Hooniverse Weekend Edition: Indy Pace Cars from 2000 – 2010

In observance of the annual Indianapolis 500 Race that took place over the weekend (and was historically run on Memorial Day) I thought I would dive into a pictorial history of the cars that paced this once great race. This is the final chapter in this series, and it discusses the Pace Cars from 2000 to the Camaro that paced this years classic on Sunday.

The Dawn of the new millennium saw Oldsmobile once again pushing their Aurora Sedan as the Pace Car for the 500. This time, it was the revised version, and no one thought this would be the last gasp for the once proud brand in GM. The car was powered by the Aurora V-8, producing 250 HP. It was driven by film star Anthony Edwards (who?)

The next entry was a head scratching numbers, if I do say so myself. For the 2001 model year, Oldsmobile thought it was wise to use a Sport Utility Vehicle as a pace car, in the form of a Trailblazer Clone called the Bravada. It was powered by a 250 HP version of the Atlas Inline Six, and someone thought it was a good idea to have a Supermodel at the wheel during the pace laps as well.

2002 brought yet another Corvette, packing 345 HP from the 5.7L V-8. All well and good, but who thought it was a good idea to have Jim Caviezel, Jesus Christ himself, take the wheel for the pace laps. Well, maybe he wouldn’t crash at least….

Chevrolet returned for 2003, this time using the pseudo custom truck as a pace car, the Chevrolet SSR. At least it was a convertible, with its 5.3L V-8 producing 290 HP.

2004 through 2008 were all Corvettes. The 2004 model was a C5 Convertible, with the 5.7L V-8, tuned to produce 345HP. Morgan Freeman, yes this time God himself, drove during the pace laps.

The 2005 Vette was another convertible, only equipped with a 6.0L V-8, and producing 400 HP. General Colin Powell was at the wheel for Pace Laps.

The 2006 Corvette was a Z-06 Coupe, with a 7.0L V-8 producing 505 HP. Lance Armstrong, a God among cyclists, was given the chance to exercise the Vette on the track during pace laps.

For 2007, there was another Z-06 Coupe, again with the 7.0L V-8, Producing 505 HP. Patrick Dempsey, yes Dr “McDreamy” was at the wheel for the Pace Laps.

Chevrolet threw a curve ball for 2008, supplying not one but two versions of the Corvette Pace Car. There was a Green and Yellow Z-06 Coupe that was tuned to run on E-85 (Remember that fiasco?), and then there was a Black and Silver 30th anniversary Convertible. At least they had a real race car driver at the wheel in the form of Emerson Fittipaldi.

Chevy Returned for 2009 with the hot and new Camaro. It was pumping 425 HP from its 6.2L V-8.

And this year, the Camaro made a return engagement with the SS version of he coupe, with the 6.2L V-8 slightly de-tuned to 400HP.

That’s the Indy Pace Car Edition of Hooniverse Weekend, on this Memorial Day. Comment about what you read here, and tell me if you enjoyed the Photo History of the Indy Pace Car.

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10 responses to “Hooniverse Weekend Edition: Indy Pace Cars from 2000 – 2010”

  1. Maymar Avatar

    Anthony Edwards was Goose! I'd say he should've been riding shotgun, but who knows if Maverick could see over the steering wheel (that's more of a Buick thing anyways).

  2. JayP Avatar

    I picked up a few 2009 Camaro Pace Car Hotwheels this weekend.

  3. PowerTryp Avatar

    Well that started out great but grew very dull coming into the 90's. Wait that sounds like the sport itself. Well the only thing I truly find funny is the serious lack of customerbase knowledge shown later on, Seriously Honda you push every one out of competition but leave the pace car to be bought up by GM? Good work, next time be a little greedyer and take the whole damn series and just change the name to AHRL (American Honda Racing League) at least then it would cut the ties to a once wonderful and competative form of motorsport rivaling F1.
    My tired brain appologises for that rant.

  4. engineerd Avatar

    The '90s were another odd decade. All GM? Sedans and SUVs? Really? Why not throw in a Chrysler minivan and an F150?
    Seriously, though, I would have thought the 2000 Cobra R would outbid a freakin' Aurora. I guess getting in bed with Tony George was good for GM.

    1. Tomsk Avatar

      Well, it did keep them out of bankruptcy.
      Oh, wait…

  5. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

    My favorite for the 2000s was the Corvette.

  6. muthalovin Avatar

    I really, really dislike the SSR. The people who bought these are far worse offenders than people that buy Smart cars. The one owner I met with one was a ditsy Cougar with a Pomeranian in the passenger seat, a towel rolled up in the window, so the dog wouldn't scratch it up. My friend and I were checking it out at a stoplight and she rolled the window down and exclaimed, over the constant barking of the dog, "you should really see her with the top down!!" She then proceeded to race us, because that ricer car was a Japanese piece of shit with a fancy paint job. The Evo blew the doors off the SSR, and we laughed all the way down the road.

  7. FreeMan Avatar

    I live in a small town about 30 min north of Indy. We used to have a very nice restaurant here in town (owner/chef retired), where the guest register was filled mostly with visitors from out of state. I was out for a walk on evening with my son, when we rounded the corner and saw about 25 of those convertible, burnt orange 2007 Pace 'vettes. I've got a stack of pics at home if anyone's interested (though reading the comments, doesn't sound like there's much love…)
    The Speedway gets about 50 or so of the pace vehicles each year and loans them out to local big-wigs and others associated with the race to drive around for May. Indiana even issues a special license plate each year just for these vehicles.
    (14 minutes of fame left)

  8. Tomsk Avatar

    Dear god I hope the new administration at the Speedway reopens the pace car/official vehicle bidding process. I like Vettes and Camaros as much as the next hoon but come on!

  9. bluehillsmike Avatar

    Why is Indycar dying? There's your sign…the bowtie.