By Nate RyanJan 18, 2023, 1:00 PM EST
Travis Hinkle/Penske Entertainment
Shaq is coming to the Indy 500 Snake Pit, spinning records rather than slamming basketballs for the electronic dance music festival on race day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Located at a stage in Turn 3, the Snake Pit has drawn crowds of 30,000 attendees on Indy 500 race days since its 2017 inception.
In addition to NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, who is performing as “DJ Diesel,” this year’s EDM fest will be headlined by Grammy Award-nominated musician Kaskade (who also performed in 2015) and also feature Subtronics, John Summitt and Jauz.
The music will begin early in the morning — well before the green flag for the 107th Indianapolis 500 (which will be broadcast on NBC) and continue throughout the race.
this is the party during the race. this is a lineup you can’t miss. THIS IS MAY.
welcome to the #Indy500SnakePit presented by @CoorsLight! see y’all May 28!@kaskade @Subtronics @johnsummit @djdiesel @Jauzofficial
🎟 >>> https://t.co/RRiHoe4ens pic.twitter.com/clXDwhJy7f
— Indy 500 Snake Pit (@Indy500SnakePit) January 18, 2023
“One of the biggest parties of race weekend is the Indy 500 Snake Pit presented by Coors Light,” IMS president J. Douglas Boles said in a release. “The always unforgettable and epic party in the Snake Pit is a May highlight for many of our fans and an experience like no other. Music fans won’t want to miss this incredible lineup.”
Known for his four NBA championships and current work as a studio analyst, O’Neal is a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee who also has been working in music entertainment for three decades.
The 7-1, 325-pound center became a rap fan after seeing a Public Enemy concert as a teenager. His debut album, “Shaq Diesel,” was released in 1993 and sold more than a million copies (becoming the first pro athlete as a platinum-selling recording artist).
O’Neal became an EDM fan at theTomorrowWorld festival in 2014, where he was exposed to past Snake Pit performers Steve Aoki and Skrillex. O’Neal began DJ’ing a the same festival in 2015.
General admission tickets to the Snake Pit are $50 ($155 VIP), and ticketholders must be at least 18 with a valid Indy 500 GA or reserved ticket.
The Indy 500 will be joined by Iowa Speedway with race-day concerts on the 2023 IndyCar Series schedule. For the second consecutive year, Iowa will feature a weekend doubleheader with prerace and postrace concerts for its July 21-23 weekend.
Jenson Button joins NASCAR Garage 56 at Le Mans with Jimmie Johnson, Rockenfeller
By Nate RyanJan 28, 2023, 11:05 AM EST
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR Garage 56 entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be driven by champions of three major-league series — Jenson Button, Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.
The lineup of the Hendrick Motorsports-prepared Next Gen Camaro was announced Saturday before the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
NASCAR’s Garage 56 project was announced in March 2022 as a joint effort by NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear. It marks the return of a NASCAR team to Le Mans for the first time in nearly 50 years with Hendrick fielding a Camaro ZL1as the “Garage 56” entryin the 100thedition of the sports car classic.
It’s long been expected the car would include Johnson, the seven-time Cup Series champion who is returning to NASCAR’s premier series as a driver-owner in 2023. Rockenfeller, the 2013 DTM champion and 2010 Le Mans overall winner, has attended every NASCAR Garage 56 test since last year while racking up simulator testing hours.
The surprise was Button, the 2009 Formula One champion who has become a popular commentator. Rick Hendrick initially said wanted four-time Cup champion and current Hendrick Motorsports COO Jeff Gordon to drive the car, and Gordon had raced a sports car at Indianapolis last year to test his race shape.
GARAGE 56 ANSWERS, ANALYSIS:More on the NASCAR-Hendrick entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans
“Since the beginning of the Garage 56 project, it has been our goal to partner with the top racers in the world to represent us in Le Mans,” NASCAR chairman and CEO Jim France said in a release. “The lineup of Jimmie, ‘Rocky’ and Jenson is everything we could have dreamed of – three elite drivers who have won at the highest levels of motorsports worldwide. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of NASCAR, we are honored to have these world-class champions help bring the sights and sounds of a NASCAR race car to fans in Le Mans, and across the world.”
Button had one of the most prolific careers in F1 history finishing with 15 wins and 50 podiums on top of his 2009 World Championship and is widely considered one of the top British drivers of all time.
“As a lifelong racing fan, I have always dreamed of racing certain cars, with and against certain drivers and competing in certain events,” Button said in a release. “In June, a number of those dreams will come true in one event when I get to bring NASCAR to the world stage alongside my pals Jimmie and ‘Rocky’ for the 100th anniversary of the most prestigious race in the world. I’m really looking forward to sharing this journey with NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, and current and future NASCAR fans from around the world.”
Johnson will make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut a year after starting his first Indy 500. He has 83 victories in the Cup Series, where he will return for the Daytona 500 next month with his Legacy Motor Club team.
He also has been involved with testing the Garage 56 Camaro.
“I’m super thrilled – it’s been at the top of my bucket list to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans someday,” Johnson said. “To have this opportunity come – and to partner with everybody and this driver lineup – is truly an incredible opportunity and one that I am thankful to be a part of.”
Rockenfeller teamed with Johnson on the No. 48 Ally Cadillac in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2021-22. The German driver has been the lead test driver for Garage 56 and has driven during every on-track test.
“It has been a great journey so far with the whole team and project,” Rockenfeller said. “To be involved as a driver from day one until now was already a great honor, and to now have Jimmie and Jenson alongside me as teammates in Le Mans is unbelievable.”
The car will continue testing with all three drivers next week at the Daytona International Speedway road course. Rolex 24 and four-time IMSA champion Jordan Taylor, who drives for Corvette Racing, will be the team’s backup driver and coach. Taylor also won the GTE Pro class in 2015 at Le Mans, where he has four podium finishes.
The project also is being supported by IMSA GTP team Action Express, whose general manager is former NASCAR executive and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Gary Nelson. Action Express built the first test car for the Garage 56 but since has handed off the project to Hendrick, where it’s being over seen by vice president of competition Chad Knaus (the crew chief for Johnson’s seven championships).
“Action Express got it going and built the mule car, and then Hendrick joined the program, took it from where we had it, and they’re doing a major percentage of the work,” Nelson told NBC Sports. “We just did a test a couple months ago on a wet track. We’ve done a couple of other tests as they were ramping their program up. Now their car is good, tested and running. We’re still involved and here to help. The Hendrick guys have taken the reins, and Rick Hendrick and Chad Knaus are a thrill to work with and doing a much better job. It’s more NASCAR than prototype racing.”