A.J. Foyt, the first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, will drive the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Pace Car at the 100th Anniversary race Sunday, May 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Foyt replaces Donald Trump, who had been previously announced as the celebrity driver but who withdrew yesterday, citing schedule conflicts owing to his prospective presidential bid.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Foyt's first Indianapolis victory, in 1961. Foyt also won as a driver in 1964, 1967 and 1977 and as a team owner in 1999 with Kenny Brack driving.
Houston native Foyt also will mark his 54th consecutive Indianapolis 500 as a driver or team owner this year, an unprecedented span. He made a record 35 consecutive starts as a driver from 1958-'92 and led a record 13 races. He also completed 12,272.5 career miles in the race, another record.
"Since I won my first Indy 500 50 years ago, I had hoped to still be racing in it, but driving the pace car is the next best thing!" Foyt said. "Seriously, racing has always been very important in my life – it's been my life – and the Indianapolis 500 is the most important race in the world. I lived for that race. When I got hurt in racecars, I always made it back for Indy because it is that important. That's where people know me from – Indy. So being asked by my good friend Mari George to drive the Chevy Pace Car for the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500 – well, I couldn't have a bigger honor come from the Speedway and the Hulman-George family."
"We're very happy to welcome A.J. Foyt as the driver of this beautiful Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Pace Car at the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500," said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and CEO. "A.J. is one of the greatest and most beloved drivers in the 100-year history of the race, a true icon. I'm one of the millions of Foyt fans worldwide who can't wait to see A.J. back where he belongs, out in front of the '500' and leading the field to the start."
Joining Foyt ahead of the Indianapolis 500 field on one of the parade laps will be Addison Brown of Scottsdale, Ariz., who will drive a special-edition Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible 2011 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car replica that she won at the Barrett-Jackson auction Jan. 22. Chevrolet donated Brown's winning bid of $225,000 to the David Foster Foundation, a charity devoted to supporting families with children in need of life-saving organ transplants. David Foster, the 16-time Grammy-winning music producer and songwriter, founded the organization in his native Canada.
Foyt also will be honored Saturday, May 28 on A.J. Foyt Day at IMS. He will participate in a question-and-answer and autograph session with fans. Video highlights of Foyt's incredible career also will air on the video boards located around IMS throughout the day.