Danica Patrick has not raced since the 2018 Indy 500 and has been enjoying retirement ever since. But for the today's 2021 Indy 500, Patrick is getting a special role.
Ahead of the start of the race, Patrick was shown as the pace car driver. Her duties will include leading the 33 drivers to the green flag in a 2021 mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette Stingray hardtop convertible.
Patrick will be just the third woman to drive the pace car for the NASCAR event. Elaine Irwin and Robin Roberts did so in 2001 and 2010 respectively.
The official announcement of Patrick as the pace car driver came earlier this month. Patrick was also announced as part of the broadcast team for NBC's coverage of the event.
In a statement when the announcement was made, Danica Patrick called it an honor to be the Indy 500 pace car driver. She said it was especially meaningful given the year everyone has just endured. Patrick also professed her love of Corvettes and is looking forward to working with the NBC broadcast team.
“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. I’m also excited to again be a part of the NBC broadcast team for the race.
“I have always loved Chevy vehicles, and the Corvette convertible is such a beautiful car. Maybe they will let me drive it home!”
The Indy 500 begins at 12:30 p.m. EST and will air on the NBC Sports app and NBCSports.com.