The Driving Range
Known to millions of fans as Carol Brady, matriarch of the “Brady Bunch” (1969-1974), Florence Henderson enjoyed many other roles during her decades long career, including a 23-year long run singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” America the Beautiful,” and “God Bless America,” all during pre-race festivities at the Indy 500 beginning in 1991. But perhaps her most memorable appearance at the “Brickyard” was when she was asked to be Grand Marshall during the 100th running of the Big Race in 2016. At the parade, she greet the drivers and dignitaries, and ride in a parade car ahead of the 2017 Camaro pace car. That year, the pace car was driven by former winner Johnny Rutherford, who took over the wheel after Roger Penske drove it for the warmup laps leading to the green flag. She also announced the “drivers to your cars” message over the public-address system.
The 2016 Indy 500 race was won by 24 year-old rookie Alexander Rossi of Andretti Herta Autosport. Sadly, Rossi’s victory was the last seen by the veteran actress/singer, who passed away only a few months later on November 24, 2016 from heart failure at the age of 82.
Note: The Indy 500 race was not the place Henderson’s voice was connected to cars, though. Born on February 14, 1934 in Dale, IN, Florence Henderson appeared with Bill Hayes in Oldsmobile commercials from 1958-1961. She was also known for singing “Don’t Let a Be-Back Get Away” in “Good News About Olds,” an industrial musical for the automaker in 1959.