Jim Harbaugh To Drive Indy 500 Pace Car For 97th Running On Sunday

Jim Harbaugh has Indy 500 written all over him, right? Well, not exactly, but the San Francisco 49ers coach is set to drive the pace car at this year’s classic race nonetheless. Track officials at Indianapolis Motor Speedway made the announcement early Wednesday morning, much later than expected as the race is this coming Sunday.

Harbaugh is quite comfortable in Indianapolis, as he played for the Colts for four seasons from 1994-1997 and he’s since become a popular figure in the area. In 2005, he was named to the Indianapolis Colts’ Ring of Honor for his outstanding contributions to the team as one of the most popular and successful players during his time on the field.

Harbaugh will now lead the 33 racers onto the track for the green flag in front of an expected crowd of over 200,000. The 49-year-old shouldn’t be out of his element, as he is also a part-time owner of Panther Racing, which has three competitors in the field this year.

JR Hildebrand and Townsend Bell both drive for Panther Racing and will start 10th and 22nd respectively. Oriol Servia will also drive for the team, and he starts 13th in the 97th running of the big race.

Not too shabby for Jim Harbaugh at the Indy 500, who will sit behind the wheel of the pace car before spending the rest of the race cheering on his drivers in hopes of finding the winner’s circle.

Harbaugh called the honor a “tremendous thrill” in a statement by track officials on Wednesday. The Indianapolis Star first reported the news and even had the chance to speak with Harbaugh about his job for Sunday’s race.

“I’ve already had a dream about it,” Harbaugh told The Star early Wednesday. “I kept the car out on the track and won the Indy 500.”

As you can see, the 2013 Super Bowl runner-up, to his own brother no less, is getting a kick out of being the pace car driver for the historic race.

Will Jim Harbaugh’s Indy 500 racers find a way to win as their part-time owner brings them to the starting line on Sunday?

[Image via Michael Marconi]