In one of the most bizarre incidents in recent memory, the pace car crashed exiting the pit lane to start the warm-up laps ahead of Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit.
The car, a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 priced at roughly $120,000, was being piloted by Mark Reuss, Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain at General Motors. Reuss lost control of it coming over the big bump exiting Turn 2, spun into the inside wall and then slid back across the track before coming to a rest in front the 23-car field.
The heavy impact sent debris across the track, and forced the field to come to a stop, although pole sitter Alexander Rossi was initially able to maneuver his way around before the rest of the field came to a stop.
The remainder of the 23-car field eventually all drove back around to the pits to be re-gridded while the wreck and debris field was cleaned up.
Reuss and the passenger in the car, IndyCar official Mark Sandy per the IndyStar, both climbed out of the damaged Corvette and did not appear have any major injuries, but were taken to the medical center to be evaluated. Regular pace car Oriol Servia took over in the backup Corvette ZR1.
All teams were allowed to inspect their tires for any punctures that may have resulted from driving through the debris.
Of note: outside of Rossi, all drivers shut their cars off while waiting behind the crash and needed to be re-fired in order to be driven back around. However, Rene Binder’s No. 32 Chevrolet for Juncos Racing did not re-fire, and was subsequently wheeled back into the pit lane.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott became the eighth driver to join the Superstar Racing Experience, the short-track series being started by Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart.
The two-time Daytona 500 winner and 1988 NASCAR Cup Series champion was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015 and was voted NASCAR’s most popular driver 16 times (his son, Chase, has received the honor the past two years). Elliott also closed his full-time Cup career driving for Evernham’s Dodge team from 2001-03, winning the 2002 Brickyard 400.
“I am excited to reunite with Ray Evernham and some of the great legends of our sport,” Elliott, who joins Stewart and Bobby Labonte as NASCAR Hall of Famers in the SRX, said in a release. “I look forward to racing at some of the most historic American racing destinations and putting on an awesome show for the fans. We have a special driver field and it will be fun competing with some of the greatest drivers of all time.”
The series, which is expecting to have a dozen drivers, also has Tony Stewart, Helio Castroneves, Bobby Labonte, Paul Tracy, Tony Kanaan, Willy T. Ribbs and Mark Webber in its lineup.
SRX was co-founded by NASCAR Hall of Famers Stewart and Evernham and was unveiled July 13.
Several drivers have expressed interest in the new circuit, which is modeled on the International Race of Champions (IROC) series that matched drivers from various auto racing disciplines in equally prepared cars for an annual four-race series for 30 years.
With the addition of Bill Elliott, Superstar Racing Experience has yet to reveal a schedule or tracks, but it’s expected that Stewart’s Eldora Speedway will be on the slate.