Racing Luminary Mears Named Ky Indy 300 Grand Marshal
Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Team Penske Advisor Rick Mears will be the grand marshal for the IZOD IndyCar Series 200th event and give 27 drivers the command to fire their engines for the Sept. 4 "Kentucky Indy 300" at Kentucky Speedway.
The open-wheel luminary serves as spotter for three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and will add a unique element to the grand marshal role by delivering the command from the spotters stand high atop the Kentucky Speedway frontstretch.
More than a decade since his last race, Mears remains one of the most successful racers in history. Many of his records have weathered the years since his retirement in 1992. Among the most significant:
- He is one of only three drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times.
- He has earned the most pole awards (six), most wins from the pole position (three), most front-row starts (11), and most consecutive front-row starts (six) in the 93-year history of the Indy 500.
- He ranks fourth overall in Indy car pole positions (40), eighth in race wins (29), and seventh in laps led (3,506), which he accomplished in 203 starts.
- He was the first Indy driver to earn $10 million.
Mears' accomplishments have been recognized and honored by a variety of organizations. In 1990, he was named the Associated Press' "Driver of the Decade" for his 20 wins in the 1980s. In 1997, Mears was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
This season, Mears helped place Team Penske in position to capture its second IZOD IndyCar Series title in five seasons. Will Power will enter Saturday's "Kentucky Indy 300" owning five victories, 10 top- five and 11 top-10 finishes while holding a 23-point championship advantage over two-time and defending series champion Dario Franchitti with three races remaining on the schedule.
Team Penske drivers Castroneves and defending "Kentucky Indy 300" champ Ryan Briscoe have combined to score two victories, 12 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes this season. Briscoe ranks fourth in this season's championship standings and Castroneves sits fifth.
The "Kentucky Indy 300" will be part of the speedway's "Celebrate Speed" weekend that also will place the racing spotlight the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series "Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" Sept. 3. Fans visiting Sept. 4 also will see the Firestone Indy Lights "Drive Smart. Buckle-Up Kentucky 100" and country music supergroup Diamond Rio.
Single-race tickets for the track's inaugural Labor Day event weekend can be reserved through the tickets pages of this Web site, by phone at 888-652-7223 (RACE) or by visiting the Kentucky Speedway ticket offices at 400 Buttermilk Pike, Suite 100, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., next to the Montgomery Inn Restaurant or the Fan Center located off of Interstate 71, Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N in Sparta, Ky. Tickets additionally are available through tickets.com outlets
Story by Mike Schmaltz
~Kentucky Speedway ~