It'll be a landmark running for the Indianapolis 500 later this month, as the event celebrates its 100th anniversary as the premier open-wheel racing event in America. All of which only gave some fans more reason to be ticked off when Donald Trump was announced as this year's pace car driver.
Annoyed by political implications detracting from the spirit of racing, many fans were up in arms when Trump was announced as the official pace car driver, evidently prompting the celebrity businessman and possible presidential candidate to change his plans. In his place, organizers at the Speedway have invited none other than A.J. Foyt to drive the Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible that will serve as the official pace car. As a four-time Indy 500 winner, Foyt is among the most decorated drivers ever to lap the Brickyard, and his nomination will surely come as more welcome news to the legions of open-wheel devotees.
In related news, two drivers better known for their formula racing activities overseas will make their Indy debuts at the 500 this year. One of them is Scott Speed, the last American to race in Formula One. Speed shifted over the NASCAR after things didn't pan out in F1, until Red Bull dropped his sponsorship last year. Given his experience in open wheels and oval tracks, Speed may find a new home at Indy.
Also making his Indy debut will be Ho-Pin Tung, who will become the first Chinese driver to contest the Indianapolis 500. Tung is a reserve/test driver for Renault F1 this season and has contested such feeder series as GP2, A1GP and Superleague Formula. Both he and Speed will be driving for Jay Penske's Dragon Racing team and will be eligible for the $5 million bonus available to drivers from outside the series should they overcome the insurmountable odds to claim the checkered flag and drink milk in victory lane.