Why the Corvette Stingray should pace the Indy 500Mon, 21 Jan 2013 00:00:00 -0800
Will the new Corvette Stingray be at the head of the field on May 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the start of the Indianapolis 500?
I say -- how could it not be! With its new body and frame and 450-hp V8 engine the Stingray could do the job with just minor modifications. So let's just stoke the rumor furnace with a shovelful of speculation.
First, no one of any authority at Chevrolet or the Speedway has said anything about this year's pace car -- yet.
But look at the arguments for the Stingray to get the job:
-- It's a brand-new Corvette, the first of the seventh generation. Chevy is on an all-out publicity blitz for this car.
-- It's the 60th anniversary of the Corvette's debut. The first Corvette rolled off a temporary assembly line in Flint, Mich., on June 30, 1953. The first time the Corvette paced the Indy race was on its 25th anniversary, in 1978.
-- The 2013 Corvette ZR1, the last of the C6 generation, paced the 2012 Indianapolis 500.
-- The Corvette has been the pace car for the race 11 times, more than any other car in the race's history.
-- Finally, what other car would you have pace the race?
All that makes the Stingray a prime candidate.
There is the matter of logistics. Full production of the Corvette Stingray won't begin until late July, at the earliest. But the Speedway would need only two Stingrays for the race. There are other Chevrolet cars (Camaro) that could be used for the fleet of support vehicles used by race officials and VIPs.
Finally, the big question: Who should be the celebrity driver of the pace car?
Someone with a history of racing and Corvettes should be at the top of the list.
One obvious answer is a guy who will already be there -- Roger Penske. Another option would be Corvette factory race driver Tommy Milner, who was featured in ads for the Corvette 427 convertible.
By Dale Jewett