After Aerosmith belter Steven Tyler opens this year's Indy 500 by singing the national anthem, veteran driver Jeff Ward will slip behind the wheel of the Heritage Motorsports' Aerosmith "Screaming Demon" car and race against the rest of the field.
While various hard rockers including Incubus, Mudvayne, System of a Down, Crazy Town and Dope have had their logos affixed to numerous NASCAR vehicles over the past two years (see "Mudvayne, Incubus, More ... At 100 MPH"), this marks the first time an Indy 500 race car includes the image of a rock band, a Heritage publicist said.
The Aerosmith vehicle will be decorated with a pink and silver paint scheme, the band's logo, the scantily clad robot vixen that appears on the band's new album, Just Push Play, an open-mouthed caricature of Tyler, and just in case anyone mistakes the singer for one of the Backstreet Boys Tyler's own autograph.
Co-owner of Heritage Motorsports, Jim Rathmann Jr., orchestrated the deal with the band 10 days ago after receiving a tip from the Indy Racing League (IRL) that Tyler would sing the national anthem at this year's race (see "Aerosmith's Steven Tyler To Sing At Indy 500"). Aerosmith were more than happy to provide the "Screaming Demon" image. The howling cartoon was originally used on a line of the band's guitar picks, according to Bill O'Neil, senior manager of marketing and promotions for CMG Worldwide, the company that helped Heritage cinch the partnership.
The only hitch was painting and decorating the car in time for its May 24 unveiling. "We were literally still putting decals on the car one-half hour before our press conference," O'Neil said.
Following the Indy 500, Ward and Heritage plan to continue running the
"Screaming Demon" at the remaining 10 races of the IRL season. Heritage also hopes to create a showroom version of the vehicle (sans engine) to showcase during Aerosmith's Just Push Play tour.
(For a full-length Aerosmith interview, check out "Aerosmith: Push Comes To Shove".)