Top Guns Goose To Drive Indy Pace Car

INDIANAPOLIS -- Actor Anthony Edwards, who portrays Dr. Mark Greene on the hit television show "ER," will drive the 2001 Oldsmobile Aurora Official Pace Car in the 84th Indianapolis 500. Edwards will lead the field of 33 drivers to the green flag at noon (EDT) May 28.

"I've always been a huge fan of auto racing, and I was thrilled when Oldsmobile asked me to drive the Aurora pace car at this year's Indy 500," Edwards said. "I can't wait to hear the roar of the engines and lead a fleet of some of the most amazing vehicles in motorsports."

Edwards will continue a legacy of Hollywood stars who have paced the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Other movie and television personalities to drive the Pace Car include James Garner and Jay Leno, who paced the field last year.

Driving the Oldsmobile Aurora Pace Car also increases Edwards' involvement with the Indy Racing Northern Light Series. Edwards also is a spokesperson for Cure Autism Now (CAN), a charitable, non-profit organization that works to find a cure for autism and increase awareness of the disease. Edwards and CAN officials announced in March that the organization will serve as a sponsor of the Bradley Motorsports entry driven by Buzz Calkins at Indianapolis.

Edwards, 36, has received four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He has appeared in more than 20 feature films, including his memorable role as "Goose" in the worldwide hit "Top Gun."

His other awards and nominations include four Screen Actors Guild honors, including Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series and Best Ensemble Cast. He also earned his third Golden Globe nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1999, after winning the award in 1998.

This is the 10th time that an Oldsmobile will pace the Indianapolis 500 and the second time for an Aurora. The Aurora last paced the field in 1997, with three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford behind the wheel.

The all-new 2001 Oldsmobile Aurora is powered by a four-liter, 250-horsepower engine that inspired the IRL Aurora V8 racing engines that have won 32 consecutive races in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series. An Oldsmobile engine powers 88 of the 93 entries for this year's Indianapolis 500.

"We wanted an exceptional person to drive this extraordinary Aurora Pace Car," said Gus Buenz, Oldsmobile director of communications. "Anthony Edwards is an accomplished actor and a passionate racing fan. He is an excellent choice to lead this year's race for Oldsmobile."

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