Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ronald Reagan centennial car wins Indy 500

Reagan birthplace, Feb. 6, 2011
Even his centennial year, President Ronald Reagan is a winner.

From the Deseret News:
Reagan again entered the annals of racing history when Dan Wheldon's No. 98 car improbably won Sunday's Indianapolis 500 race. Per CNN, the nose of Wheldon's car was adorned with "the Reagan Presidential Foundation's seal honoring the centennial of his birth."

The IndyCar website reports that Reagan was "a lifelong auto racing fan (and) the track announcer at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines in the 1930s." Politico remembers that Reagan "drove the pace car in the 1976 Indianapolis 500" and "in 1984 became the first sitting president to attend a NASCAR race."

The 100th running of the Indy 500 ended with what Yahoo! Sports calls "the most dramatic, spectacular and heartbreaking finish in the great race's proud history": Wheldon taking the lead less than 200 yards before the finish line after frontrunner JR Hillenbrand crashed on the race's 2,000th and final turn.
Reagan passed way in 2004 from Alzheimer's Disease. Wheldon's mother is suffering from the same infirmity--and Wheldon was wearing the Alzheimer's Association logo on his racing suit. Blogger John Egan says the winner choked up when he mentioned his mother during a post-race interview.

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