Massive Borg-Warner Trophy image to adorn Indy’s JW Marriott

Photo: IMS
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See the Borg-Warner Trophy like you never have previously, adorning the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

Here’s the release with further details, as well as a video about the project:

Visitors looking to the sky will be greeted by a massive rendering of the iconic Borg-Warner Trophy throughout this epic Month of May. The 100th Running Host Committee has commissioned a 74,538 sq. ft. graphic celebrating the 100th Running of the Indy 500 Presented by PennGrade Motor Oil will adorn the exterior of downtown’s JW Marriott Indianapolis, greeting guests from across the globe traveling to Indianapolis for this year’s race.

EpicPlaceEpicRace

“I can’t think of a better way to build anticipation for the 100th Running and celebrate this city’s unique capacity to successfully host marquee sporting events,” said Patty Martin, member of the 100th Running Host Committee’s Executive Committee and the 2016 chair of the 500 Festival Board of Directors. “The 100th Running Host Committee, with its many wonderful volunteers and generous donors, is extremely proud of this effort that will inspire pride amongst Hoosiers and awe from onlookers across the globe.”

The full graphic features the Trophy, an IndyCar, racing stripes and the phase “Epic Race. Epic Place.” It also includes the Host Committee logo lockup, composed of the 100th Running logo and the 500 Festival logo. It will be installed by Hoosier company, Sport Graphics.

In total, the graphic will be 246 ft. wide by 303 ft. tall. The 501 panels which compose the project will be installed by hand beginning today, with full installation complete for most of the Month of May.

If all panels were laid end to end, they would cover 13,200 ft., the 2.5 mile length of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Sport Graphics has adorned the JW Marriott twice before with high-profile graphics celebrating the biggest events, the first time for the 2012 Super Bowl and the second time for the 2015 Men’s Final Four. The 100th Running graphic is more than twice the imprint of the Super Bowl image and a third larger than the imprint of the Final Four bracket.

The 100th Running Host Committee is part of the 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs celebrating the legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and fostering a positive impact throughout the Hoosier state, working in tandem with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame museum. The Host Committee includes 12 full volunteer committees and 40 sub-committees with hundreds of enthusiastic community volunteers. These individuals are charged with working together to celebrate and leverage the 100th Running by enhancing the quality of life for all Hoosiers, elevating the image of the State of Indiana, heightening civic pride, creating cultural connection, enabling social impact and stimulating education.

For more information on the host committee and a list of upcoming events, go to: http://www.500Festival.com/100thRunning or search #100RunningHC on social media.

This has been done before for the NCAA. See this video for more information.

Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing
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To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip it’s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he’s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour – and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLaren’s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

MORE: McLaren considering Kyle Busch for Indy 500

“The shock going into the first race was the speed,” Foust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driver’s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth – but the pace was there and that was important.

“We had some challenges this season,” Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.”

Foust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – Extreme E’s version of a Last Chance Qualifier – and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabia’s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean – and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team over this year,” Foust said after the race. “We have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.


Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chile’s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

“I’m loving the experience,” Foust said. “I’m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

“I honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

“I think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.”