News & Multimedia

Hayden Remembered as Fan Favorite, Talented World Champion at IMS

2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden never won a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but “The Kentucky Kid” still was one of the most popular, talented and respected racers on two or four wheels to compete at the Racing Capital of the World in the last decade.

Hayden, from Owensboro, Kentucky, passed away May 22 from injuries suffered when he was struck by a car while cycling May 17 in Rimini, Italy, where he was preparing for the next round of the World Superbike Championship. He was 35.

“Everyone at IMS mourns the loss of our friend Nicky Hayden,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “When you met Nicky, you immediately felt you had known him for years. His humility and sincerity always made genuine connections with everyone, as he truly was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet in racing. Nicky was a tireless ambassador for MotoGP at the Speedway and a passionate supporter of all events at IMS.

“When MotoGP first came to IMS in 2008, we soon learned family and his beloved Owensboro meant everything to Nicky. We offer our thoughts, prayers and condolences to his parents, Rose and Earl; his fiancée, Jackie; his brothers, Tommy and Roger; his sisters, Jenny and Kathleen; and to all his friends, teammates and legions of fans around the world. He will always be remembered fondly at IMS.”

Hayden raced in six of the eight Red Bull Indianapolis GP events at IMS from 2008-15, competing for Repsol Honda, Ducati and the Aspar Racing Team. He finished on the podium in his first two starts at IMS, placing second in 2008 with Repsol Honda and third in 2009 with Ducati. He missed the 2012 race due to a broken hand suffered in a crash during qualifying and the 2014 race due to a wrist injury.

“The Kentucky Kid” was arguably the most popular rider during MotoGP’s eight-year run at IMS, rivaled only by his good friend and seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi. Hayden’s trademark No. 69 was seen on hats, T-shirts and banners everywhere at IMS, and big crowds flocked to fan forums in the infield to hear his self-effacing, funny answers to questions in his inimitable Kentucky twang.

Hayden also worked eagerly and often to promote the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, visiting the track and meeting media and racers from IndyCar and NASCAR during the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and other events.

In 2008, Hayden was the centerpiece of two of the most memorable promotional activities in recent IMS history. He eagerly donned a period-specific leather cap, goggles, IMS sweater, knickers and riding boots to turn the first laps on the newly paved IMS motorcycle road course on an Indian motorcycle that competed in the first motorized race at the Speedway, in 1909. A month later, he rode a long, smoky burnout down the front straightaway and across the Yard of Bricks on his high-revving Repsol Honda, carrying an American flag, during pre-race ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500.

View Photo Gallery of Hayden Over The Years at IMS

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Nicky Hayden
 
Hayden Remembered as Fan Favorite, Talented World Champion at IMS
2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden never won a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but “The Kentucky Kid” still was one of the most popular, talented and respected racers on two or four wheels to compete at the Racing Capital of the World in the last decade.
Read More
Related Media
Day 9
 
Top 10 Moments of 2017 - #9: Ken and John
DeLion, in his 23rd year on the Safety Patrol, continued to work at the track in his customary spot at the south pit gate even though he was diagnosed with colon cancer in late 2015. He learned that Andretti was at the track in early May of this year, and he told a writer interviewing him that he wanted to meet John and encourage him.
Read More
Day 10
 
Top 10 Moments of 2017 - #10: Prill Breaks Through
Stories flowed freely, like the sweat and tears of the winners, as America’s most prestigious amateur racing event, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs came to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time Sept. 25-Oct. 1.
Read More
#IMSLights
 
12 Days of IMS De-Lights Bringing More Holiday Cheer to Indy
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will make this year’s holiday season extra memorable for Lights at the Brickyard attendees, with a special new “12 Days of IMS De-Lights” promotion that starts Dec. 13 and runs through Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.
Read More
Turkey at IMS
 
10 Reasons for Every IMS Fan To Be Thankful
Thanksgiving is a time for family, for introspection about the route of our lives since last November and for counting blessings. It’s no different for fans of racing and of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. So here are 10 things every IMS fan can be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
Read More
Lights at the Brickyard
 
Expanded Lights at the Brickyard Open Now through Dec. 30 at IMS
Lights at the Brickyard, the popular, drive-through holiday display that debuted last year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, opens Friday evening, Nov. 17 to provide warm memories for families at the Racing Capital of the World.
Read More
Items 9 - 13 of 166
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day: https://t.co/yKQ6Db3YRK
May 21
 
We've created a new webpage that will help even an #Indy500 first-timer enjoy Race Day like a pro! Check it out:… https://t.co/kB4UhMmAKR
May 21