- Brad Barket/Getty Images
It seems the impassioned public outcry from the vast majority of Hoosiers and racing fans alike to 'Dump Trump' was not in vain. According to a press release, Donald Trump told Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials Thursday that he will not drive the pace car at this year's Indy 500 as planned.
Trump said it would be inappropriate for him to participate as he "may be announcing shortly his intention to run for the office of the President of the United States." He's a sly one, that Trump.
"I very much appreciate the honor, but time and business constraints make my appearance there, especially with the necessary practice sessions, impossible to fulfill... I look forward to watching the race from New York."
IMS president and CEO Jeff Belskus had the following to say:
"Donald Trump has been very enthusiastic about the '500' from the beginning of our conversations, and I have appreciated the interaction we have had with him and his staff... From my first conversation, I was impressed by his deep understanding of the event and history, and I thank him for being a true fan."
The driver of the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Pace Car will be announced later this month. This year's race, scheduled for Sunday, May 29th, will mark the 100th anniversary running.
Update: The IMS announced Friday that A.J. Foyt, the first four-time winner of the Indy 500, will drive the pace car instead. In the circulated press release:
"Since I won my first Indy 500 50 years ago, I had hoped to still be racing in it, but driving the Pace Car is the next best thing!" Foyt said.
"Seriously, racing has always been very important in my life - it's been my life - and the Indianapolis 500 is the most important race in the world. I lived for that race. When I got hurt in race cars, I always made it back for Indy because it is that important. That's where people know me from - Indy. So being asked by my good friend Mari George to drive the Chevy Pace Car for the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500 - well, I couldn't have a bigger honor come from the Speedway and the Hulman-George family."
The Speedway will honor Foyt on May 28, A.J. Foyt Day. He'll be on hand to sign autographs and participate in a Q&A session with fans.