92nd INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRE-RACE CELEBRITY RED CARPET QUOTES Sunday, May 25, 2008, Indianapolis Motor Speedway MARCUS ALLEN (Pro Football Hall of Famer, Heisman Trophy winner): "I'm excited. Last year was my first time, and I gained a much ...
92nd INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRE-RACE CELEBRITY RED CARPET QUOTES
Sunday, May 25, 2008, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
MARCUS ALLEN (Pro Football Hall of Famer, Heisman Trophy winner): "I'm excited. Last year was my first time, and I gained a much greater appreciation, being here in person and seeing all the people, asking questions about how everything works, seeing the racers, seeing the speeds they go, seeing the pit crews work, hearing the communications and how it works, I just have a much greater appreciation for these drivers. I always did, but when you go at top speeds, you really understand what they are doing and stuff, so it's great for me. I'm pulling for Tomas (Scheckter). We're hoping he does well today."
SABRINA BRYAN (Entertainer, "Dancing with the Stars"): "Oh my gosh! It's so exciting. Even just the drive in, it was like, 'Oh my gosh!' I just got chills seeing all of the people out there already ready to have fun, ready for a good day. I saw Helio (Castroneves) last night and gave him the best of luck and the warmest wishes. I'm just so excited to be here. I remember when I was little, my grandpa had it on all the time and I told my manager earlier today, that if he were around I would've had to bring him and I couldn't have brought her because he absolutely loves race car driving. It's just really cool to watch it when I was little and now to actually be here. He'd be so excited for me."
(About event): "It's just great. Everyone from Indianapolis is here, and they're just so excited to be here. They're so proud of it and the Indy 500 is a big thing, and it's really great to see how proud they are."
WHITNEY CUNNINGHAM (Model, "America's Next Top Model winner): "This is my first time at the Speedway, and wow, this place is huge. I've done the Daytona 500, but this is my first time in Indianapolis. I love it!"
BARRON DAVIS (Point guard, Golden State Warriors): (On what it's like to be back again representing Luczo Dragon Racing): "It's great. Look at the people, the energy. The weather's great. We've got a good chance of winning, Luczo Dragon Racing No. 12, Tomas Scheckter. I'm just looking forward to having a good time on a great day; great holiday."
(On what it's like to be affiliated with Luczo Dragon Racing): "It's great. Anytime you can lend some support, as well as just being involved with a sport that's different from your own and learn the nuts and bolts to how it works behind the scenes, it really gives you a better understanding and makes you even more of a fan. Go Scheckter."
JENNA ELFMAN (Actress): "I'm unbelievably excited, and just walking through the pit right now I was getting very excited at the idea of the full-body experience that I am about to have and that I've heard so much about and haven't yet experienced myself. Things are looking up to have a good day. I'm a total newbie. Everything's new to me. That's why I'm such an excited person right now."
(About red carpet): "It's awesome because the red carpets here are really friendly as opposed to the red carpets in Hollywood. They are their own Snake Pit."
WILLIAM FICHTNER (Actor): "This is my third Indianapolis 500 in a row. The Speedway speaks for itself; there's only one. I'm a huge IndyCar fan, and I couldn't be happier that the two series are back together. I look forward to the next year when everybody gets used to the Champ Car guys getting back into these cars, but it really makes it special to be here this year. I love all motorsports, from NHRA and NASCAR, but I love IndyCar racing. To come here to the Speedway today, it's just the Holy Grail, and it doesn't get any better than this. My wife said to me this year, 'Are you really going back there this year?' I said: 'Don't go there honey. That's a dark and lonely road. You bet I'm going back again.'"
THOMAS HEARNS (Former world champion boxer): "Yesterday's race alone was great. The speed is just fantastic. To see how fast they go and how much control they have. I mean, come on, man! I've never dreamed of being able to come to a track and see an athlete do anything like that. Every team here is great. It's incredible. I look out here, and I see this audience in the stands. I know millions of people watch it at home, but it's nothing like the 300,000 people who are going to be here in person."
PATRICIA HEATON (Actress, IPL 500 Festival Parade grand marshal): "I had the honor of being invited to be grand marshal, and I'm a Midwestern girl from Ohio. We were here in Indianapolis for the Heartland Film Festival. Obviously, the Indy 500 is the great American tradition, so it was an honor to be invited to be a part of it. We sponsored Sarah Fisher's car for our company, Four Boys Films, when we heard about her sponsors dropping out and she and her husband putting their life savings into their racing team. We've done that with our production company, so we thought we'd give her a hand. This is our first time here. We're really looking forward to today."
JULIANNE HOUGH (Singer/dancer, "Dancing with the Stars," will sing national anthem before today's race): "It's been awesome. I was here with Helio last season on the show. It was really cool. It will be even better today because the stands will be filled, and the energy and adrenaline and everything and especially to root on Helio. I'm excited."
(About singing the national anthem): "For me to be able to sing the national anthem is a real honor, I feel really blessed. You'll always be nervous. I'm always nervous before I dance, when I sing, when I do interviews, but I love the energy from the crowd. I'm really excited. I sang the national anthem at the Long Beach Grand Prix last year, and that was really fun. I got to meet George Lucas, so that was really cool."
(Do you have a favorite to win today?) "I always joke with Helio, 'I'm rooting for Andretti' and he's like 'Aw, I hate you!' Of course, I'm rooting for Helio, and I think he has a really good shot."
(Will you help him climb the fence if he wins?) "Oh, I'd love to, but I'm not going to steal his moment. That would be his moment. And not in these shoes, that wouldn't work too well."
DREW LACHEY (Singer, "Dancing with the Stars"): "I'm rooting for Helio Castroneves, but I'm also rooting for Ryan Hunter-Reay. I'm obviously rooting for Helio because of the 'Dancing with the Stars' connection, but I actually became friends with Ryan's girlfriend, Becky, during a celebrity grand prix in Long Beach. I'm hoping everyone has a good run today and that we finish under green."
(About whether he'd rather see Castroneves or Hunter-Reay): "I can't answer that. Helio has two, and he won 'Dancing with the Stars,' and this is Ryan's first race, but I don't know."
(About his impression of this race): "Indianapolis throws a great party for this race. The people here are great. Everyone is here to have a good time. In terms of the actual event itself, there isn't anything else like it. It is a great race, and I love coming here."
MARLEE MATLIN (Academy Award-winning actress, "Dancing with the Stars"): "This is my first time here at the Indy 500, and I'm just in awe. It's just a different world for me. ('Dancing' partner) Fabian (Sanchez) and I have had a wonderful time here. The fans are awesome. 'Dancing with the Stars' really changed my life, just as I assume it did for Helio."
TED McGINLEY (Actor): "I'm very excited. I'm a lifelong fan, so this is a dream come true for me. I like Marco (Andretti) a lot, and I like Tony Kanaan, and I like Danica (Patrick), but I'm not on that bandwagon. I like Marco Andretti. That's the guy I want to win. With Dixon and Wheldon, you've got two great shots there, and I think Kanaan is always in it here, and my emotional favorite is Marco Andretti."
(About reunification): "I'm all for it. I was so disappointed when they split, and now that they're back, I think that it gives racing, especially open-wheel racing, a better opportunity at popularity. This is the most exciting form of racing, in my opinion. I love open-wheel. I think it's the way to go."
JIM NABORS (Actor, entertainer, singing "Back Home Again in Indiana"): "I'm just so happy to be back. I really missed last year. It was very emotional for me to miss it. I'm glad to be back. Last year, I was watching the race on TV, in the hospital, with tears streaming down my face. I've been coming here for so long. The Indy is the Indy. I first sang at this race in 1972, and I've only missed two or three years. There have been so many changes, and I'm really excited about this year."
(Do you have a favorite to win today?) "I just want it to be a safe race. The kids are always so great. I have a few special ones in my heart that I root for, secretly."
RUPERT ("Survivor"): "It's a beautiful day. We're going to have a great race, and it's my daughter's first race. My first race I was 10 years old in '74. I haven't made every race since then, but this has got to be about 25. I've made every race since '92. I've been either working the race or been that celebrity."
(On coming back to the Indy 500): "I love it. My favorite time, still, is when you hear that 'Gentleman and ladies start your engines.' You hear and feel that rumble and the ground kind of shakes, and you feel it down in your chest. I love that part."
(On his favorite to win): "You know, Tomas Scheckter's been my guy since he was a rookie here. I've always liked Tomas Scheckter. Sarah Fisher; great driver, we love Sarah Fisher. I've got a few favorites that I really like."
FABIAN SANCHEZ ("Dancing with the Stars"): "You see this place on TV and it looks pretty big, but we pulled in here in the bus and they said this was the middle, and I was like, 'Oh my God, this is amazing!'"
SLASH (Musician): "I'm here actually as a birthday present from my wife. I'm a big race fan, and I've never been to the Indy 500. I'm a virgin. Yeah, this will be my first time. It's great. The spirit here is pretty electrifying, the whole thing. I'm having a great time."
(Do you have a pick for today's winner?): "We've been voting for the girls, Danica, Sarah and Milka. I like the underdog. There are a lot of racers to try to pick just one because the chances of knowing any one particular person is going to win is pretty slim. If a girl wins it, will be a huge upset. I always like a big controversy. I'm into Grand Prix racing, and I race, as well. I do road courses, fast track around the country as an amateur, so you'll see me popping up here and there. When they asked me to come here, I knew exactly where I was going."
ALISON SWEENEY (Actress): "This is my second time here, and it is great. I can't make a prediction on who I think will win, but I am excited to see all of them battle it out. I am rooting for Danica (Patrick)."
(About the Indy 500): "It is overwhelming seeing all the people packed in here. The power of the cars is an incredible experience. If you have not done this once in your life, then you have to get out here and do it. It is an amazing time."
KRISTI YAMAGUCHI (Olympic gold medalist, "Dancing with the Stars" winner, 92nd Indianapolis 500 Honorary Starter):
(With this being your first time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, what does it mean to you to be waving the green to start off the 92nd Indianapolis 500?): "It is a huge honor to be here. I'm thrilled to be watching the race. It's obviously a bigger honor to be able to wave the green flag. I'm getting a little nervous now."
(Is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway bigger than you thought it would be?): "This is unbelievable. I've been to opening ceremonies for the Olympics and everything. But this is just jaw-dropping. I have never been in front of 400,000 fans before."
(Where does this rank on your list of your top 10 accomplishments?): "This is definitely among my top 10. This is incredible, a huge honor to just be part of it, let alone getting to wave the starting flag. This is probably one of the biggest sporting events in the world?"
(Yes, it's the largest single day sporting event in the world): "Now I am even more excited and nervous. Oh, man, just unbelievable."
(Are you here to cheer for any drivers in the race?): "There are a couple I plan to keep my eye on. Obviously Helio Castroneves, we're going to be joined together as 'Dancing with the Stars' brothers and comrades. Definitely routing for Helio. We have a connection with Symantec Luczo Dragon Racing; my foundation was one of the beneficiaries of their team last year. I think what they are doing is great, like bringing in other athletes and supporting their charitable organizations. I would also have to throw Danica Patrick in there. You know, it's all about girl power. Danica Patrick is coming into this race with a lot of momentum. I like to back the women every now and then. It will be fun to see how she does."
IAN ZIERING (Actor, "Dancing with the Stars"): (This being your second Indy 500 in a row, what are your thoughts on coming back?): "Unfortunately, I am here to support Rubicon Team Racing. Unfortunately, they will not be participating in today's Indy 500. But they are still in the show."
(Thoughts on Rubicon Team Racing continuing on this year in the IndyCar Series): "This was an unfortunate first setback. They'll pull it all together, and look for some strong finishes from these guys later this year."
(How is attending this year different from last year here?): "Well, first of all, it is not raining like last year. That is a big plus. Also I see even more fans here than last year. That must be due to the open-wheel racing finally merging together. It's great to see that happen."
(Routing for any drivers in the race this year?): "For me it's Helio (Castroneves). I would love to see him pull it into Victory Lane. I've know him with 'Dancing with the Stars;' he's just a good guy."