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Victor Oladipo Honored To Drive Pace Car At Indy 500

On Sunday, some 300,000 sets of eyes will be on Indy 500 pace car driver Victor Oladipo as he leads the field of 33 around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – Not many people in the world can say they’ve performed on grander stages than Victor Oladipo.

But Oladipo’s next act will be unlike anything he has ever seen, or been asked to do.

Oladipo is the pace car driver for the 2018 Indianapolis 500.

That means Oladipo will be leading the 33 drivers of Sunday’s Indy 500 around the 2.5 mile oval in front of about 300,000 fans.

Just a tad different than playing basketball---something he’s done for his whole life---with 20,000 people watching inside of an arena.

When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway chose Oladipo to become this year’s pace car driver, the NBA All-Star wanted to make sure he had the proper teaching and guidance to carry out his duties on race day.

Those include getting the pace car up to at least 160 miles per hour during the warmup laps, so the 33 cars behind him are able to get their own cars up to speed for the dropping of the green flag.

IMS planned to have someone from Chevrolet fly in to help Oladipo with the Chevy corvette pace car. Former IndyCar driver Richie Hearn was also scheduled to help the Pacers’ star with track control.

Even though this corvette can be bought as is off a showroom floor, it still has some impressive racing-like specs---755 horsepower, 0 to 60 MPH in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 212 MPH, says Boles.

For IMS track president Doug Boles, the choice of Oladipo was pretty obvious.

“I’m fired up about Victor Oladipo and the pace car,” Boles told Dan Dakich last week. “What he did for the city, the way he embraced the city when he came here, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

“We love to celebrate Indianapolis and Indiana. It’s the Hoosier state on an international stage on Memorial Day Sunday. No better way to do it than somebody who has represented our (state) better over the last year.”

Oladipo is the first Pacers’ player to drive the pace car in the 500. Lance Armstrong and Jim Harbaugh are other former athletes who have also been behind the wheel of an Indy 500 pace car on race day.

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