Jeff Gordon Drives Camaro ZL1 Pace Car at Daytona 500

Jeff Gordon Drives Camaro ZL1 Pace Car at Daytona 500

Jeff Gordon Drives Camaro ZL1 Pace Car at Daytona 500

Three-time Daytona 500 winner and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champ Jeff Gordon led the field to the start of the 2017 Daytona 500 behind the wheel of the new 2017 Camaro ZL1 pace car.

“Chevrolet and I have a great history at the Daytona 500 and it’s an honor to drive the 650-horsepower Camaro ZL1 pace car for the largest, most historic race of the season,” Gordon said.

Chevrolet will also pace the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Nextera Energy Resources 250 with a 2017 Silverado this evening. A 2017 Camaro SS — featuring a new Krypton Green exterior color — will pace the NASCAR XFINITY Series Powershares QQQ 300 on Feb. 25.

“Chevrolet is proud to pace the Great American Race on the high banks of the iconic Daytona International Speedway,” said Steve Majoros, director of marketing, Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers. “The Camaro ZL1 delivers unprecedented levels of technology, refinement and track capability.”

Gordon has plenty of experience leading the field at Daytona. In addition to winning the Daytona 500 in 1997, 1999 and 2005, he shared the overall win last month at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

All three Chevrolet pace vehicles share graphic theme highlights in silver and black, along with selected accessories and personalization features.

JEFF GORDON, WILL SERVE AS THE PACE CAR DRIVER OF THE CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 IN THIS WEEKEND’S 59TH RUNNING OF THE DAYTONA 500. HE MET WITH A GROUP OF MEDIA MEMBERS FOLLOWING THE ANNOUNCEMENT TO DISCUSS HIS THOUGHTS ON DRIVING THE PACE CAR, CHASE ELLIOTT BEING THE POLE SITTER AND OTHER TOPICS. FULL TRANSCRIPT:

HOW SURPRISED ARE YOU THAT CHEVROLET HAS A STREET CAR WITH THAT KIND OF HORSEPOWER?

“It is unbelievable. I can remember when 300 horsepower was a lot for a street car. We are double that with this new ZL1 Camaro. I love how Chevrolet is pushing the envelope with that kind of performance to the street. But to learn what they do from racing, and marry those two together.”

HAVE YOU DRIVEN A ZL1 ON THE STREET?

“I have a ZL1, but I don’t have this ZL1! I can’t wait to get one of this version. Did you hear that thing fire-up? WOW! What a sound. I can’t wait to get on the gas. I haven’t had a chance to drive it, but looking forward to pacing the field.”

WHAT IS IT GOING TO BE LIKE FOR YOU STARTING THE DAYTONA 500 IN THIS CAR AND NOT A RACE CAR?

“Certainly a lot changed for me being up in the broadcast booth last year. That is going to be taken to a whole other level because not only am I going to be focused on pacing – I am honored. This is truly an honor to be asked to drive the pace car for the Daytona 500. To me, you go down the list of prestigious things I have done, this is right at the top of the list. Very, very cool. Yes, it is going to be unique because not only am I going to be doing the job I am supposed to do pacing the field, there is a responsibility as well because the drivers rely on that pace car and that speed to get their pit road speed accurately. Also, I will be interacting with Mike (Joy) and DW (Darrell Waltrip) up in the booth and the broadcast to get the Daytona 500 started off right.”

HOW DO YOU SEE CHASE ELLIOTT’S CHANCES FOR SUNDAY’S RACE?

“The pole was exciting, but seeing what he did in the Duel last night, that was incredible. I think when you talk to Chase I think that there has been a little bit of hesitancy and doubt of what he is doing on a restrictor plate track. He gained a lot of knowledge and experience last year and now it is paying off. He is a quick study. We have seen him do this in other races. He learns very, very fast. What he did last night was one of the most impressive things I have seen him do yet. To see him be able to go from last year and unsure of what he was capable of doing on a restrictor plate track, to taking control of that race last night. Making some bold moves.”

DOES IT MAKE IT MORE SPECIAL TO DRIVE THE PACE CAR KNOWING HE IS BEHIND YOU IN YOUR OLD RIDE?

“I think that is what makes this even more special. Driving for Hendrick Motorsports for 23 years as a driver, to be able to lead this field in a Chevrolet Camaro but also have two Chevrolets in my rearview mirror, that makes it even more special.”

DID LAST NIGHT BRING BACK MEMORIES OF YOUR FIRST POLE?

“It did! It did. Here is what is interesting. My very first Cup win was in a Duel. Chase’s first NASCAR Cup win – in a Duel. I hope that is going to lead to Daytona 500 wins; Brickyard 400 wins and championships soon.”

WHEN DID YOU STOP GIVING JIMMIE (JOHNSON) ADVICE?

(Laughs) I think it was not only did I stop giving him advice, I started going to him for advice. I don’t know what year that would be. Probably about 2006, or 2007 when he won his first championship.”

ARE YOU SURPRISED HE HAS BEEN ABLE TO BE SO COMPETITIVE FOR SO LONG?

“Impressed, but not surprised. What makes Jimmie, Chad (Knaus) and that No. 48 team so impressive is their work ethic. They are the best, they don’t believe they are the best so they never stop working.”

Jeff Gordon Drives Camaro ZL1 Pace Car at Daytona 500

Camaro ZL1 Daytona 500 pace car includes:

• Silver Ice Metallic exterior color

• LT4 6.2L direct-injected, supercharged V-8

• All-new 10-speed automatic transmission

• Magnetic Ride Control

• Electronic limited-slip differential

• 20-inch forged aluminum wheels

• Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires

• Brembo brakes with six-piston front calipers and two-piece rotors

• 1.02g max cornering

• 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds

• Performance Data Recorder

The only content separating the pace car from a production model is unique graphics and an integrated Whelen LED safety lighting system.

Camaro SS Powershares QQQ 300 pace car includes:

• New, bold Krypton Green exterior color (offered on Camaro LS, LT, SS and ZL1)

• Unique silver and black graphics package

• Accessory 20-inch polished aluminum wheels with Chevrolet Performance center caps

• Accessory ground effects package

• Accessory smoked taillamps

• Accessory black bowtie emblems kit

• Accessory decklid blackout graphic

• Accessory Brembo brake kit with six-piston front calipers/two-piece rotors and four-piston rear calipers (calipers are custom-painted)

• Accessory grille in Silver Ice Metallic

• Integrated Whelen LED safety lighting system

Silverado 1500 crew cab Nextera Energy Resources 250 pace truck includes:

• Silver Ice Metallic exterior color

• Unique graphics

• Accessory one-piece hard tonneau cover

• Spray-in bedliner

• Chrome tow hooks

• Accessory 22-inch six-split-spoke chrome aluminum wheels

• Accessory performance exhaust system

• Accessory Brembo brake kit with six-piston front calipers and larger rotors

• Integrated Whelen LED safety lighting system

FAST FACT: The 2017 Daytona 500 marks the fifth time a Camaro has served as the official pace car. The previous years were 2011, 2009, 1969 and 1968.

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