In this year’s running of the Indianapolis 500, Johnson County residents are front and center.
From the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade to the winner’s circle, here is a look at where you can see local residents involved in the 100th running of the race:
In the race
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A locally-owned team will be one of 33 in the running to win the Indianapolis 500.Bryan Clauson, driving the No. 88 Dale Coyne/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing Cancer Treatment Centers of America Honda, will start on the inside of Row 10.
Jonathan Byrd’s Racing is owned by the Byrd family, which for more than 28 years ran Johnathan Byrd’s, a restaurant off Sheek Road on the east side of Greenwood. The restaurant recently closed.
Last year, the family team had a car in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in a decade.
But the team’s history stretches back to 1985 and has included drivers Rich Vogler, Stan Fox, Gordon Johncock, Scott Brayton, John Andretti, Davy Jones, Arie Luyendyk, John Paul Jr. and Jaques Lazier.
In the winner’s circle
After the winning car crosses the finish line, a Johnson County farmer will be waiting with the traditional bottle of milk.Joe Kelsay, co-owner of Kelsay Farms in Whiteland, will hand-deliver two ice cold bottles of milk to the owner and mechanic in Victory Circle after the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Kelsay was selected by the American Dairy Association of Indiana to be the Rookie Milk Man for this year’s race. He will be joined by Milk Lady Janet Dague of Kewanna, who will hand the bottle of milk to the winning driver.
Kelsay’s father, Merrill Kelsay, was the Rookie Milk Man in 2006 and was the Milk Man in 2007. He handed the bottle to winning driver Dario Franchitti that year.
Leading the parade
Joining the likes of Bob Hope and Larry Bird, a Greenwood teen will be the grand marshal of the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade.Fourteen-year-old Emma Stumpf was named as the youngest grand marshal to ever lead the historic parade. Her float will be the focal point of the parade on Saturday.
The teen has been battling cancer since 2009, and parade organizers selected her for her courage, strength and willingness to help others. Shortly before the weekend events, Emma was in Memphis, Tennessee, recovering from surgery Monday that removed 95 percent of the tumor in her brain.
Four local women are representing Johnson County on the court of Indianapolis 500 Festival Princesses.Jessi Arbuckle of Greenwood, a junior at Taylor University; Elyse Hoy of Greenwood, a sophomore at Franklin College; Morgan Lee of Greenwood, a junior at Indiana Wesleyan University; and Nilofer Rajpurkar of Greenwood, a junior at Purdue University, are all on the court this year.
Caitlyn Foye of Newburgh, a sophomore at Butler University, was named the 500 Festival Queen, taking over for Ali Mathena, a Whiteland Community High School graduate who was named queen last year.