Jeff Gordon will drive the pace car for the start of this year’s Indianapolis 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Chevrolet announced Wednesday.
“This is my version of the double,” said Gordon, who will compete in the May 24 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway after driving the pace car at Indianapolis earlier in the day. “I don’t know how it gets any better than that.
“This is something so special to me,” Gordon said. “I think it’s the childhood I have of watching the Indy 500 and being at the Indy 500.”
Chevrolet announced that the pace car will be the Corvette Z06.
Gordon, who grew up in nearby Pittsboro, Ind., has a record five Brickyard 400 victories in the Sprint Cup races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“There was only one thing that was missing,” Gordon said of his career, “and that was the Indy 500. This is as close as I think I’m going to get, but this is pretty awesome. What an honor it is for me to be here and to come back here in May on race day at the Indy 500 and pace this field to the green in this amazing Z06.”
Over the years, four drivers have successfully attempted to race in both the Indy 500 and Coke 600, with Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch the latest to try in 2014.
But Gordon, who hasn’t attended the Indy 500 in any manner since 1983, said he never gave the prospect of attempting the feat any serious thought.
“I’m the type of person where if I’m going to do it, I want to do it in a way where I feel like I can spend the proper amount of time behind the wheel and really get used to the car and appreciate and respect the competitors that race these cars every weekend and throughout the season,” Gordon said. “Do I wish I had the opportunity to race in the Indy 500? I think it’s any race car driver’s dream to race in this race.”