Multiple Grammy Award-winning artist LeAnn Rimes will sing the National Anthem for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Thursday.
“To sing the national anthem at one of the most prestigious racing events is truly an honor,” Rimes said in a release. “The adrenaline at the Speedway is felt around the world and I know I am one of millions who is so excited to hear those six legendary words ‘ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.'”
Added IMS President Doug Boles, “The pre-race pageantry of the Indianapolis 500 is one of the most exciting traditions in sports and a highlight of those activities is the singing of our national anthem. We are looking forward to LeAnn Rimes’ performance and hearing her amazing voice as we pay tribute to our great nation and the men and women who have served to defend our freedoms.”
Pre-race for this year’s Indianapolis 500 will likely stir emotions for fans, as it will also mark the last time Jim Nabors will sing “Back Home Again in Indiana.”
Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.953 mph.
Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.
Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.
The practice was interrupted several times for incidents.
Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.
With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.
“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”
With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.
Dixon also had an off-road excursion.