Country music artist Jimmie Allen kicked off festivities at the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500, bringing a soulful, soothing twang to his rendition of the “The Star Spangled Banner.”
The pre-race tradition carries even more special meaning this year, as Indianapolis Motor Speedway welcomes fans back after months of uncertainty and planning.
“Jimmie Allen just did a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem,” tweeted user @MichaelMullet13. “Thank you, Jimmie!”
“Okaaaay @JimmieAllen with that National Anthem,” added @Katelyn19xx with a clapping emoji.
The Nashville-based country musician was recently named “New Male Artist of the Year” by the Academy of Country Music Awards.
Allen was applauded for his fashion, too. The singer stepped out for his performance in a sparkling black jacket, black and white cowboy boots and a wide-brimmed brown hat.
“Game over. Best race day outfit goes to @JimmieAllen,” @AlexDamron wrote.
For the fifth year in a row, Jim Cornelison sang “(Back Home Again in) Indiana,” continuing the tradition on a special year. 2021 is the 75th anniversary of the song’s vocal performance as part of the pre-race ceremony.
Cornelison’s performance is the longest consecutive streak for a vocalist except for the iconic Jim Nabors, who sang performed the song 36 times between 1972 and 2014.
The song brought healing along with the nostalgia after 2020. Some fans screamed, mouths open wide, as Cornelison sang. Others waved their hands in the air.
This Is Us” actor Milo Ventimiglia served as the Indy 500’s honorary starter, waving the green flag to start the running of the race. Beforehand, he and Allen posed together for a photo.
Ventimiglia plays family patriarch Jack Pearson on the show and is a three-time Emmy nominee for best actor.
“Milo’s passion for racing and speed make him the perfect choice for this exciting Race Day honor,” IMS President Doug Boles said.
Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY; Rashika Jaipuriar and Domenica Bongiovanni, the Indianapolis Star; and the Associated Press.