Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

March 22, 2013

IMS celebrates spring with flag ceremony

Colts player participates in racing tradition

By Brenda L. Holmes
CNHI

SPEEDWAY —  Indianapolis Colts’ punter Pat McAfee got a glimpse of Indy’s racing traditions Friday when he was invited to help raise the flags on the famous wing and wheel logo at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

McAfee arrived at IMS in an IZOD IndyCar Series two-seat racecar.

“At the light there I got to thinking that there’s not a lot of protection here if you got rear-ended,” McAfee said when he jumped out of the vehicle.

The community was invited to witness McAfee help raise the flags — which is an annual spring tradition at the track

“I’m honored to be a part of this 500 tradition at this historical track,” he said. “I thought it was going to be super cold and windy, but it wasn’t bad.”

McAfee placed the flags on the logo with assistance from IMS employee Andy Loviscek.

“The ride up was a little bumpy but my new friend Andy is a veteran at doing this,” McAfee said. “And I also had on a harness that made me look like I was in ‘X Men.’”

He said he’s a new racing fan. Having grown up in Pittsburgh, he said he just wasn’t exposed to the sport until moving here.

“But I like it,” McAfee said. “Racing wasn’t too big in Pittsburgh. I can’t wait to go to the Indy 500 in May.”

Prior to his duties at the track, McAfee took a tour of the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway.

“The people at Dallara were great,” he said. “If you haven’t been there, you should go. It’s a nice facility.”

IMS traditionally displays the flags for the duration of the IZOD IndyCar Series racing season. The first race for the 2013 season is the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday.

NBC Sports Network’s live race broadcast will air from noon to 2 p.m. March 24. The IMS Radio Network will begin its live broadcast of the race at noon for affiliates, on Sirius and XM 211, and on indycar.com.

brenda.holmes@flyergroup.com