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Jim Cornelison to return as ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ singer for 2018 Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – After receiving rave reviews for his performance of “Back Home Again in Indiana” last year, singer Jim Cornelison will take another lap at pre-race festivities for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway made the announcement Wednesday. Cornelison is best known as the voice behind “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the Chicago Blackhawks. He sang “Back Home Again in Indiana” for the 101st Running last year, winning praise from fans in attendance as well as those on social media.

Cornelison is a 1992 graduate of the Master of Music program at Indiana University’s Jacob School of Music. The Washington state native has also performed at the Ryder Cup, Arlington Million horse race, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race and ESPN’s Friday Night Lights.

“Jim perfectly captured the powerful emotion behind one of Race Day’s most iconic moments, and barely a day has gone by without a fan asking us to bring him back for next year’s race,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “We’re happy he’s returning to IMS and we’re grateful to our friends with the Blackhawks’ organization for working with us to make this happen.”

Cornelison, a classically trained tenor, has performed with some of the biggest names in opera, including Placido Domingo and Zubin Mehta. He said he’s happy to come back to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing next year.

“Last year was such an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to come back to Indy,” Cornelison said. “I already have Race Day circled on my calendar!”

Cornelison is the first singer to perform “Back Home Again in Indiana” in consecutive years since the retirement of Jim Nabors, who sang it 36 times between 1972 and 2014 before retiring. Since Nabors’ retirement, other artists tried to fill the void, including The Voice winner Josh Kaufman (2016) and a cappella group Straight No Chaser (2015).

The 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 27, 2018. Tickets for next year’s race go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 1.