Buddy Rice, the 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner, is finally realising that he has won the world's biggest auto race after special presentations made during the last week.

Rice saw his image displayed on the famed BorgWarner Trophy for the first time last Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum in a media unveiling. In addition, the driver of the #15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Honda Panoz Indy car was presented with the Indy 500-winning champion's ring.

After testing his Rahal Letterman Racing Honda-powered car during the day at the Homestead Miami Speedway, Rice flew to Detroit for the special event that wraps up a memorable Indy 500 champions tour that included a White House appearance to meet President George W. Bush, closing the New York Stock Exchange, throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium and piloting at Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Ft. Carson in Colorado.

"It was been a great experience to win the Indianapolis 500 and then participate in all of the events that accompany an Indy 500 champion," said Rice, who won the 88th running of the race on 30 May last year. "Now the last few days have been very special by seeing your face on the BorgWarner Trophy, placing the Indy 500 ring on your finger and receiving the BorgWarner Trophy replica. That makes you feel like you have captured the world's biggest race."

Joining Rice in the trophy presentation in Dearborn were Rahal Letterman Racing team owners Bobby Rahal and David Letterman.

While Rice received the driver's "Baby Borg," the five-pound, 14-inch replica of the prestigious Indy 500 Trophy, Rahal and Letterman will be presented with the team owner's trophy.