FIELD OF 33 BALLOONS SET FOR IMS CENTENNIAL ERA BALLOON FESTIVAL
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 22, 2009 -- Paying honor to the traditional starting field of 33 cars for the annual Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, a field of 33 balloons and pilots will compete in the three-day Centennial Era Balloon Festival presented by AT&T Real Yellow Pages on Friday, May 1 to Sunday, May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Hot air balloon pilots hailing from 13 states, stretching from California to Michigan, 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 a race during the Speedway's Centennial Era celebrations.
"Just as the Indy 500 showcases the best in motor racing, we have selected a strong lineup of colorful balloons and professional and personable pilots for the Centennial Era Balloon Festival," said event balloonmeister Scott McClinton. "The pilots are ready to put on a show, both at the evening glows and morning races from the IMS infield, that the public will not soon forget."
The Centennial Era Balloon Festival presented by AT&T Real Yellow Pages is one of many events over the next three years that will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which was founded and built in 1909, and the 100th anniversary of the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911.
The Energizer Bunny "Hot Hare" Balloon, celebrating its 20th anniversary, will dwarf the competition in size. It's the world's tallest balloon at 166 feet. Balloons representing national brands such as AT&T Advertising Solutions, Target and RE/MAX will add their unique splash of color and character, mixing with Indiana favorites such as Bloomington-based Oliver Winery and the Riley Children's Foundation.
The public is invited to attend the Friday and Saturday evening balloon "glows," as well as the launch of the 100 Years Race on Sunday morning, all of which are free and will take place in the IMS infield. Public parking will be available in the IMS infield, and guests should plan to enter IMS via the Gate 2 tunnel on 16th Street.
For a complete schedule and list of Centennial Era Balloon Festival presented by AT&T Real Yellow Pages activities, visit http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/balloonfest.
2009 IMS tickets: Established in 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has long prevailed as an icon of motorsports excellence. Beginning in 2009, the Speedway celebrates its Centennial Era, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the facility in 2009 and the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 2011.
Tickets for the three events in 2009 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- the Indianapolis 500, Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP -- can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com at any time.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.
<pre> ENTRY LIST: Centennial Era Balloon Festival presented by AT&T Real Yellow Pages Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 1-3, 2009 (Tentative, subject to change)
Corporate Balloon Pilot Hometown 1 United Van Lines Roy Caton Cedar Hill, Mo. 2 Mayflower Transit Kevin Knapp Fenton, Mo. 3 Energizer Bunny "Hot Hare" Glo Kehoe Albuquerque, N.M. 4 AVocalOn Tony Sandlin Indianapolis 5 Post Cereals David Jaques East Leroy, Mich. 6 Target George Ibach Minneapolis 7 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Warren D. Smith Bloomington, Ind. 8 Farmers Insurance Group Jeff Cable Simi Valley, Calif. 9 Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Cheri White Austin, Texas 10 Oliver Winery Bill Oliver Bloomington, Ind. 11 Oliver Winery Travis Vencel Bloomington, Ind. 12 Applebee's Ken Lubben Homer Glen, Ill. 13 Stars and Heights: Taking Riley to New Heights Mark Westra Greenfield, Ind. 14 AT&T Advertising Solutions Tim Basey Louisville, Ky. 15 Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation Al Hansen Winamac, Ind. 16 IMTS Patrick Fogue Columbia, Mo. 17 Indianapolis Motor Speedway* Carl Young DeWitt, Iowa 18 RE/MAX Jeff Menchhofer McCordsville, Ind.
Sport Balloonists Hometown 19 Dave Champion Paxton, Ill. 20 Steward Gibboney Grove City, Ohio 21 Frank McCrory Floyds Knobs, Ind. 22 Pat Newell Noblesville, Ind. 23 Tom Steinbock Crestwood, Ky. 24 Phil Thompson Galena, Ill. 25 Ken Walter Waukesha, Wis. 26 Chase Donner Indianapolis 27 Jerry Copas Sellersburg, Ind. 28 Gary Moore Lake Havasu City, Ariz. 29 Paul Petrehn Howell, Mich. 30 Shawn Raya Oxford, Mich. 31 David Troutman Louisville, Ky. 32 Dave Bobel Rochester, Ind. 33 Chris Smart Huntington, Ind.
*Will serve as the "Hare balloon" during the Founders Race and 100 Years Race.
</pre> -credit: ims