What Does It Take To Pace A Race: Video
Motor racing fans always get caught up in high-action racing and justifiably so. After all, the purpose of watching a motor racing event is to watch the racers. But, what gets lost in the parade of these high-powered racers is the pace car, the one on-track vehicle that’s responsible for restoring order anytime there’s some sort of emergency on the track.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pace car driver Brett Bodine knows how important the pace car is in any racing event. He also knows that it takes a special kind of car to fulfill these duties. You just can’t pluck a regular vehicle from the parking lot and use it as a pace car. According to Bodine, the approval process behind the use of a certain pace car varies from track to track, usually depending on the size of said track. On shorter tracks, Bodine says that pace cars must be able to do 80 mph from turn one to the back straightway to be able to catch the field. But, on bigger tracks, a car must be able to run as fast as 110 mph easily to be considered suitable for pace car duties.
Fortunately for Bodine, the current pace car for NASCAR - a high-powered Ford Mustang GT - checks off a lot of those requirements. It’s got the acceleration. It has the handling. Most importantly, it meets all of the criteria on all of the series’ race tracks, be it on shorter circuits like Bristol all the way to the longer ones in Indianapolis.
So the next time you watch a NASCAR race, be on the lookout for that blue Ford Mustang GT with the red and white racing stripes. You hope it doesn’t have to go out of the track at any point in the race, but in the event it does, check out how fast and powerful it is.