20-year-old from Terre Haute is the great-granddaughter of Louis Meyer Sr., who won the 500 in 1928, 1933 and 1936.

Meyer also started the tradition of drinking milk in Victory Lane, when he asked for a glass of buttermilk after his win.

Balch, who has only missed one Indy 500 in her life (when she broke her arm in 5th grade) said she has tons of great memories.more »

Purdue Student Taylor Adams is Indy 500 Festival Queen

12:23 PM, May. 19, 2012 | Written by Cathy Kightlinger |

Purdue student Taylor Adams, Indianapolis, was crowned the 2012 500 Festival Queen this morning at the Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by ProLiance Energy.

The event is held annually on Pole Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Taylor Adams (Photo provided by 500 Festival)

Adams, who is one of 33 picked for the 2012 500 Festival Princess Program, is a junior at Purdue University where she is majoring in public relations and advertising. She is a 2009 graduate of Ben Davis High School and the daughter of Cari Adams.

Erika Tishner of Elwood, a Graduate Student at Ball State University majoring in Architecture, and Audrey Putnam , of Bristol, who is a junior at Purdue University majoring in management, were chosen as 2012 Princess Court members, according to the 500 Festival.

Tishner is the daughter of Lisa and Ron Cole and Brett Tishner. Putnam is the daughter of Joel and Jean Putnam.

The 500 Festival Queen and Princesses attend 500 Festival events and volunteer throughout the month of May. They also are involved with statewide outreach programs. Princesses are also present at various Indianapolis Motor Speedway functions and participate in the Indianapolis 500 Victory Circle celebration.

As 500 Festival Queen, Adams receives a $2,500 educational scholarship from the Festival and WTHR Channel 13. Her jeweled crown is provided by G. Thrapp Jewelers.

Seven years of Carb Day arrest statistics

4:00 PM, May. 18, 2012 | Written by David Lindquist |

 A Carb Day concert attendee is heels over head as he flips over crowd-control railing at the 2011 event starring Staind and Papa Roach. (Matt Detrich / The Star)

A Carb Day concert attendee is heels over head as he flips over crowd-control railing at the 2011 event starring Staind and Papa Roach. (Matt Detrich / The Star)

It’s one week until Lynyrd Skynyrd plays the annual Carb Day show at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

An audience of 40,000 is expected to swarm the south end of the track’s infield on May 25.

During seven years of high-profile Carb Day concerts, some bands have inspired nudity in the crowd and others have inspired aggression.

But one thing is a given: Carb Day keeps the authorities on their toes.

2011: Staind, Papa Roach

13 public intoxication arrests

1 battery arrest

1 battery with injury arrest

1 operating vehicle while intoxicated arrest

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