Actor Chris Pratt to drive Brickyard pace car

July 18, 2014, Staff report,

'Parks and Recreation', 'Guardians of the Galaxy' star to lead Brickyard 400 field to green

Editor's note: Image credited to Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

When the Sprint Cup Series heads to Indianapolis for the 20th annual Brickyard 400 next weekend, the race will have a little taste of extra Indiana flavor to it.

Actor Chris Pratt, known for his role as Andy Dwyer in NBC's 'Parks and Recreation' -- which takes place in the fictional Pawnee, Indiana -- will serve as honorary pace car driver in a 2014 red and silver Chevrolet SS pace car for the Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at The Brickyard Powered by on Sunday, July 27 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"It's a dream come true to drive the pace car for the John Wayne Walding 400," said Pratt, according to a Chevrolet release. "I am really excited to be part of NASCAR for the day."

Pratt is also the star of the soon-to-be-released movie "Guardians of the Galaxy" and has appeared in hit films "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Moneyball."

Chevrolet has a long history of pacing races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and has served as the pace car for every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held at the famed track (1994-present).

"Races don't start on the famed 2.5 mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway until the Chevrolet pace car has brought the starting field to the green flag and we are pleased to have the Chevrolet SS do the honors for the 20th anniversary edition of the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. "We are also pleased to have television and movie star Chris Pratt behind the wheel as the honorary pace car driver and as part of our pre-race activities -- and look forward to seeing him on the silver screen in his newest movie on August 1st."

The SS is Chevrolet’s first V-8 rear-wheel-drive performance sedan since 1996. It is powered by the LS3 Chevrolet V-8, delivering an SAE-certified 415 horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. of torque, and is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually using TAPshift paddles mounted on the steering wheel.

Chevrolet SS pace car for the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by on Sunday, July 27, 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Credit: Bret Kelley/IMS for Chevy Racing)

"This year marks the 20th anniversary of NASCAR racing at the Brickyard, and it is truly special that Chevrolet has been there from the beginning racing and pacing," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. "It will be great to have Chris Pratt lead the field of 43 competitors to the green flag in the Chevrolet SS pace car."