May 09, 2012  |   By Paul Kelly

IMS Hosts Green Flag Celebration On Monument Circle

A dazzling collection of vintage/classic automobiles will appear with Indianapolis 500-winning drivers Johnny Rutherford and Arie Luyendyk at the inaugural Green Flag Celebration presented by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 11 at Monument Circle in Indianapolis.

One of the many special events leading up to the 96th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27, the Green Flag Celebration will begin at 10 a.m. in the southwest quadrant of Monument Circle.
The second annual Celebration of Automobiles, which will take place on Opening Day at the track, Saturday, May 12, will feature an expanded lineup of events that continues to pay tribute to the rich heritage of automotive development at the track for more than 100 years.

Also appearing at the Green Flag Celebration will be 1974, 1976 and 1980 Indianapolis 500 winning driver Johnny Rutherford, along with 1990 and 1997 Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk. The Green Flag Celebration will conclude at 1:30 p.m. when WIBC Radio personality Ed Wenck waves the green flag and Rutherford, driving a 500 Festival Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, and Luyendyk, at the wheel of an IZOD IndyCar street legal two-seater, lead a caravan of COA automobiles led by a police escort from Monument Circle to IMS.

Welcoming remarks will be delivered at 11:30 a.m., when emcee Steve Simpson of WIBC Radio and Emmis Broadcasting, a promotional partner for the event, introduces Kirk Hendrix, Indianapolis 500 Festival president and CEO, followed by comments from Leonard Hoops, Indiana Convention and Visitors Center CEO, Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and CEO, and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.

A Vintage and Historic Car Show featuring some of the most beautiful and rare cars from 1920-70 once again will be the focal point of the 2012 Celebration of Automobiles, with an Emerging Tech Showcase also being integrated into the event. The new addition is an Automobile Festival, featuring hundreds of current and late model vehicles.

Tickets are still available for the Celebration of Automobiles Awards Dinner on Saturday, May 12 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown beginning with cocktails at 6:30 p.m.

One of the highlights of the dinner will be a lively question-and-answer session between legendary Indianapolis 500 team owner Roger Penske, Indianapolis 500-winning drivers Rick Mears, Tom Sneva and Bobby Unser, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson.

Tickets for the dinner are $125 per person, and attire is country club casual. Contact Peggy Swalls at IMS for more information at (317) 492-6706.

In addition to the Celebration of Automobiles, Opening Day at IMS on Saturday will feature the first day of practice for the 96th Indianapolis 500 that will showcase the new Dallara chassis and the return of the distinctive sound of turbo-charged engines to the Brickyard for the first time since 1996. Opening Day will also welcome the first engine manufacturer competition at the Indianapolis 500 in seven years with Chevrolet, Honda & Lotus all looking to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”