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33 Balloons Set For Centennial Era Balloon Fest By AT&T May 8

Paying honor to the traditional starting field of 33 cars for the annual Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, a field of 33 balloons and pilots is set for the Centennial Era Balloon Festival presented by AT&T on Saturday, May 8 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Hot air balloon pilots hailing from 12 states, stretching from California to New Jersey, will launch from the IMS infield in both corporate-sponsored and unsponsored “sport” balloons. Indiana is well-represented with 13 pilots vying for prize money and the prestige associated with winning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Several balloons have notable ties to the Speedway. The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation, founded by Indianapolis 500 veteran and Firestone Indy Lights/Indianapolis 500 team owner Sam Schmidt, sponsors the balloon piloted by Al Hansen of Winamac, Ind. Hansen’s balloon has a wheelchair-accessible balloon, and Hansen gives rides throughout the year to guests with disabilities. Schmidt and his two children will fly with Hansen Saturday.

Centennial Era Balloon Festival presenting sponsor AT&T is represented with two balloons for 2010, and popular Bloomington, Ind., wine destination Oliver Winery will have two balloons plus a wine tasting station near the Pagoda Plaza.

The pilots will compete in the Founders Race, scheduled for a 7:30 a.m. (ET) launch on May 8. Although the IMS infield will be closed at that time due to the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, fans can watch the balloons ascend from numerous points outside the IMS grounds.

IMS welcomes the public to walk among the balloons in the Speedway’s infield at the Centennial Era Balloon Festival presented by AT&T balloon “glow” Saturday night. With free admission and a concert by popular rock band the Gin Blossoms, followed by the “glow” at 8 p.m. and fireworks at 9:15 p.m., the evening will be filled with entertainment for all ages.

Fans should enter IMS via Gate 9A, located on Georgetown Road just north of 25th Street. Gates open at 5 p.m., with wine tasting courtesy of Oliver Winery, balloons courtesy of “Matt the Balloon Guy” and other attractions opening at the same time. Live music begins at 5:15.

If the Founders Race is rained out on Saturday morning, the race will be rescheduled for Sunday, May 9 at 7:30 a.m. The IMS Grounds will be open via Gate 2 (the main gate/tunnel on 16th Street) and accessible as far as the Hall of Fame Museum parking lot.

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ENTRY LIST: Centennial Era Balloon Festival presented by AT&T
Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 8, 2010
(Tentative, subject to change)

Corporate Balloons
Pilot
Hometown

1
Stars and Heights for Riley
Mark Westra
Greenfield, Ind.

2
Touchstone Energy Cooperative
Dave Champion
Paxton, Ill.

3
Runyan Equipment Rental
Jack Semler
Noblesville, Ind.

4
Applebee’s
Ken Lubben
Homer Glen, Ill.

5
Target “Bullseye”
George Ibach
Minneapolis, Minn.

6
AT&T Real Yellow Pages
Tim Basey
Louisville, Ky.

7
Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation
Al Hansen
Winamac, Ind.

8
Oliver Winery
Bill Oliver
Bloomington, Ind.

9
Oliver Winery
Warren Smith
Bloomington, Ind.

10
Jasper Engines & Transmissions
Sean Askren
Middletown, Ohio

11
Post Foods (Sugar Bear balloon)
David Jacques
East LeRoy, Mich.

12
State Farm Insurance
Marsha Treacy
Statesville, N.C.

13
AT&T*
Travis Vencel
Bloomington, Ind.

14
Beemster Cheese
Michael Blum
Jersey City, N.J.

15
Farmers Insurance Group
Jeff Cable
Los Angeles

16
RE/MAX
Jeff Menchhofer
Cicero, Ind.

17
IMTS
Patrick Fogue
Columbus, Mo.

18
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Dan Hoehler
Louisville, Ky.

Sport Balloonists
Pilot
Hometown

19
Dave Bobel
Rochester, Ind.

20
Jerry Copas
Sellersburg, Ind.

21
Chase Donner
Atlanta

22
Jason Gaines
O’Fallon, Mo.

23
Steward Gibboney
Grove City, Ohio

24
Kevin Knapp
Greenville, N.C.

25
Matt Lidinsky
Baldwin, Md.

26
Frank McCrory
Floyds Knobs, Ind.

27
Max Mitchell
Champaign, Ill.

28
Mike Nelson
Fortville, Ind.

29
Paul Petrehn
Howell, Mich.

30
Tony Sandlin
Indianapolis

31
Chris Smart
Huntington, Ind.

32
Tom Steinbock
Crestwood, Ky.

33
David Troutman
Louisville, Ky.

*Will serve as the “Hare balloon” during the Founders Race.

***

2010 Indy 500 tickets: Tickets for the 2010 Indianapolis 500, scheduled for Sunday, May 30, are on sale now at www.imstix.com, by phone at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY or at the IMS Ticket Office. Race Day ticket prices start at just $20.

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