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
Danica Patrick
 
Danica Plans To Race in 102nd Indianapolis 500 Next May
Fan favorite Danica Patrick announced Friday, Nov. 17 she plans to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May 2018, the last start in her barrier-breaking career as a race driver.
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
Matheus Leist
 
Freedom 100 Winner Leist Completes AJ Foyt Racing Lineup for 2018
AJ Foyt Racing announced that 19-year-old Matheus Leist – from Novo Hamburgo, Brazil – will team with veteran Brazilian Tony Kanaan in the upcoming season.
Read More
TK Foyt Ride
 
Kanaan Looks Forward to May in Indianapolis with AJ Foyt Racing
As Tony Kanaan prepared to sign last month with AJ Foyt Racing for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season, the veteran driver did so with goals still to accomplish in mind.
Read More
United Way of Central Indiana
 
IMS Partners with United Way To Support Families in Need This Holiday Season
There’s even more reason to attend the spectacular Lights at the Brickyard holiday display this year, with $5 of every admission fee on Monday evenings supporting United Way of Central Indiana.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,818
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact IMS Sales Department at (317) 492-8739 or email at hospitalitysales@brickyard.com.
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