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Who is the Honorary Starter for the 2023 Indianapolis 500?

It has been announced that Adam Driver, a talented actor and native of Indiana, will have the honor of being the starter for the 2023 Indianapolis 500.

Adam Driver en los Gotham Awards 2019
Roy RochlinGetty Images

The method of selecting the Honorary Starter for the Indianapolis 500 can differ each year and is usually decided by the event organizers. The Honorary Starter is typically a respected figure who has made notable contributions in motorsports or other relevant areas.

Occasionally, the Honorary Starter may be a celebrity, a former driver, a team owner, or someone influential in the motorsports industry. The selection process may consider their achievements, connection to the Indianapolis 500 or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or their overall impact on the sport.

This year, the organizing committee decided that the Indiana-born Adam Driver would be the Honorary Starter for the 2023 Indianapolis 500. The Hollywood and Broadway actor with various accolades, including nominations for two Academy Awards, four Primetime Emmy Awards, and a Tony Award, will wave the green flag Sunday, May 28, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Adam is going to experience one of the most exhilarating, powerful, and exciting moments in all of sports as he stands atop the flag stand and waves the green flag to officially start the world’s greatest race,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Indy 500 Race Day is full of meaning for our drivers, our fans across the globe, and most especially our active-duty military members and veterans. Adam is not only a star recognized across the world but also a former U.S. Marine who will be a very fitting addition to ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’

Who is Adam Driver?

Adam Douglas Driver, a highly acclaimed actor, was born in San Diego, California. However, his mother, Nancy (Needham) Wright, originally belongs to Mishawaka, Indiana, and that’s where the connection to the Indy 500 race comes from, while his father, Joe Douglas Driver, hails from Little Rock, Arkansas. The actor’s family background comprises Dutch, English, German, Irish, and Scottish roots.

After his parents’ divorce, Driver grew up in Mishawaka, where he attended Mishawaka High School and actively participated in theatrical productions. It was during this time that he discovered his passion for acting.

Driver began his higher education journey at the University of Indianapolis. Still, he later transferred to the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City to focus on studying drama. In 2009, he successfully graduated from Juilliard with a solid foundation in his craft.

Initially, Driver pursued a career in theatre, and his performances on Broadway garnered him recognition. However, his breakthrough came with his portrayal of Adam Sackler in Lena Dunham’s television series “Girls” in 2012.

Subsequently, Driver made his transition to the big screen, first with smaller roles in films like “J. Edgar” (2011) and “Lincoln” (2012). He then moved on to supporting roles in notable productions like “Frances Ha” (2012) and “Inside Llewyn Davis” (2013). As his talent continued to captivate audiences, Driver secured major roles that left an indelible impression. Notable among these roles are his performances in “This Is Where I Leave You” (2014), Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” (2016), and his portrayal of the complex character Kylo Ren in the Star Wars movie saga, beginning with “Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens” (2015).