Earnhardt Jr. to drive Indy 500 Corvette pace car
Former NASCAR star and NBC Sports analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. will pace the field for next weekend’s 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, driving a 460hp Corvette Grand Sport.
Earnhardt, who will also serve as commentator and analyst for NBC Sports’ coverage of the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’, will lead the 33-car field to the green flag, which is due to start at 12.30pm ET on Sunday, May 26.
The Corvette Grand Sport has the ‘base’ Stingray 6.2-liter V8 but with more aggressive gear ratios to improve acceleration to 3.6sec for the 0-60mph segment, and also uses the wider body and track of the Z06 model to increase cornering ability.
"I was already excited to attend my first Indianapolis 500 with NBC Sports, but driving the Pace Car just takes it to another level,” said Earnhardt who scored 26 Cup wins between 2000 and ’15, all with Chevrolet. “The Corvette Grand Sport is an awesome car, and it's an honor to be asked to lead the field to the green flag.
Earnhardt, who has two Daytona 500 wins among his victory tally, added: "I'm proud to be a part of such a prestigious event at a place that means so much to racing history. This will be an experience that I'll cherish forever."
This will be the second time Earnhardt has led the field to the green flag of a major race at IMS as he also drove the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Pace Car at last year’s Brickyard 400 an event he never won but his legendary father Dale Earnhardt did in 1995.
Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. VP of performance vehicles and motorsports said: "With Dale joining the Indy 500 broadcast crew for the first time, pacing the field in the 2019 Corvette Grand Sport will give him a unique perspective to share with the viewers. We are honored that Dale will add Indy 500 Pace Car driver to his long legacy with Chevrolet."
This year marks the 16th time a Corvette has served as the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car, starting in 1978, and the 30th time a Chevrolet has led the field dating back to 1948, when a Fleetmaster Six convertible paced the race.
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