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Troy Lee Puts His Distinctive Stamp on Month of May Program

The journey to designing the cover of the programs for the second annual Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the 99th Indianapolis 500 started with painting fuel tanks and pit walls at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Might not have sounded like glamorous work, but for an aspiring kid artist-slash-racing lover in the late 1970s, this was a dream. Troy Lee was at Indy for a week during the “500” and got to share his talents for driver Billy Vukovich, who was sponsored by Lee’s stepfather.

A labor of love then, and a labor of love now. The difference today is that Troy Lee is a household name in racing art.

When the Indianapolis 500 takes the green flag on May 24, at least eight drivers will wear helmets featuring his custom designs, including past champions Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Juan Pablo Montoya. That’s par for the course for Lee, whose work can be found all across motorsports.

And now his distinctive look is on the cover of the two Month of May race programs, an embossed motif that pays homage to some programs of old. The programs are on sale now at and all around IMS; both are sold as a bundle for $15.

“I’m honored to design artwork that celebrates and commemorates Indy’s 99th Running, and proud that I’m a part of the history of this legendary raceway,” Lee said. “The Indy 500 is a part of my DNA, and dear to my heart. In my opinion, it’s the most prestigious racing event in motorsports.”

Armed with a file of all 98 previous Indianapolis 500 covers, Lee found inspiration in a design that was used every year from 1955-65 featuring the IMS Wing and Wheel logo and oversized racing flags.

Lee painted his rendition of those covers, including “the 99th 500” scripted at the top, also similar to the programs of a half-century ago.

Lee joins LeRoy Neiman, Thomas Kinkade, Peter Max and David Uhl as artists of Indianapolis 500 covers, though no one can quite match Troy’s story, which started with fuel tanks and pit walls.

The Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis includes 96 pages of features and information on the new Verizon IndyCar Series aero kit packages that have proven to be a hit on the track. Defending champion Simon Pagenaud takes readers on a turn-by-turn tour of the IMS road course and the wives of IndyCar drivers are profiled, among other stories.

Once again, the Indianapolis 500 program highlights the rich history of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing while also focusing on the teams and drivers of the 99th Running. Defending champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and “Swiss Miss” Simona de Silvestro are profiled, and A.J. Foyt reveals which Indy 500 is his favorite (hint: there are four correct answers). Also among the 192 pages is a look into the colorful history of helmets and entertainer David Letterman’s long love affair with the Indianapolis 500.

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