Donald Trump Drops Out of Race (No, Not That One)

The Donald won’t drive the pace car at this year’s Indy 500, following protests from race fans

Donald Trump has decided to drop out of a highly anticipated race following a public display of outrage — but don't get too excited, the race in question isn't the upcoming presidential campaign.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced on Thursday that the "Celebrity Apprentice" honcho — who has made a number of controversial comments about President Barack Obama in recent weeks, while mulling his own run for the presidency — has decided not to drive the pace car in the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29.

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Trump's official reason for dropping out of his Indy 500 duties is that "it would be inappropriate" to drive the race car, since he "may be announcing shortly his intention to run for the office of the President of the United States," according to the Speedway.

However, Trump's decision to drop out comes in the face of protest over his comments about Obama — specifically, his questions about the validity of Obama's birth certificate, and whether Obama was academically qualified to attend Harvard Law School. A Facebook group titled Dump Trump — which boasts more than 18,000 followers — has been placing pressure on to have Trump dropped from the Indy 500.

Whatever the real reason for Trump's decision to abandon his duties, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. President Jeff Belskus praised the real-estate mogul, saying, “Donald Trump has been very enthusiastic about the ‘500’ from the beginning of our conversations, and I have appreciated the interaction we have had with him and his staff. From my first conversation, I was impressed by his deep understanding of the event and history, and I thank him for being a true fan.”

Trump, meanwhile, said that he "very much appreciate[s] the honor" of being asked to drive the pace car, adding, "I look forward to watching the race in New York."

Representatives for Trump and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment.