Leno to drive Brickyard 400 pace car

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - Two years ago, it was a winning combination at the Indianapolis 500. So for the 2001 Brickyard 400, Chevrolet and comedian Jay Leno will team up once again to pace a race at the most prestigious racetrack in...

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - Two years ago, it was a winning combination at the Indianapolis 500. So for the 2001 Brickyard 400, Chevrolet and comedian Jay Leno will team up once again to pace a race at the most prestigious racetrack in the world.

Leno, host NBC's popular "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," will be behind the wheel of a specially modified 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo as he leads the field at the start of this year's Brickyard 400 on Aug. 5, 2001, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway gives a warm welcome once again to Jay Leno, as he assumes the duties of Pace Car driver for the eighth running of the Brickyard 400," said Tony George, president and chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "Jay was a fine ambassador for the Speedway when he piloted the Chevrolet Monte Carlo Pace Car at the 1999 Indianapolis 500, and we look forward to his return to Indianapolis in August."

Leno was joined at the Speedway today by Jeff Gordon, the three time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion from nearby Pittsboro, Ind. Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994 and became the first two-time winner of the event in 1998. Gordon was on hand to provide Leno with some driving trips for the legendary 2.5-mile Speedway oval.

"Jeff's a nice guy and a great NASCAR driver, but, boy, he needs some help in the joke department," said Leno, with a smile. "I had hoped to give him a tip or two on driving this track, but like a good student, I listened to his advice. I'm thrilled that Chevrolet invited me to be a part of the program and am proud to have this opportunity to support them."

General Motors' Special Vehicles department developed the striking "Smooth Yellow" Brickyard 400 Monte Carlo Pace Car from a 2001 model-year production car. The Pace Car is a stock Monte Carlo SS with a few modifications (e.g., increased engine cooling, air induction and horsepower, and a lowered suspension) that enable it to perform Pace Car duties in the harsh environment of professional racing.

Chevrolet has paced the Brickyard 400 every year since its inception in 1994. A Monte Carlo paced the field in 1994, followed by a C/K Pickup in 1995, a Camaro in 1996 and the Monte Carlo once again from 1997-2001. The eighth running of the Brickyard 400 is scheduled to get underway at 1:30 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, Aug. 5.

--IRNLS/IMS-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony George , Jay Leno