In the stands at the Indy 500 a few years back, the crowd around me was offering polite applause to the celebrities rounding the track. It was hot, I figured, and energy was being saved for the start of the race. Or maybe race fans just aren't that impressed by Hollywood types coming to town.
The energy level, however, suddenly shot up considerably. And a rousing cheer arose from the crowd. The recipient? A relatively unknown actor named Christopher McDonald.
While his real name may be unfamiliar, Christopher McDonald earned a place in cinematic sports villain history by playing Shooter McGavin, Adam Sandler's golfing nemesis in "Happy Gilmore." That cheer is one of my favorite celebrity (or semi-celebrity) memories of the 500.
I'm sure you have some, too. As Monument Circle begins to fill up with today's 500 Festival kick-off event, feel free to share here your favorite 500 celeb memories. Who did you get a kick out of spotting in a parade, on the track, or on the streets during a past month of May?
And, on the business front, do you think these celebs add value and luster to the greatest spectacle in racing? Should more be done to bring non-racing names to Indy in May or do they get enough publicity and perks for their efforts?