IndyCar will ring in the New Year for the second straight year with a ceremonial drop of one of its open-wheel cars late Thursday in downtown Indianapolis.
But instead of calling it a drop, IndyCar officials have rechristened the ceremony as an “IndyCar descent.”
“No one wants to drop an IndyCar,” Bob Schultz, Downtown Indy’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Events, told the Indianapolis Star. “It’s just too precious.”
Not to mention expensive.
So, instead, the two-seat open-wheel racer will descend in downtown Indianapolis, similar to the way the Waterford crystal ball descends in Times Square in New York City.
By the time the IndyCar reaches the ground, those attending the celebration will be yelling “Happy New Year” and hugging, kissing and cheering in the new year.
This year’s “descent” will have extra special meaning as it will be the official kickoff to the celebration of what’s to come nearly six months later: the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The event begins Thursday night at 8 pm ET on Georgia Street in downtown Indy and will include a number of musical performances by popular local bands.
The car will begin its descent at 11:59 pm ET, followed by a fireworks display.
A test run of the descent took place Tuesday and everything went off without a hitch.
“It was completely safe last year, but now the aesthetics have been improved to contribute to an incredible midnight experience,” Schultz said.
Weather last year was below zero; this year temperatures are expected to be higher. As a result, organizers are anticipating larger crowds, as well.
“It’s where the people are going to be,” Schultz said. “So if you want to be in the heart of that the energy of our downtown, there is no greater time than New Years Eve this year.”