Actor Patrick Dempsey to serve as Honorary Starter for 99th Indianapolis 500

Renowned actor, passionate racer and TAG Heuer Ambassador Patrick Dempsey will wave the green flag as honorary starter of the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 24.

Dempsey is best known for his portrayal of Dr. Derek Shepherd on the hit ABC series “Grey’s Anatomy,” with which he won a Screen Actors Guild Award and multiple People’s Choice Awards. He also appeared in many films including “Made of Honor,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Loverboy.”

The Maine native knows his way around motorsports and has competed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – he drove on the road course last summer in a Tudor United SportsCar Championship race. He also drove the Pace Car at the 91st Indianapolis 500 in 2007.

“Patrick Dempsey is an ideal person to have in the flag stand for the start of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,'” Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles said. “He’s a talented actor as well as an accomplished racecar driver, so I’m sure that when watches the field of 33 take the green, he’ll probably wish he could be mixing it up out there too. He also drove the Pace Car to start the race in 2007, so the flag stand will be the second unique location from which Patrick has witnessed the start of the Indy 500.”

In 2013, Dempsey starred in the documentary series “Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans” on the Velocity Channel, produced by his production company Shifting Gears. The series chronicled Dempsey as a car owner and driver for a team at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In 2008, Dempsey opened the doors of the “Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing” in his hometown of Lewiston, Maine. Each fall, the Dempsey Challenge – a run, walk and cycle fundraising experience – takes place to raise funds for free support, education and integrative medicine services to anyone impacted by cancer.


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