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Leaders of the Pack: Our All-Time Favorite Indy 500 Pace Cars

By: · May 25, 2017

-Measured in terms of sheer idiosyncrasies per mile, few oval circuits can match the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. More a rectangle with rounded corners than a true oval, the 2.5-mile circuit features two eighth-mile-long “short chutes” connecting the corners at either end, which are banked at a mild 9 degrees and 12 minutes (these are unchanged since the track’s construction in 1909; by comparison, Talladega Superspeedway leans in at 33 degrees). A yardlong surface of commemorative bricks marks the start/finish line, and a unique multi-tiered pagoda-style scoring tower houses various officials and press. Did we mention that the 500 winner swigs milk from a bottle?--But while the annual Indianapolis 500 may be a stickler for tradition, there is one crucial element that changes every year: the pace car. Ever since the first running of the 500 in 1911, manufacturers have been eager to put their products on the track, in recent decades demonstrating them in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators at the event and millions more on television. Of the 100 cars that, through 2016, have led the field on the opening lap of the 500, these are our all-time favorites (some for their comedic value).-1911-Stoddard-Dayton-Indianapolis-Pace-car-1920 Indianapolis 500 – Marmon 34-1925 Indianapolis 500 – Rickenbacker-1926 Indianapolis 500 – Chrysler Imperial E-80-1930 Indianapolis 500 – Cord L-29-1932 Indianapolis 500 – Lincoln Model KB Murphy Sports Roadster-1941 Indianapolis 500 – Chrysler Newport Phaeton-1946 Indianapolis 500 – Lincoln Continental-1955 Indianapolis 500 – Chevrolet Bel Air-1958 Indianapolis 500 – Pontiac Bonneville-1964 Indianapolis 500 – Ford Mustang-1965 Indianapolis 500 – Plymouth Fury-1966 Indianapolis 500 – Mercury Comet Cyclone GT-1967 Indianapolis 500 – Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible-1970 Indianapolis 500 – Oldsmobile 442-1971 Indianapolis 500 – Dodge Challenger-1973 Indianapolis 500 – Cadillac Eldorado-1978 Indianapolis 500 – Chevrolet Corvette-1979 Indianapolis 500 – Ford Mustang-1980 Indianapolis 500 – Pontiac Turbo Trans Am-1983 Indianapolis 500 – Buick Riviera Convertible-1984 Indianapolis 500 – Pontiac Fiero-1987 Indianapolis 500 – Chrysler LeBaron-1990 Indianapolis 500 – Chevrolet Beretta-1991 Indianapolis 500 – Dodge Viper R/T10-1994 Indianapolis 500 – Ford Mustang Cobra-1997 Indianapolis 500 – Oldsmobile Aurora-1998 Indianapolis 500 – Chevrolet Corvette-2001 Indianapolis 500 – Oldsmobile Bravada-2003 Indianapolis 500 – Chevrolet SSR-2013 Indianapolis 500 – Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

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