IMS hopes animated 'Turbo' brings kids to Indy 500
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway hopes a cartoon character brings attention, new fans and bigger crowd back to the world's most famous race. IMS is right in our backyard. But thanks to a snail, one of the treasures of Indianapolis will be shared in movie theatres around the world.
The animated film "Turbo" opens in theatres across the country Wednesday.
In a place where speed is supreme and fans worship the fastest, only Hollywood could make a hero of nature's slowest creatures, a snail.
"A snail racing? Really?" said eight-year-old Olivia Jones. "Don't get it."
Get this. Turbo is no ordinary snail.
Anthony Clark explained, "He's super fast. He's furious."
And he's determined to win the most famous race of all, the Indianapolis 500. Twelve-year-old Jayden Jones has it all figured out.
"A racing snail doesn't make sense," he said, "but that's what makes it a kids movie."
And hopefully a major hit for the adults running the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
IMS President Doug Boles sounded as excited as the youngsters. He said with a smile, "This is absolutely publicity and exposure that no one can buy."
For a race and an entire sport trying to win more fans, new fans and younger fans. "This is going to reach out to a broad variety of folks," Boles said, "especially that young generation that we're trying to grow as Indycar fans."
The last movie featuring the Indianapolis 500 was Paul Newman's "Winning" in 1968. The Speedway has been hounding Hollywood for decades to put a new spin on the greatest spectacle in racing. But since Newman sped around the track 45 years ago, the 500 and open-wheeled racing has lost countless fans and its dominance of motorsports.
Turbo recreates race day in remarkable detail, including the two-and-a-half mile speedway, the fans and the cars.
"I can't tell you how good it feels," Boles said.
He feels a story that will capture the imagination of kids and their parents.
"They say, 'Wow, I've heard of the Indy 500. Let's go check it out and figure it out, what it's about, online, on TV," Boles said again with excitement.
Kids, who so far have only seen commercials, already have Turbo figured out. At the Speedway gift shop, they were pestering parents for souvenirs and a trip to the movies.
"I think it's going to be awesome," promised Jayden.
Along with Turbo the movie, there is Turbo merchandise, Turbo video games, Turbo fan sites - all featuring the IndyCar Racing.
A special Indianapolis Motor Speedway Kid's Club website - Indy500Kids.com - opens Wednesday with the movie. While it's geared toward the young fans IndyCar is trying to grow with, their parents can play, too.