INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is remembering actress Florence Henderson as a "lovely lady" who sang nearly two dozen times during Indianapolis 500 pre-race festivities.
The Indiana-born actress best known as Carol Brady on "The Brady Bunch" died Thursday in Los Angeles at age 82. She was born in Dale, a small southwestern Indiana town near the Ohio River, the 10th child of a tobacco sharecropper.
Speedway President Doug Boles said in a Friday statement that Henderson had a passion for the "special moments" leading up to the command for drivers to start their engines for the annual race, held each May.
"We thank her for her friendship and love for our sport and her friends and family will be in our prayers," he said. "She was a lovely lady and she will be missed."
Between 1991 and 2015, Henderson sang "America the Beautiful," ''God Bless America" or "The Star-Spangled Banner" 23 times during pre-race festivities. She served as grand marshal for this year's pre-race parade, riding in a parade car at the front of the 33 competing drivers.
Henderson said during a pre-race interview that she enjoyed the change of pace, of being freed from a singing commitment at the race.
"This year, I get to be out here and talk to everyone. It's great," Henderson told The Indianapolis Star. "... Just to hear the crowd at the parade was absolutely fantastic."