Bartholomew County will have a resident with a front-row seat to Sunday’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 when Hauser High School graduate Brittany Young completes her reign as an Indy 500 princess.
Young, who lives outside of Hope and is studying agriculture education at Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus, was selected as a princess in February.
Since then, she has been making community appearances around Indiana to talk about the princess program, the Indianapolis 500, and about her work as executive director of Main Street of Hope and the communities of Hope and Columbus.
Some of them had very young audiences.
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“I went to a lot of preschools in the Hope area,” she said, handing out tiaras to the girls and checkered flags to everyone when visiting with the young children.
She brought one of the Indianapolis 500 replica pace cars to the Farmers Market of Hope during its first event of the season May 6.
On Tuesday, Young attended a women’s golf outing in Indianapolis that raised money to support IndyCar drivers who are injured in racing accidents. On Thursday, she was among the princesses cheering on the Indianapolis Zoo tortoises who put on the Greatest Spectacle in Tortoise Racing with Indy 500 driver Tony Kanaan serving as honorary race steward.
Saturday is the Indianapolis 500 Festival parade, where Young will be among the 33 princesses riding on a special float. Each of the princesses receives a $1,000 scholarship.
And she’ll be in a convertible circling the Indy 500 track in a parade lap of princesses on Sunday before the race, before taking her seat with the race royalty to watch the greatest spectacle in racing.
“It’s my first Indy 500 ever,” she said, even though her family members are huge fans.
But her interest in the race has increased significantly through the 500 princess experience.
“The qualifications — the practice rounds — there’s something about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that makes you happy to be a Hoosier,” she said.
Young admitted there are three drivers that she hopes might make it to the winner’s circle and take that famous drink of milk as the victor.
Conor Daly, who starts 24th in Row 8 on the starting grid, and rookie Spencer Pigot, starting 29th in Row 10, are two of her favorites.
And James Hinchcliffe, the pole-sitter on Row 1, also is at the top of her list, she said.
“He’s a huge supporter of the princess program,” Young said.
On Hinchcliffe’s website, Hinchtown.com, he has a video blog called “Quest for the Crown” where he tells the princesses he is all about getting a tiara and sash that the princesses get to wear in their appearances.
“I just want one so bad,” he said in the video, looking at one of the princess tiaras. “I’m so jealous.”
“We call him our 34th prince,” Young said, laughing.
This year’s queen, Butler University sophomore Caitlyn Foye, from Newburgh, will actually give the winner of this year’s 500 a kiss, but Hinchcliffe also had some fun with that moment too, Young said.
In his video blog, he asks the princesses to say who they would kiss as the winner of the Indy 500, and who they wouldn’t. Not surprisingly, all would give Hinchcliffe a kiss — but to find out the running joke about who the princesses have some reservations about, you will have to watch the blog.
As her time as a princess nears the end, Young said she will have good memories of the experience and what it says about those who live in Indiana.
“The race speaks volumes about Hoosier hospitality,” she said.
The Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade is from noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday in downtown Indianapolis.
The parade features all 33 Indy 500 drivers and a float carrying the Indy 500 princesses and queen.
The parade is being broadcast on WTHR-Channel 13, Indianapolis.
Since the Indianapolis 500 race is sold out, there won’t be a blackout of the live ABC broadcast this year.
The race will be shown on WRTV-Channel 6, Indianapolis beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday. The blackout for central Indiana residents had been used for the past 66 years.
The green flag for the race is expected at 12:19 p.m.
WRTV will rebroadcast the race at 7 p.m. Sunday, which is when the normal tape delay had been planned, and again from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday.
To learn more about the Indianapolis 500 princess program, visit 500festival.com/node/133
To watch Indy 500 pole-sitter James Hinchcliffe’s “Quest for the Crown” video blog, visit hinchtown.com/
Parents: Kevin and Terri Young, Hope
Education: Hauser High School graduate; just completed her freshman year at Ivy Tech Community College Columbus majoring in agricultural education with a minor in agricultural communication; plans to transfer to Purdue University in the fall of 2017.
Also: Serves as executive director of Main Street of Hope