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Real Grooms: Austin’s Corvette Marriage Proposal at the Indy 500

As documented in last year’s Something Old, Something New for the Groom post, we love Corvettes. This made it all the more awesome when we heard about Austin Dillman’s Corvette-themed marriage proposal that took place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Austin surprised his race-loving girlfriend, Sheri, with a proposal right on the “brick yard” of the famous race track… and it just happened to be on the day before the Indy 500.

Check it all out in today’s Real Grooms feature.

[In Austin's own words] I knew when I was ready to propose to Sheri that I didn’t want to do anything cliché and had to come up with something tailored to her interests. With the Indy 500 approaching and Sheri being a huge race fan, I decided to plan my proposal around it. I reached out with my idea to a client of ours, Hare Chevrolet, who was holding contests centered around the 500. They were immediately on board and before I knew it, I was connected to executives at Chevrolet and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I also sent some emails out to a few connections of mine and was quickly put in touch with Andretti Racing and Sheri’s favorite driver, Tony Kanaan.

To keep the whole thing a surprise, I wrote a fake email and had my boss send it to me saying he received tickets to a Corvette event from a client, but was going to be out of town and couldn’t attend. The email string, which I later forwarded to Sheri, mentioned that I’d need to take the Flip Cam, record some video and write a customer spotlight piece for our blog. Sheri had no idea what was in store for her the day of the event.

Kiss the girl and then kiss the bricks.

Kiss the girl… and then kiss the bricks.

And of course, we had some questions for him..

Q -  As a Corvette lover, I have to ask what your favorite Corvette model is? Do you favor the classics?

A – While I love the new Corvettes, and they’re amazing to drive, I’m more of a classic car guy. One of my favorite Corvettes is the ’74 Stingray. I’m actually looking forward to my mid-life crisis so I have an excuse to buy one.

Q – How long did it take to plan the proposal?

A – Surprisingly, it didn’t take long at all. I had almost everything planned and coordinated within two days. People were so excited to help out that they really kept the ball rolling. It’s amazing what people will do for a complete stranger! Once it was all planned, I had two weeks to wait in anticipation and try my hardest not to share the plan with anyone that wasn’t involved.

Q – Did you chug a jar of milk after she said yes?

A – I knew I left out at least one detail in the planning process. However, it was 95 degrees and sunny that day. It was so hot. Milk would have been a bad choice!


Q – You set the bar pretty high with this awesome proposal. Is she expecting you to be this creative in the other areas of wedding planning? Do you have any wedding ideas you can share with us?

A – I’ve had a lot of people jokingly (some seriously) tell me I set the bar too high early on and that she will always have high expectations of me for anniversaries, birthdays, etc. She’s not high maintenance and is easy to please, so that’s certainly not the case. At least that’s what I keep telling myself…

I’m very involved in the wedding planning process and she definitely likes my input on things. I’m a graphic designer so I get to use some creativity designing our save the dates and wedding invitations. One of the coolest parts of our wedding will be how the groomsmen and I enter the outdoor ceremony. Sheri and I have a cherry red, ’69 Camaro with black racing stripes and Hare Chevy is going to let us borrow a new Camaro with a similar paint job to pull up in. I think that covers something old, something new and something borrowed.

Q – Did Tony Kanaan have any marriage tips for you?

A – He mentioned that marriage requires a lot of patience and if I screwed it up, he’d run me over with his car. I’m kidding of course…he never once mentioned anything about patience.

Q – Finally…did you get to keep the car?

Actually, yes…for three days. I think they had ulterior motives. They probably let me drive it around for the weekend so I would get attached to it and want to buy it. I’m smarter than that though. I added it to our wedding registry.

Congrats Austin and Sheri!

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3 Responses to “Real Grooms: Austin’s Corvette Marriage Proposal at the Indy 500”

  1. Indiana Chevy Dealers Says:

    Its great to see Austin get his due for such a great proposal. It has been a pleasure getting to know Austin and Sheri they are a great couple. I think we had as much fun helping plan and execute the proposal as Austin did, it was a little more nerve wracking for him :) Since you are such a big Corvette fan I figured I would provide a link to our Corvettes just in case

    Chris Theisen
    Director of Digital Communications
    Hare Chevrolet

  2. Austin Dillman Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing our story! Love this site!

  3. venga Says:

    Nice work, Austin! Creative proposals are the best. I recently got hitched, and I proposed with a video, which I posted at with an explanation — “I took her to a karaoke club (where I had set things up in advance) and we sang in a private room for a little while. Then, while she went out to grab us a couple of drinks, I cued this video up and hit play when she came back. And the rest is history!”

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