news 4 days ago

Indianapolis Motor Speedway to make graduation a lifetime memory for class of 2020 seniors

Sporting News — (Mike DeCourcy)

There was supposed to be a big race this month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a tradition that dates back more than 100 years. There also was scheduled to be a graduation for the senior class at nearby Speedway Senior High School, with students in the school’s auditorium called one-by-one from the audience to receive their diplomas.

With neither of those events tenable this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials at the track and the school district pulled a fast one.

Now, Speedway High students will cross their graduation finish line at the Brickyard.

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Indianapolis CBS affiliate WTTV reported on Wednesday that all students and their families will be permitted to drive on the IMS track, pull up to “The Yard of Bricks” that represents the finish line, hear their names called and be handed a diploma — and a chance to take a quick photograph. Then they will speed away (hopefully not at a Mario Andretti pace) and allow the next student the same amazing experience.

The Indy 500 made legends of A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Rick Mears and Helio Castroneves. Last year’s winner, Simon Pagenaud, hopes to join them someday, and perhaps will take another lap toward that status when this year’s race is contested on Aug. 23. Now, the Speedway High seniors will follow in their tracks.

Let’s be honest: This is way better than sitting in an auditorium or football stadium. Those family members who can’t squeeze into the car, by the way, will be able to watch on a Speedway High livestream.

“I think it will be something they will be able to remember for the rest of their lives,” IMS president Doug Boles told WTTV. “At least we’re going to have somebody crossing the Yard of Bricks, and maybe they can all go have their own little glass of milk afterwards.”