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Indianapolis 500 - 2013

Updated on June 17, 2013
Ed Carpenter - pole sitter for the Indy 500 race
Ed Carpenter - pole sitter for the Indy 500 race | Source

Indiana wins the pole; Tony Kanaan wins the day

For the first time in 7 years, a USA driver sits in the pole position for the Indy 500 NASCAR race. To top it off, the driver, Ed Carpenter, is from Indianapolis, too! What an exciting time to be a Hoosier. The Indianapolis 500 race is something I grew up with, but never really paid much attention to until a few years ago. My first time to attend the race was when I chaperoned my son’s high school marching band to the 500 as they were in the pre-race parade. I was amazed to learn that countries all over the globe are interested in the Indianapolis 500.

I’m not sure why I always took it for granted while growing up, but it just wasn’t talked about much. It could be a result of living within an hour of the event, or it could be a result of our family losing a friend in the race. Although I never knew him, I went to school with the son he left behind. Jeff, who now sells insurance, still supports racing – just not as the racer.

Tony Kanaan

Facebook page.
Facebook page. | Source

Congratulations, Tony Kanaan

Time to go see your son Leo in Brazil, now! Thank you for several memorable, record-breaking moments in the 97th annual run of the Indy 500. The story of the medallion was inspirational. Kanaan visited a young girl who was having brain surgery and gave her a medallion for good luck. This year, she returned that medallion to him before the race with a message: "Here's your good luck charm back. You take it and win the Indianapolis 500". (Head, 2013, para. 12)

Special Notes on the 2013 Indy 500

The 500 always brings tradition and fanfare, and this year will be no different! This year’s events promise to continue several well-known traditions as well as host some special events. Here are a few of the scheduled activities for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Major Events

5:30 am
Gates Open
8:00 am
Parade of Bands
9:45 am
500 Festival Princess Lap
11:10 am
Military Parade
11:33 am
Driver Introductions
11:47 am
God Bless America
11:49 am
11:52 am
11:554 am
National Anthem
12:03 pm
Jim Nabors
12:04 pm
"Ladies & Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!"
12:12 pm
The race begins
Source: Indianapolis 500 Official Website

The music

One of the first things that happen is the parade of bands. High School marching bands march all around the 2.5 mile track. Each band is announced, and it is a thrill to be invited to this event. Purdue University gains the honor of being the official band for the race. Purdue boasts having the largest drum in the world. It truly is large, and has to be wheeled around wherever it goes.

Purdue's Band

Memorial Day Weekend

The 500 is always the weekend around Memorial Day, so this is always a part of the race's traditions, too. Our wonderful veterans always play a part in the pre-race festivities as well. All branches of our armed forces are honored and there is always a jet flyover (although, I can’t find information on whether that will happen this year. The military was not able to participate in the festivities for the Kentucky Derby this year due to budget issues). Florence Henderson will Perform God Bless America. The following video shows some of the traditional pre-race activities for the Indianapolis 500.

Pre-race Traditions

Jim Nabors

Jim Nabors wows crowds with his wonderful voice singing “Back Home Again in Indiana.” Mr. Nabors has held this spot since the 70s, and it was exciting to hear Gomer Pyle sing! Although he missed the 2012 race, he will be performing again this year. I am glad to see he is back on the schedule of events.

The variation this year - honoring Boston

This year’s 500 will host a special variation in the pre-race festivities. Runners from Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan who were at the Boston Marathon and unable to finish the race because of the bombing will be able to complete their race during this year’s 500. Whoever thought of this idea is a genius! I was happy to see this listed on the schedule of events.

Ladies and Gentlemen...

And right before the race starts at 12:12 pm, Mari Hulman George, daughter of the late Tony Hulman who was credited for turning the Indianapolis 500 into the Greatest Spectacle in Racing will once again utter those famous words, “Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!”

Pace Car - Pole Sitter

Jim Harbaugh (former Colts quarterback!) gains the honor of driving the Pace Car this year. Coached by Johnny Rutherford, Super Bowl winning coach is excited to be a part of the 2013 Indianapolis 500. (Interview by Paul Kelly)

Ed Carpenter is the pole sitter for this year. This 32-year-old father of 3 is from Indianapolis. He graduated from Butler University and has a history of winning races in the midget cars.

Official Websites for the race

The following links provide more information concerning this year's race if you are interested in reading more on the history of the Indy 500. There are links to activities for kids, interesting facts (such as why the winner drinks milk), and lots of statistics. The second link is where you can watch the race live in case you can't make it to the racetrack. Although it is interesting to watch through video - if you ever get the chance to experience the race live at least once in your life - take it! These athletes are true athletes and there is no way to explain the thrill of the Indy 500 with mere words!

Record-setting Race

Records for Tony Kanaan
Other Race-day Records
Has run the 500 12 times
3rd coldest start - 62 degrees
Led in 9 of those races
27 cars finished
225 laps previously - more than any other non-winner
Previous lead changes = 34 This race = 68
500's fastest speed 187.433
14 different leaders during this race
Sources: Head, S. (2013, May 26). Medallion man: Tony Kanaan wins the Indianapolis 500 after the return of his lucky medal. Retrieved from


Head, S. (2013, May 26). Medallion man: Tony Kanaan wins the Indianpolis 500 after the return of his lucky medal. Retrieved from

Kelly, P. (May 25, 2013). 97th Indianapolis 500 press conference – Jim Harbaugh. Retrieved from

Specifically on Pat O'Connor & Jeff O'Connor:

May 30, 1958 – O’Connor death overshadows Bryan’s win

Interview with Jeff O’Connor after Weldon’s crash in 2011.

Pat O’Connor on Sports Illustrated

Jeff O’connor Named Grand Marshal for USAC Race

Look what's coming - Turbo


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