INDIANAPOLIS - Celebrating cars and the sport of racing are traditions this time of year in Indianapolis, but this year, it is both the track and the court that are bringing the month of May alive.
Instead of competing for the attention of fans, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Pacers are both embracing what each organization has to offer.
Officials at the IMS said the Pacers competing in the playoffs is just another coup for Indianapolis.
“It’s fantastic for the city of Indianapolis. You know, if you ask some of our race fans, some of their best memories are from 10 years ago when the Pacers were in the playoffs and we would give scores over the PA system here. So the folks that even come here are paying attention to the Pacer game,” said IMS spokesman Doug Boles.
Fans love the action.
“It’s so exciting, I just can’t explain it. The city is just going crazy right now and I love it,” said fan Cathy Holland.
“I’ve gotten several text messages over the last few days from drivers who want to go to the game Saturday night. So it’s part of what the drivers think about. The drivers enjoy the Pacers games,” Boles said.
“It doesn’t surprise me. Ed Carpenter is at a lot of our games. A lot of the race drivers come. Over the years, AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti and Dario Franchitti have thrown out the first ball, so I think there’s a lot of synergies,” said Pacers spokesman Eddie White.
The national exposure is also great for Indianapolis.
"As people promote the Pacers and the NBA, often times they are saying, hey it’s big time in May because it’s Indianapolis and the 500 is there. I think it’s great for both of us that there’s plenty of room to share it. This is one of the best sports communities in the country and we love the idea that you’ve got basketball going while we’ve got racing going,” Boles said.
Opening day at the IMS was Saturday May 11.
The Pacers take on the Knicks for Game 3 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse at 8 p.m. Saturday.