CHICAGO – If everything had gone as scheduled, he’d be singing Sunday night at the United Center.
That’s when the Blackhawks were scheduled to face the Los Angeles Kings in their second-to-last regular season game of the 2019-2020 season. But that game and every other since March 11th has been postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That also means that Blackhawks’ anthem singer Jim Cornelison hasn’t been able to perform at the arena that’s made him a household name in Chicago the past decade. But on Saturday, he got the chance to fire up his voice again to start off a much different event.
From the comforts of home, Cornelison sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the NTT IndyCar series virtual race that took place online Saturday afternoon. With a few pieces of Blackhawks, Indianapolis 500, and patriotic flair, he belted out the song just as many have been accustomed to at Blackhawks’ games.
The event took place at a virtual Watkins Glen International with 24 drivers competing virtually. That not only included regular open-wheel drivers but also seven-time NASCAR cup champion Jimmie Johnson.
Sage Karam, who has taken part in 19 IndyCar races since 2014, came home with the victory in the race.
A grateful Cornelison thanked the series for the chance to participate on Twitter, but it’s not the first time he’s taken part in an event for IndyCar.
Since 2017, Cornelison has been the singer of “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the Indianapolis 500. He earned his master’s degree in music at nearby Indiana University in 1992.
This year’s Indy 500 has already been moved to August 23rd due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No performers for the traditional songs have been set yet, but after his performance Saturday, expect Cornelison to be apart of another “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” this time getting the chance to sing in person.