Danica Patrick will drive the pace car ahead of the 2021 Indy 500

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Danica Patrick has an additional responsibility during the Indianapolis 500.

Patrick is slated to work the race as an analyst for NBC Sports. Wednesday, Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that she would drive the pace car ahead of the race. 

“I am very honored to drive the Corvette Stingray Pace Car this year at the Indy 500,” Patrick said. “It is even more special because of the past year we have all endured, and it will be so nice to see fans back in the stands."

The Corvette Stingray that Patrick will drive is the first convertible to serve as the ceremonial pace car for the race since 2008.

The 2021 Indy 500 (May 30, 11 a.m. ET, NBC) is set to be the biggest event in the United States since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The track is allowing a capacity of 135,000 — or about 40 percent of what the typical capacity is for the historic race. 

The 2020 race was held in August without fans.

Danica Patrick finished third in the 2009 Indy 500. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Danica Patrick finished third in the 2009 Indy 500. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Patrick made eight Indy 500 starts

Indianapolis was one of Patrick’s best tracks during her IndyCar Series career. She made eight starts at Indianapolis and finished in the top 10 six times. She was third in 2009 — the best finish ever for a woman at Indianapolis.

She came back in 2018 to make her final start in the race before retiring from driving. Her first start in the 500 in seven years ended with a crash after 67 laps and a 30th-place finish. That was the worst Indy finish of her career.

Patrick ran full-time in IndyCar from 2005-2011 before moving to NASCAR. She raced in the Cup Series full-time from 2013-17 and finished her Cup career with seven top-10 finishes in 191 career races.

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