Jeff Gordon to drive pace car for 99th running of the Indianapolis 500

Jeff Gordon will be on the track for this year's Indy 500 — but he won't be racing.

Jeff Gordon will be on the track for this year’s Indy 500 — but he won’t be racing. (Photo: IMS)

One of racing’s best, Jeff Gordon, will lead the field of the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24th. Gordon who competes on the NASCAR circuit and grew up 20-minutes northwest of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Pittsboro, Indiana, will be driving a Corvette Z06 pace car.

“Indy is hallowed ground for racers like me and I couldn’t be more thrilled to drive the Corvette Z06 pace car around the track that helped drive my success over the years,” Gordon said. “… I’ve won five NASCAR races at IMS and the track will always be a special place for me, so to be able to participate in such a historic day will be something I remember for the rest of my life.

“I dreamed of racing at Indy. I came here as a kid and watch the Indy 500. My first car was a Chevrolet. My second car was a Chevrolet.”

Gordon, 43, announced on Jan. 22nd that this would be his final year as a full-time driver. He’s won the Brickyard 400 five times, including last year.

“Jeff is a great choice to lead this year’s starting 33 drivers in the Indianapolis 500 to the green flag,” said J. Douglas Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Jeff has such a strong connection to the state of Indiana…”

It won’t be a day of purely enjoyment and fanfare for Gordon. He’ll race in the Coca Cola 600 NASCAR race at Charlotte Sunday evening, which requires police escorts and a private jet — in addition to focused planning as far as being focused, hydrated, and ready.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” he said. “… Pace to race. That’s what you’re going to hear a lot of.”

Two years ago, my friend and ESPN NBA Countdown host Sage Steele, a graduate of Indiana University, was given the keys and had an incredible time. In 2012, it was Guy Fieri.

This will be the 26th time a Chevrolet car has led the field.

What’s in the Corvette Z06 car?

  • 650 supercharged horsepower
  • Seven-speed manual transmission and a track-capable chassis system
  • Arctic White exterior and Adrenaline Red interior

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