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49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh Returns to Indianapolis to Drive Indy 500 Pace Car

SANTA CLARA, CA - MAY 10: Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers enters the practice field during the San Francisco 49ers rookie minicamp at their training facility on May 10, 2013 in Santa Clara, California.  Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterMay 22, 2013

Jim Harbaugh will have the honor of driving the Indy 500 pace car. 

The Indianapolis Star reports the current San Francisco 49ers head coach, who once played quarterback for the Colts, will be in Indy this weekend for a featured role on the track. 

The report reminds us that Harbaugh is a co-owner of Panther Racing, which will send JR Hildebrand, Townsend Bell and Oriol Servia out to race this Sunday. 

Harbaugh is, of course, thrilled to sit in the famed seat of the ceremonial pace car, so much so that he is even dreaming about the day. 

I’ve already had a dream about it,” Harbaugh told the Star today. “I kept the car out on the track and won the Indy 500.”

Then reality hit. “I know my heart is going to be beating out of my chest,” he said.

When the coach heads out to lead the 33-car field, he will be driving a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, a car he mentions he will practice driving before the big day. Someone better break the news to coach that he has no shot of contending, though. 

As the Star notes, Harbaugh became part of Panther Racing while playing for the Colts. That team will give Hildebrand the duty of driving the No. 4 car once numbered to honor the former quarterback.

As for his duties, the 49-year-old will be charged with leading the field in ceremonial fashion, because "IndyCar uses three-time 500 winner Johnny Rutherford as its pace car driver during races."

Recent news brings a pall on the week, at least for the coach who has to worry about the upcoming season. As ESPN reports, wide receiver Michael Crabtree may have torn his Achilles tendon, and he will undergo more tests to determine the severity of his injury. 

With one eye on San Francisco and developments surrounding his star receiver, Harbaugh will keep the other on the road. Let's just hope he remembers to savor what has to be a very cool moment. 


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