IRL: "ER" star Anthony Edwards to Drive Indy Pace Car

DETROIT, May 9, 2000 - The all-new 2001 Aurora V8 is powered by a 4.0L 250-horsepower engine that inspired the Oldsmobile racing engines that have dominated the Indy Racing Northern Light Series. Now as the Official Pace Car of the 84th running of...

DETROIT, May 9, 2000 - The all-new 2001 Aurora V8 is powered by a 4.0L 250-horsepower engine that inspired the Oldsmobile racing engines that have dominated the Indy Racing Northern Light Series. Now as the Official Pace Car of the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 28, Oldsmobile's flagship will benefit from a new kind of power - star power. Anthony Edwards, who portrays Dr. Mark Greene on the hit television show E.R., will drive this year's Oldsmobile Aurora Indy 500 Pace Car.

"I've always been a huge fan of auto racing, and I was thrilled when Oldsmobile asked me to drive the Aurora pace car at this year's Indy 500," said Edwards. "I can't wait to hear the roar of the engines and lead a fleet of some of the most amazing vehicles in motorsports."

The engines will roar indeed. Eighty-eight of the 93 entries for this year's Indianapolis 500 are using Oldsmobile powerplants. After the field is pared to 33 starters, more than 300,000 spectators and millions of television viewers will watch Edwards escort the drivers to the green flag that signals the start of the greatest spectacle in racing.

"This is the tenth time that Oldsmobile has paced the Indy 500, and the second time for Aurora," said Gus Buenz, Oldsmobile director of communications. "We wanted an exceptional person to drive this year's extraordinary Aurora pace car. Anthony Edwards is an accomplished actor and a passionate racing fan. He is an excellent choice to lead this year's race for Oldsmobile."

In addition to his role as pace car driver, Edwards is a spokesperson for Cure Autism Now (CAN), a charitable, non-profit organization that works to find a cure for autism and increase awareness of the disease. (Additional information is available at the CAN website, www.canfoundation.org.)

"The generosity of motorsports fans is tremendous," Edwards commented. "I know that they will rally around the cause of finding an effective treatment, prevention, and cure for autism and related disorders."

ABC Sports will televise the Indianapolis 500 at 12 noon EDT on May 28, 2000.

The Pace Car Driver

In addition to starring in one of the most popular shows on television, Edwards has received four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He has appeared in more than 20 feature films, including his memorable role as "Goose" in Top Gun. Among his other awards and nominations are four Screen Actors Guild honors, including Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series and Best Ensemble Cast. He also earned his third Golden Globe nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1999, after winning the award in 1998.

Edwards, 36, resides in Los Angeles.

The Pace Car

The Oldsmobile Design Brand Character Center created a special car for this very special occasion. A unique graphics treatment with a checkered flag motif makes a strong visual statement. The pace car is powered by a 4.0L Aurora V8 and outfitted with IRL-required safety equipment such as strobe lights, seat harnesses, and a roll bar.

True to its stylish heritage, the all-new 2001 Aurora's lines are sleek and sophisticated. Although the second-generation Aurora is six inches shorter than its predecessor, the Oldsmobile design team was able to increase its interior space. With a more compact body and significantly lower weight, the Aurora handles the road with agility.

The production and racing versions of the Aurora V8 share similar "architecture" and technology, including lightweight aluminum construction, four-valve combustion chamber design, dual overhead camshafts, electronic engine management, and coil-at-plug ignition. The Aurora V8 production engine produces 250 horsepower at 5,600 rpm; the methanol-burning IRL Aurora V8 racing engine produces 650 horsepower and revs to 10,700 rpm.

OLDSMOBILE INDIANAPOLIS 500 PACE CARS

Year Pace Car Engine Pace Car Driver 1949 Oldsmobile 88 303ci Oldsmobile V8 Wilbur Shaw 1960 Oldsmobile 98 394ci Oldsmobile V8 Sam Hanks 1970 Oldsmobile 442 455ci Oldsmobile V8 Rodger Ward 1972 Hurst/Olds Cutlass 455ci Oldsmobile V8 Jim Rathmann 1974 Hurst/Olds Cutlass 455ci Oldsmobile V8 Jim Rathmann 1977 Delta 88 403ci Oldsmobile V8 James Garner 1985 Calais 2.7L Quad 4 James Garner 1988 Cutlass Supreme 2.3L Quad 4 Turbo Gen. Chuck Yeager 1997 Aurora 4.0L Aurora V8 Johnny Rutherford 2000 Aurora 4.0L Aurora V8 Anthony Edwards

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mark Green , Rodger Ward , Johnny Rutherford