All-Star guard and former Indiana Hoosier hoops star Victor Oladipo will set the pace for the field of 33 drivers in a 2019 Corvette ZR1 Pace Car prior to the start of the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
After being traded from Oklahoma City, Oladipo averaged 23.1 points per game for the Pacers in 2017-18 and played a large role in the Pacers’ near-upset of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has been named a finalist for the 2017-18 NBA Most Improved Player Award, which will be announced at the end of June.
“This is a tremendous honor for me,” said Oladipo, who played at Indiana University from 2010-13. “I’m so thankful Indiana continues to embrace me, from Indiana University to the Pacers and now the Indianapolis 500, the greatest race in the world.
“I would like to thank Chevrolet, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Pacers for allowing me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Excited is a huge understatement to how I feel about this. I can’t wait.”
Oladipo was named to his first NBA All-Star team this year while leading the Pacers to a 48-34 record — the team’s best season since 2013-14 — and the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Oladipo also led the NBA in steals with 2.4 per game and improved his statistics in every major offensive and defensive category under head coach Nate McMillan.
During his college career at IU, Oladipo was a consensus first-team All-American in his final season with the Hoosiers in 2012-13. He was selected second overall in the NBA Draft in 2013 by the Orlando Magic.
“It’s a great honor to welcome Victor Oladipo, one of the most popular recent sports figures in Indiana, to lead the field to the start of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,'” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Few NBA players drive to the basket with more speed and power than Victor, so he’ll feel right at home behind the wheel of the awesome 2019 Corvette ZR1 on Race Day.”
This will be the 15th time a Corvette has served as the official pace car and the 29th time a Chevrolet has led the field, dating back to 1948, when a 1948 Fleetmaster Six convertible paced the race. No other vehicle has served as the pace car more than the Corvette.
The Corvette ZR1 Pace Car can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 2.85 seconds and reach a top track speed of 212mph, the fastest Corvette in history.
“It will be great to have Victor behind the wheel of the 2019 Corvette ZR1, the fastest, most powerful, most advanced performance production Corvette ever,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports for Chevrolet. “I can’t wait for Victor to experience that performance, along with the energy and anticipation of all the fans, as he leads the field to the green flag at the iconic Indy 500.”