The month-long celebration in May 2004 leading up to the 88th Indianapolis 500 will mix the drama of IndyCar Series racing and the glamour of a Hollywood blockbuster with the theme of "Lights! Camera! Traction!"

The "Lights! Camera! Traction!" theme, announced earlier this week by Indianapolis Motor Speedway and 500 Festival officials, will be prominent in local and national Indianapolis 500 advertising and 500 Festival event materials. It also will be part of the many events that take place in Indianapolis in the month of May leading up to the 2004 Indianapolis 500 on May 30, including Community Day on May 26 at IMS and the 500 Festival Parade in downtown Indy on May 29.

Speedway and 500 Festival officials created the theme based on the many parallels that exist between the 500 Festival, Indianapolis 500 and Hollywood: the competition and camaraderie of the Indianapolis Life 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the drama of drivers and teams searching for speed early in the month, then vying for the coveted Indianapolis 500 MBNA Pole Award on Pole Day and the excitement and agony of drivers that do, and do not, make the field on Bump Day.

The week of the Indianapolis 500 warms up with Community Day and Carb Day and comes to a crescendo with the glamour, tradition and drama of the 500 Festival Parade and Race Day.

The Indianapolis 500 has seen a number of Hollywood celebrities and other special guests over the years. In the 1940s and 1950s, Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were among the Hollywood elite to attend the "500." More recently, notable names such as Michael Douglas, Anthony Edwards and Minnie Driver have been in the paddock.

Former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, and boxing legend Muhammad Ali attended the 2003 Indianapolis 500.

"We believe 'Lights! Camera! Traction!' truly captures the look and feel of the month of May, and I'm eagerly looking forward to Opening Day," said Tony George, president and chief executive officer of IMS. "The theme is a compelling symbol of the Indianapolis 500's longstanding ability to evoke a sense of anticipation and excitement in fans around the world."

Speedway and 500 Festival officials announced the "Lights! Camera! Traction!" theme at the historic Fountain Square Theatre near downtown Indianapolis. Red carpet greeted the media and a number of VIPs in attendance, including drivers Scott Dixon, the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series champion, and Gil de Ferran, the 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner.

Several members of the Hollywood community, including actor and director LeVar Burton, actress Zoe Warner and producer Ralph Winter, were on hand for the announcement.

Burton is known for his starring roles in the landmark television miniseries "Roots" and the hit television show "Star Trek: The Next Generation." He also directed the upcoming motion picture "Blizzard," which features Warner in a leading role.

Winter has produced notable box-office hits such as both "X-Men" movies, "Planet of the Apes" and "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier."



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