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David Letterman Calls Indy 500 Tribute the 'Highlight of My Career'

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Michael Hickey/Getty

David Letterman is already enjoying the perks of retirement just four days after wrapping Late Show, cheering on his team at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday in Indiana.

The longtime racing fan was honored by his IndyCar team, who paid tribute to the former Late Show host through caricature. A smiling, gap-toothed illustration of Letterman was added to driver Oriol Servia’s No. 32 yellow car, with “Thanks, Dave” accompanying the Late Show logo, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Team members also wore gray t-shirts mimicking Letterman’s famous “Top Ten” lists, instead counting down the reasons they love the talk show host.

“With everything that’s happened, it’s the highlight of my career,” he said. “It’s crazy it’s the Indianapolis 500. Regrettable my face, but also my name on that car. It’s just delightful.”

Letterman ended his 33-year run as host of CBS’s the Late Show on Wednesday with a star-studded final episode – even President Obama joined in on the fun.

Letterman, who owns Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with former Indy 500 champion Bobby Rahal and businessman Mike Lanigan, watched Sunday’s race from the pit lane, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Serbia didn’t finish the race, crashing into a wall just past the midway point, but other Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal placed fifth.

“He assured me he would be around the track a lot more,” Rahal said of Letterman. “At this stage in his life, he can enjoy himself a little bit and hopefully that means enjoying IndyCar racing.”

Letterman, 68, was born and raised in Indianapolis, and has been around the racetrack for most of his life.

“This is the best,” Letterman told sports website SB Nation. “I grew up here. I used to hear the track from where I used to live. I’d stand in my yard and just listen. Everyone in the neighborhood used to listen to it. It was great fun.”