INDIANAPOLIS — The worst-kept secret at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week is that Vice President Mike Pence is set to make an appearance at the race’s 101st running, the former governor of Indiana due to return to his home state and an event with which he has a long history.

According to IMS President Doug Boles, Pence has attended the race “more than 30 times” and is a keen fan of open-wheel motor sport. Boles added that the politician’s wife, Karen Pence, has been to even more Indy 500s than her husband.

With an official announcement from Washington still pending, track officials were getting busy Wednesday preparing for the logistical and security realities that Pence’s presence could pose.

“We are beginning to figure out if he is here where do we have to worry about stopping pedestrian flow to get him from one point to another,” Boles said.

It is expected that Pence’s visit would take on a more personal nature than an official vice presidential capacity. Nevertheless, given that security already has been beefed up after the ISIS-linked terrorist bombing at a concert in Manchester, England, on Monday, the expectation of his arrival prompted event planners to draw up strategies aimed at reducing disruption.

“We have not had confirmation from the vice president’s office; however, we are planning for it if in fact it does happen,” Boles added.

The Pence news prompted an immediate wave of speculation that the 57-year-old Hoosier could drive the pace car to start the race, a position that remained unannounced by Wednesday evening. Most track goers seemed convinced that Pence or former IndyCar champion and now-retired NASCAR star Tony Stewart would get the honor.

These are tense times for Pence, even in his home state. During a commencement address at the University of Notre Dame on Sunday, a group of students staged a planned walkout that gained national attention.

Also there’s news involving the Carrier Corporation’s manufacturing plant, which is six miles from the track and played a high-profile role in November’s presidential election.

Donald Trump promised to save more than 1,000 Carrier jobs while on the campaign trail and after he defeated Hillary Clinton, he announced a deal that would keep 1,100 Carrier jobs in the United States. Indy 500 race week started, however, with the announcement that Carrier was firing 632 workers at its Indianapolis location and moving the jobs to Monterrey, Mexico.

If Pence did take the pace car drive, it would spark memories of a strange episode involving Trump and the Indy 500, long before the business mogul’s political ambitions took full shape.

In 2011, Trump’s fame as the host of The Apprentice got him the nomination for pace car driver ahead of the 100th anniversary of the first race. However, in the weeks leading up to the event, his vocal criticisms of then-president Barack Obama — centered on demands that Obama produce a birth certificate proving he was born in the U.S. — prompted a sizable backlash.

Ultimately, Trump withdrew from his on-track duties, citing a work conflict, though not before a Facebook group insisting he was stripped of the honor gathered 17,000 likes.

Follow Rogers on Twitter @mrogersUSAT