Newgarden named honorary chair for 2017 Rev charity event

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Without question, Verizon IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden will be hungry to win the Indianapolis 500 and INDYCAR Grand Prix when he arrives at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Team Penske in May.

But the organizers of Rev presented by Fifth Third Bank – the 3,000-person strolling food event that kicks off the month of May at IMS – are betting he’ll be hungry for even more than that. Today, Rev announced that Newgarden will serve at the fourth honorary chair for the popular May 6 party, which will include food from more than 60 restaurants, multiple live bands and showcase Verizon IndyCar Series drivers and Indianapolis’ celebrated culinary scene.

“It’s a great honor to be partnering with Rev this year for a cause that does so much for the community of Indianapolis,” said Newgarden. “The growth of this event in such a short time is a testament to the hard work everyone puts in to support Methodist Health Foundation. I’m really looking forward to helping the event continue the upward trend.”

Newgarden follows INDYCAR driver James Hinchcliffe, who was Rev’s honorary driver chair last year and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud, who served in 2015. Four-time champion and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon served as the honorary chairman of the inaugural event in 2014.

Rev organizers announced Newgarden’s role today at Milktooth, an independent Indianapolis restaurant owned by chef Jonathan Brooks, who, along with the city’s culinary scene, is receiving national accolades for creations in foodie publications including Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler and New York Magazine.

Brooks is paired with Newgarden for Rev 2017, so he will create a dish inspired by Newgarden’s tastes for Rev guests at the May 6 must-attend event. Brooks and Newgarden collaborated on a lunch menu at today’s announcement for Rev’s other chairs, Molly Chavers, executive director of IndyHub; Rafael Sanchez, Indianapolis Power & Light Company president and CEO; Chris Gahl, Visit Indy senior vice president; and two other Indianapolis chefs – Rook owner Carlos Salzar and Bluebeard owner Abbi Merriss. Salzar and Merriss will also be paired with Newgarden to create dishes for the May event.

“Indy’s chefs and our food scene as a whole continues to whet the appetite of media nationwide, with Conde Nast Traveler declaring Indy to be the most underrated food city in the U.S. and authority Zagat proclaiming Indy to be one of the hottest food cities in the nation,” said Gahl. “Rev celebrates Indy’s nationally recognized food scene with a sampling of the best restaurants in the city.”

Newgarden, a 26-year-old Hendersonville, Tennessee, native, is a three-time Verizon Indy Car Series race winner and will start his sixth season as the newest member of Team Penske behind the wheel of the No. 2 Chevrolet this March at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Newgarden finished fourth in the 2016 championship with a win, six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes driving for Ed Carpenter Racing.

As a partnership between Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital and IMS, Rev raises funds that support Indiana University Health statewide trauma programs including medical services for drivers and patrons at the IU Health Emergency Medical Center on the IMS grounds.

“The relationship of IU Health and Methodist Health Foundation with IMS is over 100 years old and great events like Rev help make our partnership stronger than ever while ensuring that both drivers and fans continue to receive top-notch care,” said Doug Boles, IMS president. “Josef is a fantastic addition to this year's Rev team and will ensure the event continues to grow and serve as an excellent month of May kickoff.”

In 2016, the event raised a net revenue of $550,000, an increase of 425 percent since the inaugural event in 2014. Last year, Rev sold out with 3,000 guests and is on track to do the same in 2017. The $500 VIP Elite tickets sold out within four hours of going on sale. This year’s fundraising goal is $600,000.

“This is our main fundraiser which also serves to kick off the month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Sally McGuffey, Methodist Health Foundation chief development officer. “Rev has grown to become one of the city’s premier foodie events, with cuisine inspired by drivers and Indy’s top chefs.”

For tickets and additional information about the event, including sponsorship opportunities, visit RevIndy.org.

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