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No. 2: IMS Celebrates ‘Back Home Again’ with Large Crowd

Note: The editorial staff at IMS.com is taking a look back at the 10 biggest moments of 2022 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in this year-end series, with one installment appearing on the site per day in countdown fashion from Dec. 22-31.

The anticipation for the 2022 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge reached a fevered pitch months earlier, when Indianapolis Motor Speedway released a commercial voiced by legendary talk show host – and NTT INDYCAR SERIES team co-owner – David Letterman.

“Over the last two years, many of us have spent a lot of time apart, away from our normal lives,” Letterman began in the video spanning more than two minutes. “Our cities became empty; our hearts became lonely. The things we love to do together took a backseat to a greater need, all the while we found ourselves longing to get back to those moments we once took for granted.”

The music of “Back Home Again in Indiana” served as the backdrop for the commercial.

“For more than a century, anticipation for the Indianapolis 500 has been the tie that binds Indianapolis, Indiana, to the entire world,” Letterman said. “No matter where you’re from, this racetrack and this city are your home on Race Day.”

Fans of the “500” responded to Letterman’s message, and on Sunday, May 29, a near-record crowd gathered for the 106th Running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. It would be the largest sporting event gathering since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The booming voice of Jim Cornelison welcomed us back, and a crowd estimated at over 325,000 roared at the sights and sounds of the annual show, capped by the victory of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson.

Returning to full tradition, music filled the Memorial Day Weekend air, with rock’s ultimate supergroup, Kings of Chaos, and legendary Grammy Award winner Rick Springfield co-headlining the Miller Lite Carb Day Concert opened by legendary fund and R&B band Morris Day and the Time.

Country music superstar Dierks Bentley headlined the Firestone Legends Day Concert at the TCU Amphitheater in White River State Park, with superstar DJ and producer Martin Garrix leading a stellar lineup of global electronic music artists at the Indy 500 Snake Pit presented by Coors Light.

Country music singer Blake Shelton served as the grand marshal of the “500,” with actor Miles Teller the honorary starter, Jordan Fisher singing the national anthem and Girl Named Tom performing America the Beautiful.

All of this added to the memorable “500” that we all know and love.

“For the first time in three years, we’ll no longer be apart,” Letterman said in the preview. “It’s a beautiful thing, really, (being) back home again in Indiana.”

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