• The new 2014 C7 Corvette has been chosen as the official 2013 Indy 500 Pace Car.
  • It's the record 12th selection for Chevrolet's iconic sports car.
  • The C7 Corvette goes on sale in fall 2013.

There have been many different Indianapolis 500 pace cars over the years, but most would agree that there's nothing quite like a Corvette. So we're pleased to report that the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will be the official pace car of the 2013 Indy 500 at the historic Brickyard in Speedway, Ind.

Modern Indy Car fans may be surprised to learn that the Corvette didn't make its pace-car debut until 1978, even though the Corvette itself debuted way back in 1953. The intervening years saw behemoths such as the Chevrolet Bel Air and Mercury Turnpike Cruiser take their turns while the 2-seat Corvette sat on the sidelines. Remarkably, the rough-and-tumble Camaro was selected to pace the pack twice in the late '60s, while the original Stingray coupe -- the legendary one with the split rear windows -- never got a chance.

But since that inaugural appearance in 1978, the Corvette has quickly climbed the charts. This year marks its 12th selection, easily the most of any car since the Pace Car tradition started in 1911. There have been some swings and misses since '78, of course (we're still a little steamed about that 2001 Oldsmobile Bravada, a forgotten clone of the Chevrolet Blazer SUV), but they haven't stopped the Corvette's rise to the top.

Although a Corvette also did the pacing last year, this year is a particularly auspicious one, as it heralds the start of a new Corvette generation. The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe is the first of the C7 Corvettes, and it brings an overhauled 6.2-liter, 450-horsepower V8 to the party -- not to mention a dashing new shape and a cabin that's finally competitive with other world-class sports cars. Pricing is expected to start in the $50,000-$55,000 range when the C7 'Vette goes on sale later in 2013. To get one that's equipped like the pace car, just spring for the Z51 performance package and you're all set.

As for the race itself, tune in to ABC for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 at 12 noon on May 26.

What it means to you: The Corvette continues to be a car that makes Americans proud, and there's no better place to introduce the new C7 Corvette than at the Brickyard on Sunday.

Find a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray for sale

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Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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