Armstrong to drive pace car at Indy 500

Updated: May 9, 2006, 12:27 PM ET
SportsTicker

INDIANAPOLIS -- Legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong will have the honor of leading the field to the start of the 2006 Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis 500 pace cars, since 2000
2006 Lance Armstrong Chevrolet Corvette Z06
2005 Gen. Colin Powell Chevrolet Corvette
2004 Morgan Freeman Chevrolet Corvette C5
2003 Herb Fishel Chevrolet SSR
2002 Jim Caviezel Chevrolet Corvette
2001 Elaine Irwin-Mellencamp Oldsmobile Bravada
2000 Anthony Edwards Oldsmobile Aurora
Carl G. Fisher drove the first Indy pace car -- a Stoddard-Dayton -- in 1911. Sam Hanks (1958-63) and Jim Rathmann (1969, 72-74, 78, 82) share the honor of being selected to drive the pace car six times, the most in the history of the race.

A seven-time winner of the Tour de France, Armstrong will drive the Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car in the May 28 event.

"We're proud that this year's Indianapolis 500 will showcase the new 505-horsepower Corvette Z06 and honored that it will be driven by another racing icon -- Lance Armstrong," Chevrolet general manager Ed Peper said.

Armstrong first beat cancer before winning the first of a record seven straight Tour de France titles in 1999. He retired following the 2005 race and continues to be a leader and activist on behalf of cancer survivors around the world.

"All I can say is that when we got a phone call to ask if I was interested in driving the Pace Car at Indy, it was a very short conversation," the 34-year-old Armstrong said. "It was like, 'Are you kidding? Of course.' It's a huge honor and something that I am very excited to do. Hopefully I cannot mess things up, if that's possible."

General Colin Powell, actor Morgan Freeman and comedian Jay Leno are among those who have driven the Pace Car at the Indianapolis 500.