A Pace Car Crash is Weird, But What Happens When it's Stolen?
Last weekend we saw the all new ZR1 Corvette Pace Car for the Detroit Grand Prix end up nosed into the wall when the driver got a little throttle happy exiting one of the corners. That got us talking about other pace car-related incidents and we eventually stumbled upon this little gem and wanted to share it with our fans.
All the way back in 1986, racers and fans alike were gearing up for the annual race at Talladega Super Speedway – then known as Alabama International Motor Speedway – when word came that the beginning of the race was going to be delayed. This time the pace car wasn’t wrecked, though. Instead, it had be stolen by an overzealous fan in what may have been the first “Hold my beer and watch this” moment to have been captured on video.
Knowing a large portion of the attendees for any race at ‘Dega consists of my fellow Alabamians, there’s a very good chance this guy could be one of my neighbors or even a friend, although considering I was five years old at the time, he’d be more likely to be a friend’s dad.
Seeing this footage of the 3rd gen Firebird lapping the massive super speedway, alone at first, then pursued by a police car and a couple of cops on motorcycles is truly hilarious, especially considering there are a couple hundred thousand people in the stands waiting on the start of the race who were treated a little extra entertainment.
Eventually the track safety crew used their fleet of trucks to build a roadblock and the car – and the offending fan’s fun – came screeching to halt, but for just a few minutes, this guy was the coolest man on the property, and considering the likes of Dale Earnhardt Sr, Terry Laborite and eventual race winner Bobby Allison were among those in the lineup for the race.
I think its safe to say this incident is part of the reason security is so strict at these events now, because we’re certain there’s no way a fan would even get close enough to lay hands on the pace car now, much less jump in and take it for a spin.