Archive | May, 2014

Ten Questions With Indianapolis 500 Festival Princess Adrienne Runge

7 May
Festival Princess Adrienne Runge

Festival Princess Adrienne Runge


It’s is not too often that I get to write on subject matter that is outside of the norm for motorsports blogging. From time to time, I enjoy digging into the background and getting away from the wheel spin. Last week, I promised a divergence and I am here to tell you, this article has been a lot of fun to produce. Now, let me be clear, I LOVE all things Indianapolis 500. Some folks say it and yet they still just want wheel spin. I enjoy digging in and relaying to you some gems that I come across. With an event such as the Indianapolis 500, there is a ton of subject matter to choose from! My preference is still to talk to the wrenches, to learn about the “all things digital”, or the web basing of the brand called Indy 500. To that point, I had a wonderful opportunity to conduct a brief, yet enlightening interview with a real live princess. No, this is not the story of the princess and the frog…….

I came to know a little about the 500 festival from a gent I work with. It seems that his step-daughter was selected from a field of nearly 230 applicants to become one of the 33 women chosen as 500 festival princesses. She was chosen based on criteria that includes academic performance, community service involvement, poise and leadership skills. The program itself is a scholarship and ambassador program and not a beauty pageant. From the 500 Festival website, I found that the specific selection process includes:

Strong desire to serve others through community service – Volunteerism
Team player with the ability to work well with others
Maturity and responsibility
Exceptional poise and professionalism
Academic achievement
Hard worker
Patience and flexibility
Great sense of humor
High energy level
Unselfish and willing to give of herself to others –

Should this hold interest, please rush over to the 500 Festival website and see more at:


2014 Indianapolis 500 Festival Princesses

2014 Indianapolis 500 Festival Princesses


So, without further ado, it is with great pleasure that I present Ms. Adrienne Runge, 500 Festival Princess for 2014.

1. What is on your I-Pod or music playing device?

I listen to all kinds of music. There isn’t a whole genre that I won’t listen to. I like to listen to Pandora on my phone or computer because it gives me access to all the music I haven’t downloaded, and I like not knowing what song will play next. Which station I listen to depends on what I’m doing. If I’m at the gym I’ll listen to hip-hop. If I need background music I’ll play something more folksy, and I also love listening to stand-up comedy.

2. What is your college major and how will this help you achieve some of your goals in life?

I graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BA in Italian and pre-Health studies, and I’m currently working on an MS in Biology. With the Italian major, I was able to study abroad in Italy and learn the Italian language and culture, and all of my science courses helped me toward my goal of going to dental school, which I will start in July at IU School of Dentistry.

3. How did you become a 500 festival princess?

I’ve known about the program forever because I was born and raised in Speedway, and it’s something I have always wanted to do. I finally got the chance when I moved back home to work on my MS degree. The application for the program is online, and it is followed by two rounds of interviews that narrow down the approximately 230 applicants this year to the final 33 princesses.

4. Who had the most influence on your life to this point and why?

My mom. We have a really close mother-daughter relationship, and she always encourages me to do the next big thing. She pushes me to do things I maybe don’t want to do, and she supports me in anything I want to do but am maybe too nervous or scared.

5. What do you think you will do to promote and or at least live by the values gained from this experience?

For me, this program has taught me to be even more proud of my community. I’ve grown up watching the race and seeing people from all over the country and the world come here every year, so I always knew my town was special. This program has given me the opportunity to finally be on the inside of all of the festivities, and so I now have an incredibly unique perspective on how extraordinary this place is, and that is something I will always carry with me and try to share with the world.

6. Do you have any siblings? What is the meanest thing you did to them as a kid?

Yes I have four brothers, three older and one younger. Once I decided to scare my little brother while he was sleeping so I crept into his room wearing a scary painted mask that I got in China Town. I snuck up to his bunk bed and yelled. He woke up, cried, and needless to say I got in trouble.

7. What has been the most difficult obstacle in your life that you still wish to overcome?

I’m in a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend of three years, which is incredibly hard. Our lives are taking us on different paths right now, so we unfortunately have to be apart. We both know that we need to try to succeed individually before we can succeed together though, and I’m very hopeful that it will all work out in the end.
8. Chocolate brownies or strawberry shortcake and why?

Chocolate brownies. Anything chocolate.

9. Was the final election process nerve wracking for you? Why or why not?

It was very nerve wracking. I’m a shy person by nature, so being interviewed by a panel of judges is intimidating. I also think everyone needs those kinds of experiences, though, and I’m so glad I did it (and made it out alive!)

10. If you are allowed to, who is your pick to win this year’s Indy 500? What gives them the ‘edge’ that makes you think they will win?

Ed Carpenter. I have to go with the hometown hero.



Adrienne and 2 future princesses

Adrienne and 2 future princesses


What a nice chance to finally point out something good going on in the world. Leave the politics, the fighting and arguing and the hate behind. This is what moves the ball forward; young people doing great things. Who can argue with that?

As always, thanks for stopping by! We will talk to you next time.



My Unusual Prelude To This Year’s Indianapolis 500

1 May

Olympian n Simpson


Last week I had the pleasure of closely visiting the scene of this year’s Verizon IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the inaugural event of the 2014 schedule. Too bad IndyCar was racing at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. I again missed the race by a few weeks….I was, however, able to get close to the actual race course. By close, I mean, I got very VEWRY close to the circuit, I mean, I was actually riding my bicycle around the road course. Interestingly enough, the downtown city streets of St. Petersburg are still marked up with remnants of some of Firestone’s best work.



I feel for my IndyCar diehards that work on the trackside product called motorsport during a long, rainy race day such as recently experienced at Barber Motor Sports Park. The weather this day was City Council picture perfect. It nicely set the mood for the upcoming Month of May at the Hallowed Grounds and I simply cannot wait for inaugural running of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.



While the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a very recognizable victory circle platform, St. Pete’s is more low key and visitor inviting during the off season. The backdrop for the victory circle there is pretty darn stunning on a sunny day. Nice touch and a good job by the Kim Green and company that promotes the event.



There is a small fly in pilots lounge near the exit of turn one that overlooks the airport runway straight. I found it to be a great place to have a Killer half pound burger AND piss off my doctor at the same time.
Yeah, you can still get Bi plane rides around the water front and downtown. If your pockets are deep enough you can get a flight out to the beach areas a few miles away.



All of this pleasant riding around the historic section of the city street course named after Dan Wheldon made me think about some of the different aspects of the Indy 500 besides the actual race itself.


Wheldon Way

I am still fascinated by the behind the scenes activity that takes place to put on events such as motorsport. The fact that for every hour of racing you see on TV takes many, many man hours of support, preparation and just plain old skool set building. But beyond that, what about truly supportive activities and functions that support tradition?

I am talking about a specific feature every year of the entire Indy 500 Festival experience. Recently I was speaking with an associate at the salt mine and discovered that his step daughter had been selected to be an Indianapolis 500 Festival Princess. He shed a little light on the topic and I found it to be fascinating. So, next week we will be doing a retro visit to a blog style I LOVE to conjur up. We will be chatting and asking 10 questions with a real to life, by God, Indianapolis 500 Festival Princess. I cannot wait to see and share the next edition of:

Thanks as always for stopping by and of course, we will talk to you next time!