|IndyCar gets a NASCAR hero to drive the pace car. We guess the IndyCar heroes are not good enough.|
Racing legend and NBC Sports motorsports analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the 2019 Corvette Grand Sport Official Pace Car for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, leading 33 drivers to the green flag Sunday, May 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Earnhardt will perform a dual role during "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," which starts at 12:30 p.m. (ET). Along with driving the Pace Car, Earnhardt will serve as an NBC Sports commentator for the network's first live telecast of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
"I was already excited to attend my first Indianapolis 500 with NBC Sports, but driving the Pace Car just takes it to another level," Earnhardt said. "The Corvette Grand Sport is an awesome car, and it's an honor to be asked to lead the field to the green flag.
"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. He also drove the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Pace Car at the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line NASCAR Cup Series race last September.
Earnhardt recorded five top-10 finishes in Cup Series races at the Brickyard during his full-time driving career. His father, Dale Earnhardt, won the second Brickyard 400 in 1995.
"It is exciting that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going to lead the Indy 500 field to the green flag," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. "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."
Earnhardt Jr. retired as a full-time Cup Series driver after the 2017 season and joined NBC Sports' NASCAR broadcast team in 2018. He recorded 26 NASCAR victories during his storied career, including two Daytona 500 wins.
"Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one of the most popular and respected drivers in American motorsports in recent decades, and he knows all about speed, passion and tradition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. "We knew he would enjoy his first Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge with the NBC Sports team, but driving the Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car will create an even more indelible memory for a lifetime."
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 1948 Fleetmaster Six convertible paced the race. No other brand or vehicle has served as the "500" Pace Car more than Chevrolet and the Corvette, respectively.
Visit IMS.com to purchase tickets for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 26 and for more information on the complete Month of May schedule at IMS.