Victor Oladipo, racing legends join 500 Festival Parade lineup

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Pace car driver and Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo, a pair of racing legends, a Hoosier Bachelor and Miss America are among the new additions to the 500 Festival Parade.

Organizers revealed Monday that Oladipo, Bobby Unser and Lyn St. James would participate in this year’s parade. Ben Higgins, a Warsaw, Indiana, native featured on The Bachelor in 2016, and Cara Mund, Miss America 2018, will join them.

Other newly announced additions include Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, General Joseph L. Lengyel of the National Guard Bureau and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Major General Courtney P. Carr, the adjutant general of Indiana.

They’ll appear with previously announced guests including Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, David Anspaugh and Angela Pizzo of Rudy fame; Abbie Abel and Mitch Bonar, the grand marshals and advocates of unified sports; Hoosier actor Doug Jones; singer Jim Cornelison; and more.

Here’s more about the newly announced guests from parade organizers:

Victor Oladipo: The star of the Indiana Pacers, Victor Oladipo has won the hearts of basketball fans since his return to Indiana in 2017. Oladipo was named to the NBA All-Star Team in February 2018. Since returning to Indiana, he has led the Pacers back to the playoffs with the team’s best record since the team reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2013. Oladipo will also drive the pace car for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500®.

Bobby Unser: Bobby Unser is one of ten drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 three or more times, and one of just two drivers to have won the 500 in three separate decades (1968, 1975, 1981). From one of the most well-known families in racing, the brother of Al Unser and uncle of Al Unser Jr., Bobby made 258 starts, held 52 pole positions and won 35 races in his 27-year racing career. Unser will ride on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s float.

Lyn St. James: Lyn St. James is known for being the first female driver to win the Rookie of the Year award in the Indianapolis 500 (1992). St. James went on to start seven Indianapolis 500 races and was named one of Sports Illustrated for Women’s Top-100 Women Athletes of the Century. Now, St. James’ focus is motivational speaking revolving around doing the impossible, referencing her breaking into a sport previously dominated by men. She has been a coach and mentor to nearly 300 women drivers across the globe, including Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher.
Ben Higgins: A native of Warsaw, Ind., Ben Higgins was the star of ABC’s The Bachelor in 2016 for the show’s 20th season. Since his time on The Bachelor, Higgins has starred in several TV shows, he’s the co-host of the iHeart Radio podcast, Almost Famous, and recently launched a new, charity-minded venture, Generous Coffee.

Cara Mund, Miss America 2018: In September of 2017, Cara Mund became the first woman from North Dakota to win the title of Miss America. A Brown University honors student, Cara earned a bachelor’s degree in business, entrepreneurship, and organizations. In her role as Miss America, she travels the country to discuss the importance of political engagement, education, and community service.

Governor Eric Holcomb: Governor Holcomb is the 51st Governor of Indiana. He is a born-and-raised Hoosier and a graduate of Pike High School and Hanover College. He spent his entire childhood in Indiana before serving in the Navy for six years and working in Washington D.C. for another six.

Mayor Joe Hogsett: Mayor Hogsett is the 49th mayor of Indianapolis. He is a lifelong Hoosier with deep roots in the city. Before serving the City as Mayor, he served as a federal prosecutor and Secretary of State in Indiana.

General Joseph L. Lengyel: General Joseph L. Lengyel serves as the 28th Chief of the National Guard Bureau and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A leader with a high military acumen, General Lengyel is a direct advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense and National Security Council. At the forefront of all matters pertaining to the National Guard, General Lengyel is the Department of Defense’s official channel of communication to the Governors and State Adjutants General. Ensuring the adequate preparation of more than 453,000 Army and Air National Guard personnel, General Lengyel’s military experience and expertise defines his four-star ranking and decorated military record. He will also be the keynote speaker for the 500 Festival Memorial Service, presented by Rolls-Royce on Friday, May 25.

Major General Courtney P. Carr: Major General Carr is the Adjutant General of Indiana. He was appointed on June 1, 2015, and primarily serves in leadership of the Indiana Army and Air National Guard, the Indiana Guard Reserve, and state employees all totaling over 15,800 personnel to meet state and federal missions. General Carr also began his career upon graduation of the U.S. Military Academy in May of 1983.

The 62nd IPL 500 Festival Parade will take place on Saturday, May 26, with festivities scheduled to start at 11:45 a.m. Learn more and get tickets here.

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