Teammates Marco Andretti, left, and Alexander Rossi with the Wall of Gratitude. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Crown Royal)

Wall of Gratitude honoring military heroes exceeds goal, will become permanent fixture at IMS

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Andretti Autosport and Crown Royal announced Friday that they have significantly exceeded their goal of collecting 31,680 male and female military hero names for the Wall of Gratitude.

The promotion began last year and was reactivated again last month at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and concludes Monday, May 28, at IMS.

Each submitted name of a military hero is engraved on a five-inch gold plaque. When placed side-by-side, the 31,680 names equals the 2.5-mile length around IMS.

As of Friday afternoon, the promotion has reached nearly 45,000 names, which would circle IMS 1 ½ times – a number that is expected to continue growing through Memorial Day.

“The Crown Royal Wall of Gratitude is a pretty special thing for myself and the whole Andretti Autosport team,” 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi said. “We announced this morning that we have officially exceeded our goal of collecting more than 31,680 military hero names to honor on the Wall.

“The fact that Crown Royal extended the Wall of Gratitude program this year is pretty special. I am very honored to show appreciation for the veterans that allow us to live the way we do in this country.”

Earlier this week, Rossi visited Stout Army Airfield in the Indianapolis area to thank military men and women for their service.

Rossi signs an autograph for a military member at Stout Army Airfield earlier this week. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Crown Royal)

The Wall of Gratitude will be on display at IMS in the Fan Midway throughout the next week, on up through race day, the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500, on Sunday, May 27.

Scheduled viewing times are:

  • Saturday, May 19: 10am-4pm
  • Sunday, May 20: 10am-4pm
  • Friday, May 25: 9:30am-3:30pm
  • Sunday, May 27: 8am-Green Flag

Plans are underway to permanently place the Wall of Gratitude at IMS later this year.

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Dan Ticktum wins crash-marred FIA F3 World Cup in Macau
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Overshadowed by a horrific crash involving Sophia Floersch was the fact that 19-year-old Dan Ticktum dominated and won the Macau Grand Prix – a victory that puts him closer to earning the superlicence required to allow him to race with Formula 1, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Ticktum won Macau’s qualification race as well as the Grand Prix, starting first in both events. For his victories, he earned 10 points, which combined with 25 for his runner-up finish in the European F3 Championship leaves him just five below the 40 needed for the license.

This was Ticktum’s second Macau Grand Prix victory.

“It was a dominant performance that I was preparing for,” Ticktum said on his web site. “I don’t think I’ve ever prepared as hard as I did for this race and it all worked out. In the final race a lot of variables were thrown at me but I handled them.”

On his way to victory lane, Ticktum had to survive several restarts including the lengthy red flag period following Floersch’s accident to repair the barrier.

“I can’t count how many safety car restarts we had to do,” Ticktum said. “It puts a lot of pressure on a driver here with such a long run down to the first corner. I can’t remember a weekend when I’ve put it all together so well.

“The car was absolutely perfect all weekend, it was so good and I can’t thank Motopark enough for that. I’ve never been so involved in the set-up, felt so at one with the car as I did this weekend.”