The Corvette pace car gets a feminine touch.
The Chevrolet Corvette and Indy 500 have a long history together, with the C7 ZR1 being used as the pace car in 2018. Last year, the C8 Corvette coupe was used for the same purpose. This year, it'll be the convertible version leading the cars out, but who will be behind the wheel?
In the past, we've seen celebrities like Jay Leno drive the pace car, but the usual tradition is that a former Brickyard competitor gets this honor. Well, things are back in order on that front, with Danica Patrick announced as this year's driver. It's a nice touch of familiarity as the race returns to its Memorial Day Weekend slot after 2020 saw the world turned on its head and the race moved.
As we reported before, the pace car this year is the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible finished in Arctic White and decorated with black and yellow decals and accents. This will mark the first time since 2008 that a convertible is being used as the pace car at Indy, but as always, the pace car driver is more excited about the experience than the machine itself.
"I am very honored to drive the Corvette Stingray Pace Car this year at the Indy 500," said Patrick. "It is even more special because of the past year we have all endured, and it will be so nice to see fans back in the stands."
The lack of fans in stands is something that many sportsmen and women have said affects the experience of play for them, so seeing them back in their real-life seats will be something special. It's made even more special by Patrick's past achievements here. As a rookie in 2005 she qualified fourth and has also made her mark as the first female racing driver to lead a lap at the Indy 500. Her best Indy finish and the best for any female driver came in 2009 when she took the last step on the podium. Who knows? Maybe leading the 500 again will encourage her to come out of retirement.
Patrick follows supermodel Elaine Irwin and racer Sarah Fisher as the only three females to ever drive the Indy 500 pace car. Fisher drove it during the caution periods for the past four years.