Champion driver Dario Franchitti will take command of the Pace Car at the race he has won three times – the Indianapolis 500.
Franchitti, who was forced into premature retirement following his horrific accident at the Houston street race last year, has been honoured with the drive of the 2014-spec Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 coupe for the 98th running of America’s world renowned open-wheel race on May 25.
The former Chip Ganassi star who has tremendous respect for motor racing history won the Indy 500 in 2007, 2010 and 2012.
“As a historian of motorsport and as a three-time winner of this great race, I will appreciate every minute of getting to pace the field in the new 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28,” Franchitti said.
“Although I won’t be competing in ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ this will be as close as one person can get to the action.”
It’s the eighth time a Camaro has served as the Pace Car since 1967, and the 25th time a Chevrolet has paced the race.
Meanwhile a piece of history will close at the 98th running of the 500-mile race when Jim Nabors will belt out the rendition of ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ for the last time.
Nabors, who played Gomer Pyle USMC in the 1960’s TV show, has been an institution at the Indy 500 since he first performed at the Brickyard in 1972.
“The first time that I ever sang at the Indy 500 in 1972, the warmth I got from the crowd immediately made me become a lifetime Hoosier; and I’ve always cherished it,” Nabors said.
“I’ll see you all in May, but I’ve come to the conclusion that my health doesn’t permit me to travel very much anymore. So I’ll be retiring from singing ‘Back Home Again’ at the Indy 500 after this year.”
The 83-year-old will be honoured by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway through the Indy 500 weekend.
See below for video