Jim Harbaugh coached the San Francisco 49ers to this year’s Super Bowl, but years ago he made his name as a quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Indy appears to still harbor a soft spot for Harbaugh, as the coach is getting a special opportunity in perhaps Indiana’s biggest sporting event.
Harbaugh will drive the pace car at this year’s Indianapolis 500, set for Sunday, according to the Indianapolis Star. Harbaugh owns a part of Indianapolis-based Panther Racing, so he does have some familiarity with NASCAR.
“I’ve already had a dream about it,” Harbaugh said. “I kept the car out on the track and won the Indy 500.”
All dream scenarios aside, Harbaugh said he is already nervous about performing his duties. He will get some practice time on the track before the big day.
“I know my heart is going to be beating out of my chest,” he said.
Harbaugh became a part of Panther Racing in 1997 while he was still with the Colts. The team chose its No. 4 partly because of him, and the Chevrolet-powered team will have JR Hildebrand, Townsend Bell and Oriol Servia in the race on Sunday, with Hildebrand driving the No. 4 car.
Harbaugh’s duties will be strictly ceremonial. Johnny Rutherford is the race’s traditional pace car driver.