INDIANAPOLIS - The 500 Festival has named Sam Schmidt Grand Marshal of the 2019 IPL 500 Festival Parade. The organization says the title is, in part, to recognize his achievements with Conquer Paralysis Now and with IndyCar.

Sam Schmidt was an IndyCar driver and sustained a spinal cord injury while practicing for the 2000 season opener at Walt Disney World Speedway. He created the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation that year to raise funds for medical research, innovative equipment used for rehabilitation and quality-of-life issues. 

“Sam is a tremendous example of overcoming adversity and using innovative technologies to improve the livelihood of people with disabilities. As a past driver and current team owner, it was only fitting that we surprised Sam with this announcement while doing what he loves. We’re excited to have Sam return to the IPL 500 Festival Parade as Grand Marshal, 20 years after he rode the route as an Indy 500 driver,” said Bob Bryant, president and chief executive officer of the 500 Festival. “We can’t wait to witness innovative technology in action with Sam at the helm of Arrow’s SAM Car.”

The 2019 IPL 500 Festival Parade will take place on Saturday, May 25 in downtown Indianapolis. For more information about the parade, click here.