May 16, 2013  |   By Paul Kelly

'Turbo' Actor Michael Pena To Serve As 97th Indianapolis 500 Honorary Starter

Film and television star Michael Pena, who has a leading role in the upcoming 3D animated motion picture event “Turbo,” will serve as the honorary starter of the 97th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 26.

Pena will wave the green flag to start the field of 33 drivers in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The 97th Indianapolis 500 starts at noon (ET) and will be televised live on ABC.

In “Turbo,” Pena portrays Tito, an entrepreneur who enters a super-fast snail in the Indy 500. The film races into theaters everywhere July 17. From DreamWorks Animation, and released by 20th Century Fox, the film’s titular hero is an ordinary garden snail whose dream to race in the Indianapolis 500 comes true.

Ryan Reynolds is the voice of Turbo. The film also stars Paul Giamatti, Luis Guzmán, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Snoop Dogg, a.k.a. Snoop Lion, and Samuel L. Jackson.

“The anticipation surrounding the national release of ‘Turbo’ continues to grow, and that excitement will build even more when Michael Pena waves the green flag to start the 97th Indianapolis 500,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief executive officer. “Michael will understand first-hand why all roads lead to Indy on Memorial Day weekend and why Turbo dreamed of competing in the world’s greatest race.”

Chicago native Pena has appeared in numerous motion pictures and television shows in the last decade, including in the Academy Award Best Picture-winning films “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash.” He also appeared in the Oscar-nominated film “Babel.”

Pena’s most recent film role came in the 2013 picture “Gangster Squad,” which also starred Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte and Josh Brolin. Pena co-starred with Jake Gyllenhaal in the 2012 film “End of Watch.”

Other major films in which Pena has appeared include “Tower Heist,” “The Lincoln Lawyer” and “The Lucky Ones” and “World Trade Center.”

Pena’s most prominent television role came while playing Detective Armando Renta on the acclaimed, award-winning FX series “The Shield.” He also has played prominent roles in series such as “Eastbound & Down” on HBO and “Felicity” on the WB Television Network.

For more information about “Turbo,” visit


2013 Indianapolis 500 tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 97th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 26 at IMS.

Race Day ticket prices start at just $30. Fans can buy tickets online at, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or by visiting the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

Children 12 and under will be receive free general admission to any IMS event in 2013 when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket holder.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.