IRL: Short but sweet around Indy

What could be better than taking a flying lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Tomas Scheckter at the wheel? Having your 21-year old daughter call during the ride. "What are you doing?" "I'm going 115 mph around the Indianapolis...

What could be better than taking a flying lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Tomas Scheckter at the wheel? Having your 21-year old daughter call during the ride.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm going 115 mph around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Tomas Scheckter."

"No way."

"I'm not kidding. Here, say hello to Tomas." I hand the phone to the young South African driver and before I know it we're at the end of the Speedway's long frontstretch. Elizabeth's chat with Tomas and the ride are over all too soon.

Pace car rides were the highlight of the day at Speedway, with Chevrolet celebrating their 14th occasion to pace the Indianapolis 500. The 2004 Chevrolet Corvette, with actor Morgan Freeman at the wheel, will lead 33 of the fastest drivers in the world to the green flag for the start of the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Freeman attended a luncheon at the Speedway where he was asked about his first impression of the Corvette. Snapping his head back, Morgan shouted, "Zeeeeeeeeezow!"

"You get religion," with this car, said Freeman. "When you ask for it you get it."

This is the sixth time the venerable marque will pace the Indianapolis 500, with the Corvette making its first pace car appearance in 1978. This year's pace car, the 2004 Corvette, is completely stock, except for heavy-duty transmission and power steering coolers, a lower restriction muffler system, four-point racing-type safety belts and a safety strobe light system.

"We're proud that this year's Memorial Day classic will showcase America's favorite sports car at the greatest spectacle in racing," said Brent Dewar, Chevrolet general manager. "As the 2004 model year is the last of Corvette's current design, pacing the Indy 500 acknowledges the significance the vehicle has played in American culture."

Production of the next generation 2005 Corvette, which was introduced at the North American Auto Show in Detroit in January, will begin in a few months. In essence, the 2004 Corvette is taking celebratory laps of honor around the historic Speedway as it makes way for the next generation Corvette for model year 2005.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter