NewsLocal News / October 15, 2016

The Most Fitting Ride For State's Bicentennial Torch? An Indy Car, Of Course

The Most Fitting Ride For State's Bicentennial Torch? An Indy Car, Of Course

Retired IndyCar driver Sarah Fisher navigates the final leg of the Bicentennial Torch Relay through a crowd at the Indiana Statehouse Saturday, October 15, 2016.

Michelle Johnson / WFYI

INDIANAPOLIS –  After its circuitous route through all of Indiana’s 92 counties over the last five weeks, the high-tech Bicentennial torch took its victory lap in an IndyCar to the steps of the Indiana Statehouse Saturday.

Hundreds of people came to the new Bicentennial Plaza in front of the Statehouse Saturday to savor the moment, including Ed Gordon and Nick Ullrich, who were lucky enough to accompany the torch on a short ride during its leg between Dillsboro and Lawrenceburg last month.

They didn’t walk or run, Ullrich said.

“Nah,” he said. “I rode in an old Model A convertible.”

They made the trip from southern Indiana Saturday because, Gordon said, they wanted to see “the grand finale.”

For weeks, the torch made its way 3,200 miles through the state’s small towns, along highways and byways, a choreographed effort to tell a story of “one Indiana,” said Indiana Bicentennial Celebration co-chair Becky Skillman, who served as the state’s lieutenant governor under former Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Gov. Mike Pence took a break from campaigning as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s running mate to be present for the event, billed as a “Hoosier Homecoming” and the dedication of the $6.3 million Bicentennial Plaza around the Statehouse. First Lady Karen Pence has been deeply involved in the state’s Bicentennial projects.

“Karen and I would be nowhere else this day,” Pence told the crowd.

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