When Simon Pagenaud unveiled the ticket for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, he savored a snapshot of the pinnacle of his racing career and one of the greatest memories of his life.
The ticket features a profile photograph of Pagenaud drinking the traditional winner’s bottle of milk in triumph after earning his first victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” last May 26.
That image also signaled the start of a personal transformation for Pagenaud. He admits to being a different guy than the one who strapped into the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet three hours earlier for his eighth start in the 500.
“I think I’m a new person,” Pagenaud said about how winning Indy has changed him. “If you knew me before, I think you can see it. I think it shows.
“I’m very relieved but also very enthused going forward and very motivated. I desire winning again so much more than I did before. It’s incredible. Now that I know all of the culture, the traditions, even better than I did before, it makes me want to win it even more.”
Pagenaud will get that chance as part of the powerful Team Penske lineup during this year's 500 on Sunday, May 24. The ticket featuring the iconic image from IMS photographer Chris Owens will be mailed soon to fans in all 50 states and approximately 50 other countries worldwide.
The Indy 500 ticket, one of the most coveted keepsakes in sports, is printed on thick stock with spot-raised MVP coating and gold foil stamp. Pagenaud unveiled the 2020 ticket during ceremonies at the Indianapolis City Market, joined by Penske Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Mark Miles and IMS President J. Douglas Boles.
“This moment of me drinking the bottle of milk is the moment I realized it happened,” Pagenaud said. “It’s a sweet moment for me. And I didn’t know it was the picture, so it’s pretty cool to see it now and realize that it transpired. People saw it was a very, very, very special moment for me.”
The unveiling ceremony also featured a special gift for Norman, the beloved Jack Russell Terrier owned by Pagenaud and his wife, Hailey. Norman, a constant companion of the Pagenaud’s, captured hearts and the imagination of race fans worldwide when he barked and wagged his tail in delight in the winner’s circle after Pagenaud’s victory.
So, a special ticket featuring a shot of Norman barking next to a celebrating Pagenaud in victory circle was presented Tuesday to Simon and Hailey Pagenaud and Norman, who also attended the ceremony. The ticket was for a fictitious seat in “Terrier Terrace” at IMS, Section 20, Seat 20, Row K9.
The special ticket for Norman also reminded Pagenaud of the similarities between his pursuit of a second “500” victory this May and the Jack Russell breed, which has origins in fox hunting in England.
“I’m a bit like my Jack Russell – when I have my prey, I never give up,” Pagenaud said.
Tickets for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and all Month of May activities are on sale at IMS.com, by calling the IMS Ticket Office at 317-492-6700 or by visiting the Ticket Office.