McCORDSVILLE — Six-year-old Jayden Wilson let the milk drip down his chin as he soaked in all the glory.
The young boy emerged victorious Friday morning at the 8th annual Kindy 500 box car race at McCordsville Elementary School.
Ninety-nine kindergartners spent the past several weeks crafting their cars, decorating cardboard boxes donated by Circle City Container Corp.
Some were fashioned to look like traditional race cars but most took on a more unique spin, including a couple of unicorns, mermaids and Pikachus. Each car featured some sort of shoulder straps so that each student could run unencumbered down the track behind the school.
Indianapolis 500 commentator Paul Page provided the color commentary for the race, which included multiple heats within each kindergarten classroom until the winners faced off in a final showdown.
In the end, it was 6-year-old Jayden who made it to Victory Lane, earning a bright gold trophy and a medal around his neck, along with the traditional carton of milk.
Jayden channeled the horsepower of his family’s Army green Jeep Wrangler in designing his winning car, which featured the traditional round Jeep headlights and wheels made from paper plates, with a soccer logo on one side and a basketball logo on the other, representing his youth teams.
“Decorating their cars allows them to express their own unique personalities,” said kindergarten teacher, Courtney Treon, who coordinated this year’s event.
No two race cars were alike.
One little girl with a bright yellow bow in her hair sashayed onto the track inside a box car covered in rainbows and butterflies, with a plume of colorful crepe paper smoke billowing from the back.
One student transformed his boxcar into a giant red, white and blue shoe, while another covered his box in logos from fast-food chains, similar to the logos on an Indy 500 car. One student had a plain white box with the word “POLICE” on the side, while another had a bright yellow school bus.
“These are some good looking race cars you guys have built,” said Page, who was joined by three Indianapolis 500 princesses at the race.
Parents watched from the sidelines with their phones held high to record the races, which were also live-streamed for those who couldn’t be there in person.
Some racers shouted out “Hi Mommy!,” Hi Daddy!” toward the spectators while others were all business, wrapping their fingers around the bottom rim of their box cars to assure a firm grip before racing down the track.
One student suffered a mechanical malfunction right out of the gate when all four wheels fell off. Another ran to the side for a hug from mom after taking a tumble on the track.
Teachers wearing “Pit Crew” T-shirts waved checkered flags and cheered.
Jayden’s parents, John and Jessi Wilson, and big sister Jossi, a third-grader at the school, gathered around him as he examined his trophy and took the traditional swig of milk, Indy 500-style.
“This is pretty cool,” he said.
Indianapolis 500 princess Seattle Greenwell said it was great to see such a fun, kid-friendly event celebrating the Indianapolis 500, which takes place Sunday, May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Greenwell, 19, of Muncie.
“If I had grown up with this, I would have been so pumped for the Indianapolis 500. I hope these kids are able to get out and enjoy all the race events happening throughout the month of May. It’s the best month of the year!” she said.