The start-finish line at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has always been a clean, white color. Not so this month.
The painted strip – stretching across the 106-year-old track adjacent to the famous “Yard of Bricks” and marking the location of victory where Indianapolis 500 winners and legends are made – has been turned pink to symbolize the global battle against breast cancer.
In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Pippa Mann, who has driven the pink-and-white Susan G. Komen car in the past two Indianapolis 500 Mile Races, IMS president J. Douglas Boles and a group of breast cancer survivors got on their knees with paint rollers and applied the colorful change.
“This was just an incredibly cool event, to have the survivors out here painting the start-finish line pink ahead of the Yard of Bricks,” Mann said. “It’s just such an iconic location. It’s such an iconic image, the Yard of Bricks. So to bring that into National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has just been a really cool experience for me personally and having talked to many of the survivors who were here today, I think it’s been a pretty cool experience for them, too.”
With the scoring pylon also displaying pink further down the track frontstretch, Mann, Boles and the survivors dipped the rollers with Sherwin-Williams paint and worked together until the white line on the track became pink. The 20-person project took less than 15 minutes. Then, observing IMS tradition in unison, they kissed the Yard of Bricks behind the newly pink line.
Adrienne Harlow, an Indianapolis resident diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 when she was 19, dyed her hair pink in honor of the month. An Indy car fan, Harlow said painting the start-finish line felt like a celebration.
“This event is about celebrating our journeys and becoming friends together and sisters, and it’s just a really fun time to forget about all the stuff we’ve been through and just really be able to celebrate ourselves,” she said.
Participating in the process was emotional for Boles. “This is a really symbolic moment for an iconic American facility like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” he said.
The pink line will remain that way until the end of the month when it will be repainted its traditional white.