Gearheads and car enthusiasts will have two chances to see a rare commemorative edition Indianapolis 500 convertible in southern Delaware. Bethany Beach Realtor Allison Stine will show off her 2015 Camaro SS 500 Festival Car during the Heroes Welcome parade and the Cripple Creek Classic Car Show in early September.
Both events will be held during the fifth annual Warrior Family Beach Week 2017, set to take place from Sept. 5-10. The event is hosted by nonprofit Operation SEAs the Day, which serves wounded soldiers and their families.
Every year, Operation SEAs the Day hosts week-long beach vacations for soldiers and their loved ones as a small way to thank them for their service and sacrifice. Families are selected by the Wounded Warrior Project, the USO and the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes.
“I’m honored to have a small part in Operation SEAs the Day,” Stine said. “It’s a moving experience, especially the parade, since thousands come out with signs to support soldiers that have suffered physical and emotional pain for their country. When they came back from battle, often they didn’t participate in parades because they were recovering from their injuries. It’s an incredible thing to be a part of.”
On Sept. 8, a motorcade of military families will parade from the Marketplace at Sea Colony on Route 1 to the Freeman Stage for dinner and a free concert. Stine’s 2015 Camaro SS Festival Car will have the honor of transporting the Grand Marshal of the parade, which is usually a veteran.
General Motors manufactures 50 Indianapolis 500 festival cars, and each one is driven by race officials, track officials and other VIPs around the Indianapolis area to promote the race in the weeks leading up to the event. The Camaro convertibles are six-speed automatic transmissions and generate 400 horsepower. Stine and her husband bought the festival car in June 2015 to round out their Camaro Collection.
“I’ve always been a big racing fan since my father was a fan of Richard Petty when I was a kid,” Stein said. “He would always sit me on his lap when he was driving and taught me to drive a tractor around the family farm by the time I was 4. As for my husband, his family has a long, rich history of collecting muscle cars. He’s recently restored a 1969 Z/28 Camaro that’s been in the family since 1975.”
After Stine purchased the festival car, she reached out to its driver, KeyBank Market President Aaron Reitz in Indianapolis, to learn more about where it had been.
“It had 3,000 miles on it, and the more miles, the more action it’s seen,” Stine said. “Our car has been to events like the Colts Kick-Off event and has driven famous racer Marco Andretti in the Indy 500 parade in 2015.”
Andretti signed a decal for the Camaro, sparking Stine’s tradition of asking drivers and passengers to sign the trunk. Celebrities like country music singer Aaron Tippen and General Motors Chief Engineer for the Camaro Al Oppenheiser are among the signatures on the car.
Stine’s festival car made a return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year for a Pace Car Reunion. To celebrate the Indianapolis 500’s 100th running, barring the years the race was suspended for World War II, 250 pace cars were invited back to the race track. Stine drove the only 2015 model during the procession.
Those interested in a closer look at the 2015 Camaro SS 500 Festival Car can find it at the fourth annual Cripple Creek Classic Car Show on Sept. 9. The car show is held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club in Dagsboro, Delaware.
“This will be our third year participating in the heroes parade with Operation SEAs the Day, and again this year, we have invited a passenger to ride along so they can see for themselves the cheers from the crowds, the signs, the flags flying and the salutes from fellow soldiers,” Stine said. “It’s so amazing. This community is so amazing, I truly find it difficult to put into words how it makes me feel, and I want others to experience this day as well.”