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Indiana Communities Show Indy 500 Spirit, Vie For $25,000

Vote! | See Finalists' Decorations

Re-establishing a statewide outreach program started by Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony Hulman shortly after World War II, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced May 17 the 10 finalist communities that will compete for the honor of becoming the 2011 Back Home Again in Indiana Community Decoration Contest champion.

The contest encourages communities in the state of Indiana to celebrate the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29, 2011 by decorating town squares and main streets in an Indianapolis 500 theme selected by residents of the respective communities. Twenty-six communities took up the challenge. The winning community will receive a $25,000 grant on American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day on Wednesday, May 25 at IMS, to be used for a local project to benefit that area.

The 10 finalist communities: Albion, Batesville, Brownsburg, Brownstown, Gaston, Hagerstown, New Haven, Remington, Terre Haute and Zionsville.

Other participating communities: Amo, Bethany, Brookville, Flora, Frankfort, Indianapolis, Indianapolis – Downtown, Martinsville, Milan, Orleans, Petersburg, Plainfield, Ridgeville, Sheridan, Speedway and Waterloo.

“We’re very excited to engage communities throughout our state in celebrating this historic 100th anniversary at the Indianapolis 500,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and CEO. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a special place for all of Indiana. Many of the great stories surrounding the 100 years of the Indianapolis 500 are associated with people in towns throughout the state, beginning with the manufacturing of the tracks paving bricks in Veedersburg and continuing with great stories about our winners and many competitors who have hailed from all over Indiana.”

Shortly after acquiring the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1946, Hulman, track president Wilbur Shaw and several Terre Haute businessmen would annually travel by car throughout Indiana to encourage communities to hang banners and celebrate the Indianapolis 500 each Memorial Day weekend.

Encouragement from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and sponsorship from AT&T helped the Indianapolis Motor Speedway again reach out to the communities that are so integral to the history of the Indianapolis 500.

Communities have decorated their town squares and main streets, held parades and gatherings to celebrate the “500” through the first half of May, before IMS officials selected the 10 communities as finalists. The overall winner will be selected by a celebrity panel that includes race drivers and media personalities.

All communities will upload photos and video. Fans of a town's efforts can vote by visiting www.IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com/BackHomeAgainInIndiana. Only one vote per e-mail per day is allowed.

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2011 Indianapolis 500 tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500, “The Most Important Race in History,” on Sunday, May 29, 2011 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Race Day ticket prices start at just $30. Fans can buy tickets online at www.imstix.com, 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 2011 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.

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