It may be small but this flag is important
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Tauranga’s Willie Kay will be making his 41st visit to the Indianapolis 500 in May.
And this week, a small but vital element of the Indianapolis 500 has been in his care while making a visit to the Bay of Plenty.
The Green Flag Relay is a world tour of the flag that will start the 102nd Indianapolis 500 on May 27.
Starting in January, the flag has been part of a Nasdaq stock exchange opening ceremony in New York, visited Times Square and was taken to a national hockey game in Florida.
Kay’s connection to the Indianapolis began in the early 1970s when he was a crew member on Indy Car teams. For 37 years, he has hosted tour groups that have put Kiwi race fans in prime seats between turns one and two on race day with Carb Day pit tours, a visit to the track’s museum, the 500 Parade in downtown Indianapolis and the Victory Banquet.
He said a quart-size glass milk bottle is travelling with the flag, as an Indianapolis 500 tradition sidesteps champagne and offers the winner a bottle of milk.
Kay said since the early 1980s he had introduced hundreds of Kiwis to the Indianapolis 500 spectacle. There was a strong New Zealand connection to the race.
“Scott Dixon won the race in 2008 while Denny Hulme and Graham McRae raced there. And there have been a lot of Kiwi crew members as well as team owners like Steve Horne.