Hall of Famers help kick off Indy 500

Hall of Famers help kick off Indy 500

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Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Fouts, Dan Hampton, Paul Krause, Anthony Muñoz, Ozzie Newsome and Lynn Swann joined Indy 500 Legends Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Arie Lyunkeyk, Rick Mears and Johnny Rutherford to kick off the Izod Indy 500 Weekend. The weekend was sponsored by Philips Van Heusen, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s “Voice Your Choice” sponsor  and PVH’s Izod Indy Racing series.  The group of athletes took part in a gala fundraiser, golf tournament, Vanity Fair party and a pace car lap prior to the start of the Indy 500 on Sunday May 30.

"The '500' is a tremendous event. This is my second time here," shared Swann. "The drivers are tremendous athletes. You talk about getting in a car doing 200 laps over 200 miles per hour. The wear and tear on the body and mentally the kind of focus you need, it's kind of like a golfer. You make a good shot here and there, but you got to keep doing it and keep doing it."

The football and racing legends were also joined by multiple other celebrities such as Jack Nicholson, who started the race, Ashley Judd, wife of Indy 500 winner Gino Franchetti, Mark Walhberg, who with former Indy 500 driver Michael Andretti, paced the start for three laps in a two seater, Bruce Jenner, and his Kardashian Family, including wife Kris and daughters, Kim and Kourtney, from the cable television series, "Keeping Up With The Kardashians." Also right along pit row was Detroit Lions number one draft pick Ndamukong Suh. The defensive tackle out of Nebraska was the second overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Also attending the weekend's functions are Pro Football Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry; and George Veras, CEO/President of Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises, is a for-profit organization established in 2006 to work with all members of the Pro Football hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame museum and the National Football League (NFL) to develop marketing programs and conduct events that enable football fans and the general public to have greater access and interactions with Hall of Famers.

On Friday night at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the legends from both sports raised more than $25,000 for Gleaners, the leading food bank in the region, at an elegant party sponsored by Izod and Pro Football Hall of Famer sponsor, Philips Van Heusen. In attendance in addition to the legends, was actor Ron Perlman and PVH President Allen Sirkin.

Saturday's golf tournament at "The Brickyard" right next to the speedway was followed by a Saturday night party, hosted by Vanity Fair. The Hall of Famers then attended the Indy 500, with Swann, Krause and Muñoz receiving some of the loudest applause from the crowd of 400,000 spectators.

"When I first got here I was like, 'Oh my goodness, this is huge.' I'm used to 60,000- and 80,000-seat football stadiums, and this is something else," stated Muñoz. "It's great that so many people can come to one place and experience an event like this."

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