Indy 500 race countdown begins with public drivers’ meeting

Drivers participating in the 2010 Indianapolis 500 received final instructions and awards May 29 in the Public Drivers' Meeting at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 30. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network beginning at noon.

2009 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and Team Penske owner Roger Penske accepted a "Baby Borg" trophy from Roger Wood, executive vice president of BorgWarner. Castroneves also was presented with a $130,000 check from BorgWarner for his victory last year.

The Baby Borg is a miniature replica of the famed Borg-Warner Trophy, which bears the bas-relief likeness, name and average speed of every Indianapolis 500 winner.

Gary Garfield, chief executive officer of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, presented the 2009 Indianapolis 500 winning car owners' rings, made by Herff Jones, to Roger Penske and Tim Cindric.

In addition, Castroneves was presented with the Louis Meyer Award commemorating his 2009 victory, sponsored by the American Dairy Association. Louis Meyer began the tradition of drinking milk in victory lane in 1936 when he drank buttermilk after his victory. Deb Osza, general manager of Milk Promotion Services of Indiana, presented Castroneves with the award.

Al Speyer, executive director of Firestone Racing, presented J.R. Hildebrand with his Herff Jones championship ring for winning the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights series title.

Garfield returned to the podium and presented Firestone Indy Lights driver Wade Cunningham with his Herff Jones ring for winning the 2009 Firestone Freedom 100. Garfield also presented a Herff Jones ring to Dario Franchitti for winning the 2009 IZOD IndyCar Series title.

Continuing its longstanding tradition with the Indianapolis 500, Ken Keltner of Herff Jones presented each of the 33 starters of this year's race with their starter rings. Keltner also presented "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts with a Herff Jones ring for serving as the driver of the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car.

Making his 65th Indianapolis 500 appearance, Indianapolis 500-winning car owner Andy Granatelli presented Michael Andretti with the STP Unsung Hero Award.

Andretti, whose family has a long history with the Indianapolis 500, has led 431 laps at the Speedway, the most of any non-winning driver. The jovial Granatelli couldn't resist poking fun at Andretti during the presentation.

"This man should have won this race a few times," Granatelli said. "Nonetheless, I'm proud to present this award to Michael Andretti for being the unsung hero for not winning this race."

Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations for the Indy Racing League, concluded the drivers' meeting by discussing race rules and guidelines with the drivers.

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