Patrick Dempsey to wave green flag for Indianapolis 500

Published May. 23, 2015 4:48 p.m. ET

INDIANAPOLIS – After leaving a successful acting stint as the star of "Grey’s Anatomy" to focus more on his impressive sports car racing career as a driver and team owner, Patrick Dempsey has the honor of waving the green flag to start Sunday’s 99th Indianapolis 500.

The Maine native knows his way around motorsports and has competed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, driving on the road course last summer in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race. He also drove the pace car at the 91st Indianapolis 500 in 2007.

"Patrick Dempsey is an ideal person to have in the flag stand for the start of 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,'" Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles said. "He's a talented actor as well as an accomplished race car driver, so I'm sure that when watches the field of 33 take the green, he'll probably wish he could be mixing it up out there too. He also drove the Pace Car to start the race in 2007, so the flag stand will be the second unique location from which Patrick has witnessed the start of the Indy 500."

Dempsey is best known for his portrayal of Dr. Derek Shepherd on the hit ABC series "Grey's Anatomy," for which he won a Screen Actors Guild Award and multiple People's Choice Awards. He also appeared in many films, including "Made of Honor," "Sweet Home Alabama," "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Loverboy."

In 2013, Dempsey starred in the documentary series "Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans" on the Velocity Channel, produced by his production company Shifting Gears. The series chronicled Dempsey as a car owner and driver for a team at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Five years earlier, the actor also opened the doors of the "Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing" in his hometown of Lewiston, Maine. Each fall, the Dempsey Challenge - a run, walk and cycle fundraising experience - takes place to raise funds for free support, education and integrative medicine services to anyone impacted by cancer.



Be sure to catch Bruce Martin's Honda IndyCar Report on RACEDAY on FOX Sports Radio every Sunday from 6-8 a.m. ET.