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Penske Unveils Wide-Ranging Plan to Enhance Month of May, IMS

Record Purse, Qualifying Changes, New Sponsors, Facility Improvements Set for May 2020

MEDIA CONTACT: Alex Damron,  adamron@brickyard.com, 317-501-4218

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 – A wide-ranging, multifaceted plan to boost and strengthen the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was unveiled today featuring significant improvements and financial investment that will resonate with fans from Central Indiana and throughout the globe.

The goal of the plan is to produce a legendary Month of May. Enhancements revealed exactly 100 days from the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 24 include:

– The largest purse in Indianapolis 500 history

– Improvements to the Indianapolis 500 qualifying format and television schedule

– New sponsors investing long term in the “500,” IMS and NTT INDYCAR SERIES

– A multimillion-dollar investment in the fan experience at IMS

Since Jan. 6, following the change in ownership, the IMS team moved quickly to implement significant upgrades to the GMR Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 and the Big Machine Vodka 400 during Fourth of July weekend.

“This is the Racing Capital of the World,” Roger Penske said. “It is on par with some of the most historic sporting institutions in this nation and across the globe, from Churchill Downs to Augusta National. Today, we’re announcing a meaningful investment in our fan experience that will produce rapid results. It’s part of a long-term plan to ensure the legendary status of the Speedway continues to grow and evolve for generations to come.

“I am very excited about the enhancements to qualifying weekend, the largest-ever ‘500’ purse, new sponsors and the significant investments we are making to the INDYCAR SERIES and to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

Indianapolis 500 Purse

The event purse for the 104th Indianapolis 500 will be the largest in the history of the event. The purse will grow by $2 million to more than $15 million, boosting the prize pool for NTT INDYCAR SERIES teams and drivers.

Indianapolis 500 Qualifying

Qualifying weekend for the 104th Indianapolis 500 – Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17 – will feature a variety of changes to its format and broadcast to create even more memories and drama. 

Multiple attempts will return to the Last Row Shootout, expanding it to 75 minutes. Previous versions of the Shootout featured one attempt per car. While fans enjoyed that format, feedback indicated they wanted even more drama as drivers try to seize one of the three final spots in the field.

A boost in turbocharger level will see speeds climb this year during the Indy 500 qualifying sessions. Turbocharger boost will increase horsepower by 45 HP this year.

An expanded weekend TV schedule will ensure NBC televises coverage of qualifications on both Saturday and Sunday, with total network exposure increasing over 2019. Full weekend broadcast details will be released soon.

New Sponsors

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES and IMS will add six new major sponsors in 2020. Pennzoil, Verizon, Snap-on Tools, DEX Imaging, Road & Track magazine and Global Medical Response will make significant investments in the racing series and Speedway.

Multimillion-Dollar Fan Experience Investment

The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016 saw large investments made to the Speedway. Beginning with this year’s GMR Grand Prix, fans will experience many new upgrades to IMS. These enhancements are all projects that will be finished before gates open, with several additional opportunities under consideration for future seasons.

Technology upgrades are a major component of this plan. More than 30 additional large-screen video boards will be added, including 24 along the Paddock seating. The Paddock screens will bring race action and vital information to an additional 25,000 fans. In addition, all seven large infield big-screen monitors will receive a running order addition.

Another exciting addition is the IMS Media Wall. This video board, measuring 100 feet wide by 20 feet tall, will be installed at the base of the Pagoda facing the Pagoda Plaza as a cornerstone of a plan to transform the popular gathering area for fans. It will also provide data-driven race insights to fans from NTT.

Verizon and their 5G Ultra Wideband network will transform the iconic Speedway into a first of its kind technology-led entertainment complex. IMS will be the first motorsports facility with commercial 5G service that will enhance both the consumer experience and track operations.

Infrastructure improvements will be noticeable inside and outside of the fabled, 110-year-old facility.

Pedestrian traffic on Georgetown Road will be widened by two lanes to make ingress and egress easier for more than half of the venue’s Race Day customers.

More than 125 restrooms are being renovated inside IMS. New pavement will be added to the Parcel B lot near the IMS Main Gate to improve the parking experience and create a cleaner look for the “front door” of the facility. Approximately 3 miles of fencing will be added to the entire grounds.

The winning driver and team of the Indianapolis 500, Grand Prix and Brickyard 400 will receive higher honors, as the winner’s car will be elevated to the same level as the Victory Podium after each race. This will give fans a better vantage point for pictures and social media sharing of the most prestigious Victory Lane in global motorsports.

The atmosphere of the massive facility also will be enhanced through detail-oriented improvements throughout IMS.

Night light signage will be installed over Gates 1 and 2, while IMS will assume responsibility for the beautification project along Crawfordsville Road. Fans will notice fresh paint and new signage on more than 50 concession stands inside IMS, picnic tables added throughout the grounds for more gathering space for families and friends, and the placement of more than 230 racing-themed flags around the facility and Crawfordsville Road.

All aspects of this fan experience investment plan are underway and will be completed before IMS gates open for the Month of May on Friday, May 8.

Tickets are on sale now at IMS.com and the IMS Ticket Office for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, GMR Grand Prix, Big Machine Vodka 400 and all other activities at IMS.

Rossi, Pastrana, Duffy Get ‘Keys to the Track’ at IMS in Wild New Red Bull Video

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 – Fantasy becomes reality in an exciting new video released Feb. 6 by Red Bull, as NTT INDYCAR SERIES star Alexander Rossi, action sports legend Travis Pastrana and freestyle motocross rider Gregg Duffy get the “Keys to the Track” at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway and turn the facility into a winter wonderland of speed, ground and high-velocity aerial tricks.

The all-action, full-energy video can be found on the Red Bull Motorsports YouTube page at https://youtu.be/gfvEYiJTcKY.

In the video, 2016 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Rossi, X Games and American motocross and rally legend Pastrana and Nitro Circus freestyle motocross star Duffy contact “their guy” for the keys to IMS so they can play for hours inside the facility on a frigid winter day. The only limit is their imagination.

Once through the gates at the hallowed Racing Capital of the World, the trio lets it rip on snow and ice around the facility, including in some surprising spots! Rossi gets sideways on asphalt in his Andretti Autosport NTT INDYCAR SERIES car, Pastrana drifts on pavement and on The Dirt Track at IMS in his rally car, while Duffy slides and carves his dirt bike through many unexpected locations around the property, including the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course.

Fans won’t want to miss the grand finale of the three-minute, 25-second video. The highlight is a massive triple jump, where the three coordinate a feat of Pastrana jumping his rally car over Rossi’s Indy car, while Duffy launches high in the air for a backflip over both vehicles.

Rossi will return to IMS in May on the road course and oval for the GMR Grand Prix on Saturday, May 9 and the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 24.

Visit IMS.com to buy tickets or for more information on those two races and all other 2020 events at IMS.

Indy 500 Fans To Get ‘That May Feeling’ from Statewide TV Ad during Super Bowl

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 – The Super Bowl is a fixture of the first weekend of February in America, but Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge fans also will get “That May Feeling” through a television advertisement for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” during the telecast of the game Sunday, Feb. 2, featuring past winners of the race and an American sports broadcasting icon.

The 30-second ad will be shown on FOX affiliates throughout Indiana toward the end of the second quarter of the game. The spot and an extended version will be posted on IMS social channels, the IMS YouTube channel and IMS.com/May shortly after it airs Sunday evening, so fans can watch and share on their social platforms.

Indianapolis 500 winners Mario Andretti, Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi are featured in speaking roles in the commercial, along with legendary sports broadcaster Mike Tirico, who hosted NBC’s first live telecast of the world’s most prestigious race last May. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett also is featured in a speaking role in the extended version.

The energetic, fast-action spot mixes music and footage of exciting NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing from the Indianapolis 500, concerts at the track during Race Weekend and other fun pieces of the fan experience at IMS and around Indianapolis, highlighting “That May Feeling” that hundreds of thousands experience every year.

Schafer Condon Carter (SCC) and IMS Productions collaborated to create the advertisement. This is the fifth consecutive year in which a “500” spot has aired during the Super Bowl telecast.

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will play in Super Bowl LIV in Miami. The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday.

Tickets are on sale now at IMS.com and the IMS Ticket Office for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, scheduled for Sunday, May 24 at IMS, and for all other Month of May activities at IMS.

Popular INDYCAR, Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 Veteran John Andretti Dies at 56

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 – John Andretti, one of the most popular and versatile American race drivers of his generation, died Thursday, Jan. 30 after a long, courageous battle with colon cancer. He was 56.

Andretti, a member of the famed Andretti racing family, drove and won at the highest levels of North American motorsports in Indy cars, stock cars and sports cars. He also competed in top-level drag racing and short-track open-wheel racing. His career included 12 starts in the Indianapolis 500 and 11 starts in the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

But his tireless, selfless work on behalf of various charities, even after his cancer diagnosis became public in April 2017, earned him even more respect and loyalty from a legion of worldwide admirers than his significant talent behind the wheel.

Andretti was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the son of race driver Aldo Andretti and nephew of 1969 Indianapolis 500 and two-time Formula One World Champion Mario Andretti.

John Andretti started his racing career in karting and won the USAC Speedrome Regional Midget series title in 1983, at age 20. He began his professional full-time driving career after graduating from Moravian College in his hometown in 1985.

He found Victory Lane almost immediately in IMSA sports car racing, winning a race with co-driver and eventual fellow Indy 500 veteran Davy Jones in September 1986 at Watkins Glen.

That success helped launch Andretti into INDYCAR competition with Curb Racing in 1987, joining his uncle, Mario, and cousin Michael. He was named series Rookie of the Year in 1987.

John Andretti made his Indianapolis 500 debut in 1988 with Curb Racing. He ran as high as seventh in the No. 98 Skoal Bandit Lola Cosworth before engine problems relegated him to a 21st-place finish.

He still competed in sports cars while making a name for himself early in his INDYCAR career.

Andretti teamed with sports car legends Bob Wollek and Derek Bell to win the 1989 Rolex 24 At Daytona in one of the mighty Porsche 962 prototypes of the era. Andretti and Wollek also co-drove to victory later that season at Palm Beach, Florida, in the same Porsche, and Andretti ended up fifth in the IMSA standings that season as the highest-ranked Porsche driver.

Andretti’s best year of INDYCAR competition arguably came in 1991 while driving for Hall VDS Racing. He earned his sole career INDYCAR victory, at Surfers Paradise in Australia, and finished an Indy 500 career-best fifth in the No. 4 Pennzoil Z-7 Lola/Chevrolet.

The 1991 edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” marked the first of two consecutive years in which four members of the Andretti family – Mario, Michael, John and cousin Jeff — raced in the “500.”

A week after John Andretti’s career-best finish at Indy in 1991 also saw another highlight, when Michael, John and Mario Andretti finished 1-2-3 in the INDYCAR race at the Milwaukee Mile.

John Andretti made waves in NHRA Drag Racing in 1993 by reaching the Top Fuel semifinals in his first national event, the Southern Nationals at Atlanta. He clocked a career-best speed of 299 mph in that race.

Then Andretti shifted his focus to NASCAR in a partial schedule in the Cup Series in 1993, going full time with Hagan Racing in 1994 and driving the final third of the season in the famous Petty blue-and-red No. 43 STP Pontiac for Richard Petty Enterprises.

In May 1994, Andretti made North American racing history by becoming the first driver to attempt and complete “The Double” of racing in the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the same day. He finished 10th at Indy and 36th at Charlotte.

Andretti earned his first Cup Series victory in July 1997 at Daytona while driving for Cale Yarborough Motorsports, but Andretti’s NASCAR career reached its peak when he returned to Petty’s team full time in 1998. That started a stint of nearly five seasons between two of the most famous names in American racing.

He finished 11th in the standings in 1998 during his first season with Petty and earned his second and final Cup Series victory with team in spring 1999 at Martinsville Speedway.

Andretti teamed with another famous member of the Petty family – Richard’s son, Kyle Petty – to win the GT class in Porsche GT3R at a GRAND-AM sports car race in August 2001 at Watkins Glen.

When his full-time tenure with Petty ended during the 2003 season, Andretti began a diverse schedule behind the wheel that included starts in the NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, GRAND-AM Sports Car Series and NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

Andretti made a popular return to the Indianapolis 500 in 2007 with Panther Racing, competing in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” every year through 2011. His final two “500” starts, in 2010-11, came while driving for his cousin Michael’s team, Andretti Autosport.

For all of Andretti’s versatile skills as a driver, he was equally or more admired for his charity work outside of the cockpit.

Andretti and Indianapolis-area radio personality Dave “The King” Wilson co-founded the “Race for Riley,” an annual go-kart race in Central Indiana that has raised nearly $4 million for the Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis since its inception in 1997.

When he announced his diagnosis with late-stage colon cancer in April 2017, Andretti also started an aggressive campaign to urge regular colon screening, something he admitted he didn’t do to catch his illness in its early stages.

The #CheckIt4Andretti campaign became a rallying cry during the 2017 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, seen on many hats and T-shirts. The hashtag and campaign saved many lives through regular colonoscopies and still is shared frequently on social media.

Andretti is survived by his wife, Nancy, and children Jarett, Olivia and Amelia. Jarett Andretti has followed his father’s tire tracks and drives in sprint cars, sports cars and Indy Lights.

Fans are encouraged to continue Andretti’s legacy through regular colon screenings and by sharing the #CheckIt4Andretti hashtag on social media.

Pagenaud Drinks In New Attitude after Seeing Iconic Moment on 2020 Indy 500 Ticket

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 – When Simon Pagenaud unveiled the ticket for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, he savored a snapshot of the pinnacle of his racing career and one of the greatest memories of his life.

The ticket features a profile photograph of Pagenaud drinking the traditional winner’s bottle of milk in triumph after earning his first victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” last May 26.

That image also signaled the start of a personal transformation for Pagenaud. He’s a different guy than the one who strapped into the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet three hours earlier for his eighth start in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I think I’m a new person,” Pagenaud said about how winning Indy has changed him. “If you knew me before, I think you can see it. I think it shows.

“I’m very relieved but also very enthused going forward and very motivated. I desire winning again so much more than I did before. It’s incredible. Now that I know all of the culture, the traditions, even better than I did before, it makes me want to win it even more.”

Pagenaud will get that chance as part of the powerful Team Penske lineup during the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 24. The ticket featuring the iconic image from IMS photographer Chris Owens will be mailed soon to fans in all 50 states and approximately 50 other countries worldwide.

The Indy 500 ticket, one of the most coveted keepsakes in sports, is printed on thick stock with spot-raised MVP coating and gold foil stamp. Pagenaud unveiled the 2020 ticket during ceremonies at the Indianapolis City Market, joined by Penske Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Mark Miles and IMS President J. Douglas Boles.

“This moment of me drinking the bottle of milk is the moment I realized it happened,” Pagenaud said. “It’s a sweet moment for me. And I didn’t know it was the picture, so it’s pretty cool to see it now and realize that it transpired. People saw it was a very, very, very special moment for me.”

The unveiling ceremony also featured a special gift for Norman, the beloved Jack Russell Terrier owned by Pagenaud and his wife, Hailey. Norman, a constant companion of the Pagenaud’s, captured hearts and the imagination of race fans worldwide when he barked and wagged his tail in delight in the winner’s circle after Pagenaud’s victory.

So, a special ticket featuring a shot of Norman barking next to a celebrating Pagenaud in victory circle was presented Tuesday to Simon and Hailey Pagenaud and Norman, who also attended the ceremony. The ticket was for a fictitious seat in “Terrier Terrace” at IMS, Section 20, Seat 20, Row K9.

The special ticket for Norman also reminded Pagenaud of the similarities between his pursuit of a second “500” victory this May and the Jack Russell breed, which has origins in fox hunting in England.

“I’m a bit like my Jack Russell – when I have my prey, I never give up,” Pagenaud said.

Tickets for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and all Month of May activities are on sale at IMS.com, by calling the IMS Ticket Office at 317-492-6700 or by visiting the Ticket Office.

Indianapolis 500 Veteran, Short-Track Standout Jones Dies at 78

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020 – Norman “Bubby” Jones, a short-track dirt racing standout who competed in the 1977 Indianapolis 500, died Jan. 18. He was 78.

Jones, a native of Danville, Illinois, started 33rd and placed 21st in the No. 72 Bruce Cogle Ford Eagle/Offy owned by Bobby Hillin’s Longhorn Racing team.

Dirt specialist Jones had limited asphalt experience before Hillin picked him to replace Jan Opperman in 1977 while Opperman recovered from injuries. But Jones bumped his way into the “500” starting field and ran as high as ninth before an engine valve problem ended his race.

Jones also made a second United States Auto Club (USAC) National Championship start in 1978, finishing 27th at Pocono Raceway. He was unsuccessful in Indianapolis 500 qualifying attempts in 1978 and 1981.

After giving up his job as a barber in a shop co-owned by Indy 500 veteran Larry Cannon to race full time in the early 1970s, Jones thrived on dirt tracks in sprint cars and midgets for nearly two decades.

The quiet, friendly Jones won many races in various series around the country before earning his first USAC victory in 1976, in a Silver Crown car. He also earned his first USAC Midget victory that year, winning the prestigious Turkey Night Grand Prix.

Those victories launched a streak of success for Jones in USAC competition in the late 1970s. He earned 20 of his 22 career USAC feature wins between 1977 and 1979. Jones enjoyed perhaps his strongest season in 1979, winning 11 USAC Sprint Car features and finishing second in the standings by 32 points to champion Greg Leffler.

Jones then moved to Southern California and reigned over the California Racing Association (CRA), winning that series’ Sprint titles in 1983 and 1984.

After retiring as a driver, he stayed in the sport as one of the top crew chiefs in USAC Sprint Car racing during the 2000s, including working for Tony Stewart’s team, among others. He also helped develop and promote Perris Auto Speedway in Southern California.

Jones was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1998.

Superstar Martin Garrix To Headline 2020 Indy 500 Snake Pit presented by Coors Light

Galantis, Rezz, Steve Aoki, Yellow Claw Also Performing May 24 at IMS; Tickets On Sale Now INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 – Superstar DJ and producer Martin Garrix will headline a stellar lineup of global electronic music artists at the Indy 500 Snake Pit presented by Coors Light on Sunday, May 24 at the Indianapolis…

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Indy 500 Veteran, Racing Safety Pioneer Simpson Dies at 79

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019 – Veteran racer Bill Simpson, who made one Indianapolis 500 start and was renowned in global motorsports for his development of groundbreaking safety equipment, died Monday, Dec. 16 in Indianapolis due to complications from recent health problems. He was 79.

Simpson competed as a driver in drag racing, sports car racing and open-wheel formula racing, including in SCCA and USAC Indy-car competition. He made 52 career Indy-car starts between 1968 and 1977. He produced 11 top-10 finishes, including a career best of sixth in the 1970 Milwaukee 200.

Southern California native Simpson qualified 20th and finished 13th in the 1974 Indianapolis 500 in the American Kids Racer Eagle-Offy owned by Dick Beith. It was his only career start in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” but competing in that race was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and the pinnacle of his varied driving career.

Another noteworthy highlight of Simpson’s career was providing four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears with a car to make his first career Indy car start, in the 1976 Ontario 500.

Simpson’s racing career ended during an Indianapolis 500 practice lap in May 1977, when he realized he was thinking more about a phone call he needed to make for his racing safety products business than driving a race car at nearly 200 mph. That realization caused him to hang up his helmet for good on the spot, with Formula One veteran Clay Regazzoni taking his seat.

The colorful Simpson started his driving career in drag racing as a teenager in Southern California. His work in motorsports safety started inadvertently when he crashed his dragster as an 18-year-old in 1958, suffering two broken arms. During his recovery time, Simpson devised and developed more sophisticated, purpose-built parachutes – through trial and error on a rented sewing machine in a garage – to slow dragsters after the finish line, starting a company called Simpson Drag Chutes.

Those humble beginnings evolved and grew into Simpson Performance Products and Impact! Racing, highly successful companies that designed, developed and produced more than 200 motorsports safety products used by drivers in all series worldwide, including helmets, gloves, fire-retardant driver suits, seat belts and more.

Perhaps Simpson’s biggest racing safety breakthrough came in 1967. He was introduced to a temperature-resistant fabric called Nomex through NASA astronaut and racing enthusiast Pete Conrad.

Simpson created the world’s first racing suit made of Nomex and brought it to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that May, where it became a safety sensation quickly used by nearly every driver in the starting field and now is standard equipment for every race driver. Donning his Nomex suit and a helmet, Simpson set himself on fire during demonstrations to prove the suit’s effectiveness on several occasions over the years.

Those tireless contributions to motorsports safety led to a host of accolades and honors, including enshrinement into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2003 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 2014.

Simpson chronicled his colorful and substantial life in racing by writing two books, “Racing Safely, Living Dangerously” and its sequel, “Through the Fire.”

Despite the vast success of his motorsports safety companies, Simpson never forgot his magical year of qualifying for and competing in the Indianapolis 500.

He annually returned to the Speedway during the Month of May for veterans’ activities, including appearances at driver autograph sessions for fans on Legends Day presented by Firestone. Simpson often attended these sessions with fellow colorful motorsports mogul and Indianapolis 500 veteran Chip Ganassi, and he was a passionate supporter of the IMS Museum.

Simpson is survived by a son. He also was a devout animal enthusiast, whose menagerie included his beloved dog, Maia, camels and other pets. A celebration of his life is being planned for this May at the IMS Museum, with details pending.

Medical Services Leader GMR to Sponsor Annual NTT IndyCar Series Road Race at IMS

GMR Grand Prix, AMR Safety Team, All Clear Foundation Join Forces with INDYCAR to Fuel Season-Long Salute to First Responders   INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 – Global Medical Response (GMR), the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, has reached a multi-year agreement to become the title sponsor of the NTT…

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Rock Legends REO Speedwagon, Styx To Headline Miller Lite Carb Day Concert May 22

Rock Legends REO Speedwagon, Styx To Headline Miller Lite Carb Day Concert May 22

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019 – Music legends REO Speedwagon and Styx will co-headline the Miller Lite Carb Day Concert on Friday, May 22, 2020 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, performing their hits that have defined melodic power rock for generations.

The concert featuring two of the most popular American rock bands in history starts at 3:30 p.m.on the Miller Lite Stage inside Turn 4 of the IMS oval. Styx will perform first, followed by REO Speedwagon.

Tickets are on sale now at IMS.com, by calling 800-822-INDY (4639) or 317-492-6700, or by visiting the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building.

General admission tickets start at just $30. A limited number of concert pit tickets are available for $55. For the first time in 2020, a limited number of tickets in a new temporary grandstand are available starting at $95, including concert pit access. A very limited supply of exclusive VIP platform tickets also is available for $250, including pit access, snacks, two complimentary drinks and dedicated bars. Ticket prices will increase as the concert draws closer, so fans are encouraged to buy now.

All general admission, concert pit, grandstand and VIP Deck concert tickets include admission to the concert and to on-track activities that day at IMS, which include the final practice for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race and the Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge.

“Miller Lite Carb Day is the start of the most exciting weekend of the year in motorsports, and REO Speedwagon and Styx are the perfect headliners to shift anticipation for the 104th Indy 500 into top gear,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Both bands came from Midwestern roots to become enduring global superstars, just like the Indy 500. Our fans will love rocking to hit after hit performed by these legendary artists at the best high-horsepower party of the year.”

Formed in 1967 at college in Champaign, Illinois, signed in 1971 and fronted by iconic vocalist Kevin Cronin since 1972, REO Speedwagon is a band where the main constant over the decades is a never-ending desire to give their all to their fans, year in and year out.

In its early days, REO (named after the precursor to the light truck) rode to gigs in station wagons, hopping from small gigs to even tinier gigs, just to get their name out. It worked, as fans quickly realized there was much more going on here than your average college party band. By the early ’70s, the band’s unrelenting drive, as well as non-stop touring and recording, jump-started the burgeoning rock movement in the Midwest. It carved a path that was eventually followed by Styx, Kansas, Cheap Trick and more.

Platinum albums and freeform FM radio staples such as “Ridin’ The Storm Out” followed, setting the stage for the 1980’s explosive “Hi Infidelity,” which received the Recording Industry Association of America’s 10X Diamond Award for surpassing sales of 10 million units in the U.S. “Hi Infidelity’s” millions in sales were fueled by massive hit singles such as “Keep On Loving You” and “Take It On the Run.” All these years later, “Hi Infidelity” still remains a high-water mark for rock bands – the album spent 15 weeks in the No. 1 slot, a feat that modern artists can only dream of achieving.

REO rode the top of the charts with a RIAA-certified 22 million albums sold in the U.S. and 40 million around the globe, with a string of gold and platinum records and international hit singles.

At the center of REO’s desire to keep it rocking for the fans is Cronin, who looks like he’s found the fountain of youth, along with the secret to penning some of the biggest hits in rock. With bandmates Bruce Hall on bass, keyboardist Neal Doughty, Dave Amato on lead guitar and drummer Bryan Hitt, REO has remained busy since the band celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2007 with its 15th studio album, “Find Your Own Way,” and tours with fellow legends such as Styx, .38 Special, Pat Benatar, Ted Nugent, Chicago, Def Leppard, Status Quo and Don Felder, including a number of shows to benefit various causes.

The six members of Styx continue to rock to audiences far and wide by entering their second decade of averaging over 100 shows a year. Founded in Chicago in 1972, Styx draws from over four decades of barn-burning chart hits, joyous singalongs and hard-driving deep cuts.

From the progressively sweeping splendor that is “The Grand Illusion” to the hunker-down fortitude of all that is the “Blue Collar Man,” from the majestic spiritual love for a special “Lady” to the seething indictment of preening, primping pageantry for pageantry’s sake of “Miss America,” from an individual yearning for true connection as a “Man in the Wilderness” to a soul-deep quest to achieve what’s at the heart of one’s personal vision in “Crystal Ball,” from the regal reach-for-the-stars bravado of “Come Sail Away” to the grainy all-in gallop of that rugged “Renegade” who had it made, the band draws on an unlimited cache of ways to immerse one’s mind and body in its signature sound.

Styx hit its stride with guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw‘s first LP with the band, 1976’s “Crystal Ball,” and then it became the first group to score four triple-platinum albums in a row: “The Grand Illusion” (1977), “Pieces of Eight” (1978), “Cornerstone” (1979) and “Paradise Theater” (1981).

Over the ensuing decade, Styx weathered the shifting winds of the public’s musical taste, reconvening for a highly successful 1996 “Return to Paradise” tour that was documented on CD and DVD in 1997.

With a little help from their many friends in Cleveland’s Contemporary Youth Orchestra, “One With Everything” (2006) became a hybrid orchestral rock blend for the ages. And on “The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight Live” (2011), the band performed at its peak when tackling every track from a pair of their finest triple-platinum albums back to back. Styx also re-recorded two discs’ worth of its classic material with much finesse and musculature, aptly known as “Regeneration Volume I & II” (2011 & 2012). The band’s latest album, “The Mission,” was released to critical acclaim in 2017.

The 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is scheduled for Sunday, May 24, 2020. Tickets are on sale now at IMS.com or by calling or visiting the IMS Ticket Office.

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      Over the past 20-something years writing about racing, I’ve encountered three people from whom I learn something about the art of racecar driving every time we speak for longer than five minutes. One of that trio is Rick Ravon Mears, born this day 65 years ago in Wichita, Kansas, and brought up in Bakersfield, Calif. […]
    • Memoir helps widow cope after IndyCar driver's death
      Tonya Bergeson-Dana talks with her son, Conor, about his father when he brings it up, which is often. If he’s asking the questions, she reasons, he’s ready to hear the answers. Paul Conor Dana, at age 9, knows that his father was Paul Dana, a journalist and IndyCar driver who died in March 2006 during […]