FFA Members Enjoy Tour Of IMS Hall Of Fame Museum, IRL

Thursday, October 23, 2008

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While the month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway belongs to the "yellow shirts" - the highly visible members of the IMS Safety Patrol, the month of October belongs to the blue jackets.

With more than 50,000 blue jacket-clad youth in Indianapolis on Oct. 22-25 for the National FFA Organization convention, thousands of them made their way to the world's most famous racetrack.

The kids, who are among more than 500,000 FFA members in 7,000 chapters, had the opportunity to tour the Hall of Fame Museum and take a bus ride around the 2.5-mile oval. As part of a series of Career Success Tours to a variety of Indianapolis-area business such as Dow AgroSciences and Eli Lilly, 100 members took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Indy Racing League and IMS Productions offices.

"We wanted to come and see what Indianapolis is about, and this is a huge part about it," said Kendra Kelley, a junior from Franklin, Ky., who is nationally ranked in Ranch Riding by the American Ranch Horse Association. "We loved it; it was a great tour. I liked going into the audio room because you see how much work goes into all the commercials and videos."

For Rowan Alexander, a sophomore from Rhode Island who hopes to become a large animal veterinarian, climbing into an IndyCar Series show car was the highlight.

"(I started watching racing) when I was a little kid, watching with my grandfather, and it just continued," she said. "This is my first time to Indy, so this was exciting. It was actually a surprise to me. My advisor got the tickets to this tour, and so she was telling us about the events for the week and told us about this, and I was like, 'That's wicked cool.'"

Winding through the Indy Racing League and IMSP offices, the students got a grasp on the business and competition sides of racing, the league's emphasis on safety, use of 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol and a sneak peak at feature videos being produced for the Championship Celebration Nov. 5 in Las Vegas.

The Indy Racing League also had a booth and simulator set up at the convention center.

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2009 IMS tickets: Tickets for the three world-class events in 2009 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - the 93rd Indianapolis 500, 16th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and second Red Bull Indianapolis GP - can be ordered online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com at any time.