The National Corvette Museum’s Skydome is home to not only rare Corvettes, but also a mini “Gasoline Alley” with a representation of every Corvette that ever paced the Indy 500. 1986 marked the return of the convertible to the Corvette line-up, and the return of the Corvette to Indianapolis. As with the first Corvette Pace Car in 1978, the 1986 Corvette needed no mechanical modifications to pace the race. In fact it was the first street-legal car to pace Indy since the previous Corvette. Test pilot and retired Air Force General Chuck Yeager was selected to drive the Indy Pace Car.
As with all Indy 500 Pace Cars, one is kept by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, one is presented to the winner of the Indy 500 Race, and one is given to the driver of the Pace Car. Displayed in the National Corvette Museum Skydome is the very car driven by General Chuck Yeager.
Current owner Bart Riebe of Grass Valley, CA acquired this Corvette from General Yeager himself. Yeager’s daughter, Susie, worked for Bart, and at the time Yeager was presented the Corvette at the Indy race, he already had a Corvette. He told Bart if he would buy him two Chevy pickup trucks, they could trade. After some negotiation with GM, Bart was able to get the Pace Car. Due to some modifications the track made to the car, it is not street legal and has only been driven in parades. According to Bart, very few, if any, real Pace Cars are ever released for private individuals to own.
See Chuck Yeager’s Pace Car now through April 2011. The National Corvette Museum is located at I-65 exit 28 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It is open daily, 8am until 5pm central time. Regular admission prices are $10.00 for adults, $8.00 for seniors, $5.00 for youth age 6-16 and children 5 and under are free. For information call 800-53-VETTE (83883) or visit the Museum online at www.corvettemuseum.org.