NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It was a sight to behold, and it was accompanied by a roar unlike anything Nashville has heard before. The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix officially got underway Friday morning with the ceremonial first lap around the brand new street course.
Four-time IndyCar champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti led the lap in the pace car as this weekend’s grand marshal. The former Lieper’s Fork native and ex-husband of Ashley Judd is one of the distinguished guests of this weekend’s race and has marveled at the spectacle the Grand Prix will bring to a city he always thought had untapped potential as a racing market.
“The city has grown massively since I was there,” Franchitti said. “I think it’s going to be a cracking race, and I think off track, too, there’s going to be a lot of stuff going on, which is equally as important to the longevity of the race.
Franchitti was joined in the pace car by 91-year-old Korean War veteran Jim Markham. The Mt. Juliet resident made history when the pace car crossed the Korean Veterans Bridge, followed by the IndyCars of Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon to become the first race cars to ever go across a body of water.
The racecars crossing the bridge into downtown seems destined to become the iconic shot of what organizers hope becomes a yearly tradition in Nashville. And Friday it was a huge first for a one-of-a-kind race.