Andrew Luck flies into Indy 500 with Riley kids

(WISH Photo/Drew Blair)
(WISH Photo/Drew Blair)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck joined two Riley’s Children Hospital kids in escorting the green flag to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday.

The three flew into the track via IU Health’s Lifeline helicopter and took a lap in the pace car before delivering the goods to race starter Mark Cuban.

MaKenzi Rooksberry, 11, of Jasonville, Indiana, and Johliel Austin, 14, of Indianapolis, said their favorite part of the day was the helicopter ride.

Luck told 24-Hour News 8 that there was plenty to see and talk about on the trip to turn one.

“The people looked like ants and they’re going for miles and miles in directions and just how neat of an experience it was and we told ourselves we cannot lose this flag, that would be really bad,” Luck said.

MaKenzi was selected by Riley at IU Health for this once-in-a-lifetime experience for her strength and courage. She boarded the same helicopter that raced her to Riley at IU Health on a wintry day in 2013, after her sled collided with a moving vehicle.

Johliel, an 8th grader at KIPP Indianapolis College Preparatory School, participated as a representative of Change the Play, the popular health and wellness program Luck developed with Riley at IU Health experts and rolled out in schools this year.

This was the first Indy 500 for Luck and both kids. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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