Kelly Clarkson once again took the stage at the Indianapolis 500, performing "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the third time ahead of the legendary race. She had previously performed for her second time at last year's event, with her first coming in 2011 when she teamed with Seal to perform the National Anthem at the advertised "100th anniversary" for the Indy 500 and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The anthem performance itself was the final piece of a patriotic salute to America ahead of the race. "God Bless The USA" kicked off the main event ahead of the driver introductions, followed by a salute to the military, "America the Beautiful," and a speech by U.S Army General Michael Xavier Garrett.
Clarkson took the stage only moments before the race started, following "God Bless America" and "Taps."
“It’s a pleasure to welcome Kelly back to IMS on Race Day to sing the national anthem for hundreds of thousands of fans in the stands and millions of viewers around the world,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said when Clarkson was announced for the race. “She is a global icon and an incredible singer, and our fans have loved her performances of the anthem last year and in 2011. We look forward to her delivering another stirring, poignant rendition just before engines are fired for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’”
Sunday's 103rd running of the Indy 500 was preceded by a weekend of celebration that kicked off on Friday, May 24 and the Miller Lite Carb Day Concert headlined by Kool & the Gang and Foreigner. The next day saw Zac Brown Band headline the Firestone Legends Day Concert.
Sunday started off early at 7 a.m. with the Indy 500 Snake Pit in the infield, featuring performances by Skrillex, Alesso, Illenium and Chris Lake. It helped the set the tone for the event alongside the Red Carpet.
Not long after Clarkson finished the anthem, actors Christian Bale and Matt Damon served as this year's honorary starters, telling drivers to start their engines and waving the green flag. The appearance for Bale and Damon was in connection with their roles in the upcoming film Ford v. Ferrari. The film is scheduled for release in November and sees the pair play Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles as they compete with Enzo Ferrari at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Clarkson was gem amongst a star-studded weekend for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" and it'll be interesting to see if she goes for the three-peat in 2020.0comments
The Indianapolis 500 airs Sunday, May 26 on NBC.