Indiana Humanities and the 100th Running Host Committee are racing to find an Official Poet for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500!


From the roar of the engines and cheers of the crowd, to the legendary drivers and track lore, down to the special bond between the city of Indianapolis and racing fans around the world, there is much to ignite the imagination of poets and creators.

In April, we invited poets everywhere to submit an original poem inspired by the 100th running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The contest revived a tradition from the 1920s, when a poem was included in the race day program. It was an initiative of the Arts, Culture & Youth Committee of the 100th Running Host Committee. The purpose of the Arts, Culture & Youth Committee is to create cultural connections between the race and the community, promoting conversation and education around the 100th running.




More than 200 poets from across the world and from ages 8 to 85 submitted an Indy 500-themed poem for a chance to be named the Official Poet for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Internationally touring performance poet Adam Henze of Bloomington, Ind., won the contest and Mike Murphy, a writer and poet from Baltimore, Md., received second-place. Judges also named 31 poems “honorable mention” to create a starting field of 33 poems – just like the race itself.

See who ended up in the victory lane below!