IRL: Minnie Indy Charity race preview

TWO AMERICAN TRADITIONS TO COMPETE IN 'MINNIE INDY CHARITY RACE' Disneyland Resort, Indianapolis 500 drivers to participate in special event May 24 at IMS INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 17, 2006 -- Checkered flags will wave, crowds will cheer, and...

TWO AMERICAN TRADITIONS TO COMPETE IN 'MINNIE INDY CHARITY RACE'
Disneyland Resort, Indianapolis 500 drivers to participate in special event May 24 at IMS

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 17, 2006 -- Checkered flags will wave, crowds will cheer, and engines will roar (both big and small) as two American traditions team up to celebrate special milestones.

In honor of Disneyland's 50th anniversary and the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500, "The Happiest Place on Earth" and "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" will team up for the "Minnie Indy Charity Race" at 1:30 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, May 24 during American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Minnie Mouse will be on hand to wave in the likes of Dan Wheldon, Danica Patrick, Eddie Cheever Jr., Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan, Buddy Rice and Jeff Simmons, who are among the 31 Indianapolis 500 drivers who will participate in the whimsical race. They will be driving miniature cars taken directly from one of Disneyland's original opening day attractions -- the ever-popular Autopia. Since July 17, 1955, more than 203 million Disneyland guests have put pedal to the metal behind the wheel of these beloved little vehicles.

Instead of racing along the futuristic highways of Disneyland's Tomorrowland, the Autopia cars and their speed-loving IndyCar Series drivers will traverse a comical obstacle race course (at top speeds of 10 mph!) that will take place on a specially designed "Minnie" roadway created on the famous Brickyard. The "Minnie Indy Charity Race" will be led off by the original winning car of the 1911 Indy 500 in addition to the 2006 Chevrolet Z06 Indy 500 Pace Car. All drivers will line up in the actual Race Day grid -- based on qualifying times -- for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 scheduled for Sunday, May 28.

"It will be exciting to see the cars of Disneyland's Autopia racing across the famed Yard of Bricks with the greatest race drivers in the world driving them," said Joie Chitwood, president and chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "The Minnie Indy Charity Race will be a good complement to the events leading up to the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500."

Each driver will be accompanied by a young student, selected from a school participating in the 500 Festival and Indianapolis 500 Education Program, who will do his or her best to assist the drivers as they make their way through the course. The winning driver will win a $25,000 donation to his/her charity of choice, and the remaining drivers will receive $1,000 to donate to their charities of choice. The winning child will win an all-expense paid trip to the Disneyland Resort in Southern California that will include bringing his/her immediate family.

"The 500 Festival focuses on great family entertainment, so we are thrilled to be involved with Disneyland -- the master of family fun," said Kirk Hendrix, president and chief executive officer, 500 Festival.

Renowned Indianapolis 500 legends, including Michael Andretti and Al Unser Jr., will join current IRL drivers to compete for prize money on behalf of their favorite charities.

"The fun of Disneyland and the spectacle of the Indy 500 are two great American traditions," said Matt Ouimet, president of the Disneyland Resort. "As the 50th anniversary celebration enters its finale this summer we are proud that our Autopia cars will be on hand to commemorate 90 years of racing excellence at the Indy 500."

The 500 Festival was created in 1957 to organize civic events celebrating the Indianapolis 500. It is a not-for-profit organization supported by corporate sponsorships, memberships and ticket sales. More than 7,000 volunteers help produce 500 Festival events. With annual participation of more than 425,000 people from around Indiana and the world, it has grown to be one of the largest festivals in the nation.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been the worldwide leader in motorsports entertainment since it opened in 1909. The facility has played host to the Indianapolis 500, the world's largest single-day annual sporting event, since 1911 and also is the site of the United States Grand Prix Formula One race and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

Celebrating with the Indianapolis 500 is just one of the highlights of 2006 as the global 50th anniversary celebration of Disneyland continues around the world. Throughout the year each Disney resort will showcase more new innovative attractions and spectacular entertainment designed to appeal to guests of all ages with immersive experiences that only Disney can provide.

More information about the 50th anniversary celebration, plus vacations at the Disneyland Resort are available at www.disneyland.com, by calling (877) 700-DISNEY, or by visiting local travel agents.

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Indy 500 tickets on sale: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 Indianapolis 500, the 90th running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET) Monday-Sunday during May, with special hours of 7 a.m.-6 p.m. on WorldPoints Visa Card Pole Day and 6 a.m.-1 p.m. on Race Day. Online orders can be made at any time.

Ticket prices start at just $20.

-ims-

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Series Charity , IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Jeff Simmons , Danica Patrick