As Jalopnik first reported this morning, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has booted Donald Trump from the driver's seat of the pace car for the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 after fans complained he was too politically motivated.Update!
A source affiliated with the race told us a meeting was held this morning to determine precisely how the Indy speedway folks will enforce the decision. The choices included replacing Trump outright with another celebrity pace car driver, asking him to pull out or keeping Trump involved with the race, but change the pace car to another Chevrolet vehicle and bring on another driver to drive it.
The move comes after widespread negative response from fans and outsiders. A Facebook group founded by Indianapolis attorney Michael Wallack devoted to bumping Trump has already grown to over 17,000 supporters within a few weeks. Wallack and others say the race doesn't need the spotlight Trump lugs with him. Trump's controversy-seeking also had no upside for the speedway or its corporate backers, including Izod and Chevrolet.
Although a Trump spokesman earlier today said he had no plans to withdraw, Trump did just that, saying it would be "inappropriate" while he was considering an official announcement of running for president:
I very much appreciate the honor, but time and business constraints make my appearance there, especially with the necessary practice sessions, impossible to fulfill.
Because when you think of refraining from public appearances, Donald Trump immediately comes to mind; and getting yourself in front of millions of voters in an important swing state for free is a big impediment to a presidential campaign.
A replacement will be announced soon.