By: Tanner Watkins
May 8, 2019 | 1:00 PM
After the Chicago Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford was announced yesterday as the INDYCAR Grand Prix’s honorary pace car driver, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has revealed this afternoon that another celebrity will be on-hand for Saturday’s race day festivities.
Actor Justin Hartley, who stars in NBC’s series “This Is Us,” will serve as the honorary starter for Saturday’s 85-lap race on the IMS road course. Harley will wave the green flag to bring the field up to speed to open the race, which is being shown live on NBC for the first time.
“Justin will enjoy the thrill of a lifetime sending a charging pack of NTT IndyCar Series stars toward Turn 1 from the flag stand during the INDYCAR Grand Prix,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said.
“We’re honored to welcome him to the Speedway, as ‘This Is Us’ is such a widely acclaimed, popular show. His presence is yet another example of the wonderful partnership that’s growing between IMS, INDYCAR and NBC as NBC Sports broadcasts the INDYCAR Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge live for the first time this month.”
A native of Illinois, Hartley is a member of the “This Is Us” cast that earned consecutive Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series awards at the Screen Actors Guild Award in 2018 and 2019.
In the series, Hartley plays the role of Kevin Pearson, chronicling the Pearson family across multiple decades from the 1980s to now.
Practice for the sixth annual INDYCAR Grand Prix kicks off Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with the race being held Saturday, May 11 at 3:30 PM Eastern. The month will be capped by the 103rd Indianapolis 500, held on Sunday, May 26.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.