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New Colts' Coach Reich Enjoys Special Return Trip to IMS

Frank Reich had been the Indianapolis Colts head coach for just 26 days when he was lifted high into the air to place the checkered flag over Gate 1 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on March 9, signifying the start of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

But this wasn’t the first trip to IMS for Reich, who was named to the Colts’ top job Feb. 11 after serving on the coaching staff of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Former NFL quarterback Reich and his three daughters attended the Indianapolis 500 in 2008 when he was an assistant coach with the Colts. He still cherishes the experience today.

“I told my daughters, ‘One day when you tell people you’ve lived in Indy, you want to tell them you’ve been to this race,’” Reich said. “Three young girls, they weren’t sure what to think. They had never experienced anything like this. But they had the time of their lives.

“We had a blast. We still have great pictures from it. They wanted to come back every year we were here. I’m sure now that we are here again, coming to the Indy 500 will be an annual event for the Reich family.”

IMS traditionally displays the full array of racing flags atop Gate 1 for the entire Verizon IndyCar Series season. The first race of 2018 is the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 11 on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. The season also includes the INDYCAR Grand Prix on Saturday, May 12 and the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 27 at IMS.

Reich also received 102nd Running milk bottle after raising the flag, part of a series of deliveries leading up to Race Day. And he couldn’t help drawing an analogy between his sensations while attending “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” 10 years ago with his family and his intentions for the Colts’ style of play under his leadership.

“I just remember the excitement at the start of the race, just as the cars come around, the power and the speed were something you’ve never experienced before,” Reich said. “How loud it was, how fast they were for a couple of hours. It was just a thrill. You never got tired of it. It was so cool.

“That’s the kind of excitement you want to bring, the energy, the fans getting into it. That takes getting the right players in and to execute. The speed, for sure. That’s the way the team is going to be built and the way we’re going to play on Sundays.”

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