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IMS President Doug Boles Shares Favorite Moments of 2016

2016 was an amazing year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and it couldn’t have been that way without the support, passion and energy that race fans have for IMS! For that we are sincerely thankful.

As we quickly close in on 2017, I thought it might be appropriate to recall 16 of my favorite moments from this historic year! These are clearly not all of the memories I will take away from this awesome year and they are not in any particular order. So, here we go:

Fans
350,000+ of them converging on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to help celebrate the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in person!

Indy 500

Slinging Dirt
No better way to celebrate Tony Stewart’s last race at IMS than with a ¼ mile dirt track. He loved it and so did we! We didn’t know it then, but the best part was getting Tony Stewart and Bryan Clauson on the track together one last time!

Legends Last Lap
I love it when cool things happen that aren’t planned. Jeff Gordon unexpectedly competed in the Brickyard 400 again and Tony Stewart arranged for a Tony and Jeff side-by-side celebration lap when the checkered flag flew! Two Hoosiers. Two racing legends!

Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon

Midnight on the Bricks
One of the best evenings I have ever spent at IMS! Ringing in 100 days to the 100th running with over 1,000 IMS fans on the Yard of Bricks at midnight!

A Local Boy Leads
Okay, this one is more personal! But, Conor Daly passing Helio Castroneves for the lead on a restart at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis (now known as the INDYCAR Grand Prix) was a moment I won’t soon forget. I was standing with fans near the spectator mound at road course Turn 2 when the crowd erupted in cheers. I looked up and saw the #18 leading into Turn 3.

100th Running 100th Lap Leader
Having a short tracker lead the 100th lap of the Indianapolis 500 was pretty special in and of itself. However, now knowing it was Bryan Clauson’s last run at Indianapolis makes it even more special.

Bryan Clauson

Honoring Heroes
Anytime I can thank an active service man or woman or a veteran it is a special moment. These are true heroes. But getting to shake hands with Hoosier veterans who were survivors of Pearl Harbor was humbling! #America

WWII Veterans

America’s Mom
We didn’t know that the 2016 Indianapolis 500 would be pre-race fixture Florence Henderson’s last visit to IMS. I’m glad we asked her to be the Grand Marshall for the 100th Running so we could all thank her and let her know how important her participation has been to the moments leading up to the green flag.

Running on Empty
It wasn’t the ending we would have predicted, but it was every bit as thrilling as a side-by-side dual to the checkered. Alexander Rossi defying the odds and managing his fuel to be the first American rookie winner since Louis Meyer in 1928 has to be on everyone’s 2016 IMS moments list!

Alexander Rossi

FAA Controlled Airfield
Seeing planes, take off, land and hangar inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a spectacular site. And, the racing was pretty impressive also.

President’s Pin
I had President’s pins made that I gave out to kids when I saw them at the track as a way to thank them and to hopefully further engage them in our sport. Every moment interacting with kid is time well spent for the future of IMS.

Elevators to the Top
For the first time in our history, IMS offered elevator access to the Paddock Penthouse level for those requiring wheel chairs. I spent quite a bit of time talking to customers during practices and race days about the experience. The smiling faces were priceless and those interactions were some of my best conversations all year.

Window Cleaning
Having the Borg Warner Trophy emblazoned on the side of the JW Marriott hotel in downtown Indianapolis made a statement about the special connection between the 500 and the city of Indianapolis. But seeing the 75,000 square foot graphic from the window washer as I rode up the side with Sports Graphics owner Frank Hancock was pretty impressive!

Borg-Warner Trophy

Speakers Balcony
Getting to spend the day with the Borg-Warner Trophy on Capitol Hill promoting the 100th running in Washington D.C. tied my love for history and politics with my love for IMS. In addition to stops in many representatives and senators offices, we got to stand, flanked by the Borg, on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s balcony overlooking DC.

Lights at the Brickyard
IMS is our Christmas in May. So, it is only fitting that we put lights on the track to celebrate the real Christmas season! Happy Holidays!

Comeback Kid
Just like most 500 fans who were following this year’s action, I thought the final moments of qualifying were epic. Josef Newgarden – a great story himself – was holding off the challenges as drivers were taking last runs to be the 100th running pole sitter, when James Hinchcliffe, coming back from life threatening injuries in May 2015, made his run and captured the top starting spot as qualifying ended.

James Hinchcliffe

As I said, there are many other memories. But, it is 2016, so I’m just offering up 16.

Thanks again for caring about IMS, attending our events and helping make 2016 one of the best IMS racing seasons in our history. Wishing you a Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you for another unforgettable racing season in 2017!

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