Bennedict Mathurin, Andrew Nembhard and Kendall Brown, welcome to Indianapolis. More importantly, welcome to the Racing Capital of the World.
The Indiana Pacers added these three NCAA basketball stars Thursday night in the 2022 NBA Draft. They selected Mathurin with the sixth overall pick in the draft, while Nembhard and Brown were selected in the second round.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES helped welcome the newest Pacers on Friday as the three received a tour of Indianapolis.
First, they were picked up from the Indianapolis International Airport in a Verizon 200 at the Brickyard-themed Chevrolet Camaro and were taken to Gainbridge Fieldhouse, where the Pacers play in downtown Indianapolis. They received a warm welcome from community members and Pacers’ fans upon their arrival.
After several media obligations that introduced Arizona guard Mathurin, Gonzaga guard Nembhard and Baylor forward Brown to the city, they were off to the races. Well, almost.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Callum Ilott picked up the trio in downtown Indianapolis and escorted them to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a visit of one of the world’s most historic racetracks.
Ilott took them for hot laps around both the 2.5-mile oval that hosts the famed Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and the 2.439-mille road course that will play host to NASCAR and INDYCAR over Brickyard Weekend July 30-31.
Reaching triple-digit speeds in a red Chevrolet Corvette, Ilott gave the group a taste of a different kind of athleticism in the form of raw horsepower and precise mental strength.
“Man, that was awesome,” Brown said after exiting the car on the main straightaway. “I want to be a race car driver now!”
They also received specially made helmets from IMS and INDYCAR, as well as No. 77 gear from Iott’s Juncos Hollinger Racing team after a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity on the Yard of Bricks and with their names and images illuminated on the famed Scoring Pylon.