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Blackhawks singer Cornelison tapped for ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’

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One of the most iconic performers in all the NHL is Chicago Blackhawks singer Jim Cornelison, whose national anthems before games have become legendary.

Cornelison will now head from the ice to the track for one of racing’s most legendary events, the Indianapolis 500. He’ll sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” ahead of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, carrying on the tradition established by Jim Nabors through 2014. A capella group Straight No Chaser took the baton in 2015, before Josh Kaufman sang it last year.

The release from IMS is below:

Jim Cornelison, renowned for his stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Chicago Blackhawks’ home games, will sing “Back Home Again In Indiana” before the start of the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Cornelison, a 1992 graduate of the Master of Music program at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, has been the popular, exclusive singer of the national anthem before all Blackhawks’ home games at the United Center in Chicago since the 2008-09 season. His soaring vocals and spirited style have welcomed millions of network viewers to the Stanley Cup Finals over multiple championship runs for the Blackhawks’ organization.

“Jim Cornelison’s powerful tenor voice is one that most sports fans know and have heard in in the United Center and on TV sets across the country,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “We are thrilled to welcome him to IMS to perform the song that means so much to every Indianapolis 500 fan – whether they are from Indiana or otherwise – and we would like to thank the Blackhawks’ organization for working with us to allow Jim to be here for this most important pre-race tradition.”

The popularity of his powerful, respectful performances has led to Cornelison singing in front of national audiences at many other sporting events, including 2012 Ryder Cup golf match, Arlington Million horse race, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” and two USA Rugby matches, the first vs. New Zealand All Blacks and the second vs. Australia at Soldier Field. He’s also made television performances on “TODAY,” “The Colbert Report” and “Harry Connick Jr. Show.”

Cornelison’s widespread appreciation and popularity in Chicago is also evident on his resume. He has performed before games for every major Chicago professional sports team.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to come back to Indianapolis for the ‘500,’” said Cornelison. “What a blast! And to be asked to sing ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ is a special treat and honor. Thanks to the team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for thinking of me. I can’t wait for Race Day!”

Cornelison, a tenor, sang with numerous opera companies before becoming one of six accepted apprentices from more than 800 applicants for the Lyric Opera’s Apprenticeship Program in Chicago in 1995.

He has performed nationally and internationally with some of the biggest names in opera, including Placido Domingo and Zubin Mehta, and with opera companies in the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, France and many other locations.

Washington state native Cornelison has a strong commitment to the U.S. Armed Forces and to charitable organizations. He serves on the advisory board of the Illinois Patriot Education Fund, is the honorary squadron commander of the USAF Band of Mid-America and an honorary member of the World President’s Organization. He regularly participates with charitable organizations such as Dreams for Kids, the USO and veterans’ support groups.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.