General Motors executive Mark Reuss made a poor case for “celebrity” pace car drivers at last year’s Belle Isle Grand Prix when he crashed the 2019 Corvette ZR1 pace car into a wall, delaying the start of the IndyCar race.
The NTT IndyCar Series is still open to the idea of having a high-profile person pace their races, though, as it has just announced that two-time NHL Stanley Cup champion goaltender Corey Crawford will drive the pace car for this Saturday’s IndyCar Grand Prix.
Crawford, who plays for the Chicago Blackhawks, will be driving the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Indy Pace Car as he leads the field to green on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s infield road course.
“I’m honored to have been selected to drive this year’s Pace Car at a place as famous as the Brickyard,” he said. “Indianapolis is an incredibly passionate sports city, and I couldn’t be more excited to represent the Blackhawks and see their love for IndyCar racing in person.”
The IndyCar Series has raced at the 14-turn, 2.439-mile circuit every year since 2014, hosting the race just a few weeks prior to the Indy 500 in late May.
Crawford is a native of motorsports-obsessed Montreal and enjoys restoring vintage cars in his free time. He served as the starting goalie during the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup title runs in 2013 and 2015 and is also a two-time NHL All-Star.
In a recent interview with The Chicago Tribune, Crawford said he’s had a passion for cars since he was a kid, which started with European exotic cars. He now owns a red 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS and has a particular liking for GM.
“I always liked cars growing up,” Crawford told the paper. “I liked Dodge Vipers. Obviously, I like the supercars, Ferraris, Lamborghinis. Then I started to get into muscle cars a little more. One of my buddies, his dad had a couple muscle cars. He had a Chevelle and Camaro.“
“I’m not a huge fan of Mustangs but some people like them,” he added.
Practice and qualifying for the IndyCar Grand Prix will take place this Friday, with the 85-lap race starting at 3:30 pm ET Saturday, May 11th.