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Trump backs out of Indy 500 pace car drive

"As far as I know, the speedway has not changed a pace car driver [once announced]," said track spokesman Doug Boles. "But there's been a pace car since 1911, so I don't know if anybody could definitively say it's not been changed."

Boles conceded that the public's reaction had been "a factor" in the discussions with Trump, and made it clear the fans' wishes would now be heard and taken into account. "Our fans want a former winner or they want a military person," agreed Boles. "When the [selection] group gets together, it will probably be a former winner." The selection group is chaired by Jeff Belskus and includes representatives from General Motors, series sponsors IZOD, and IndyCar itself.

Favourite to get the nod is four-time Indy 500 winner AJ Foyt who recently had emergency heart surgery in March. Foyt said he had not yet been approached - "Maybe they want Mario!" he quipped - but his IndyCar team hinted he would be honoured to perform the role if asked.

Since Foyt won the 50th anniversary Indy 500, his driving the pace car for the 100th anniversary would have particular resonance for fans.




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