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.”
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.