Victor Oladipo will really become an Indiana pacer this month.
This week, he was selected for one of the state’s biggest honors. Oladipo will drive the pace car at the 2018 Indianapolis 500 — the 102nd installment of the race. Indianapolis Motor Speedway made the announcement Thursday morning.
Victor Oladipo picked to drive Indianapolis 500 pace car
— Indianapolis Motor Speedway (@IMS) May 17, 2018
“This is a tremendous honor for me,” Oladipo said in a statement. “I’m so thankful Indiana continues to embrace me, from Indiana University to the Pacers and now the Indianapolis 500, the greatest race in the world. I would like to thank Chevrolet, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Pacers for allowing me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Excited is a huge understatement to how I feel about this. I can’t wait.”
Oladipo will be driving a 2019 Corvette ZR1 Pace Car as he leads 33 drivers to the starting line during the race on Sunday, May 27.
Oladipo has turned into one of the most beloved figures in Indiana. The former Indiana basketball star returned to the Hoosier state last season where he had a breakout campaign with the Indiana Pacers and made his first NBA All-Star team.
A native of Silver Spring, Md., Oladipo played for the Hoosiers under Tom Crean for three seasons between 2010 and 2013. He went second overall in the 2013 NBA Draft and spent four seasons in the league before he was traded to the Pacers last year. Oladipo was a star when he came back to Indiana, averaging 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals per game in the 2017-18 season.
“It’s a great honor to welcome Victor Oladipo, one of the most popular recent sports figures in Indiana, to lead the field to the start of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said in a statement. “Few NBA players drive to the basket with more speed and power than Victor, so he’ll feel right at home behind the wheel of the awesome 2019 Corvette ZR1 on Race Day.”