It may seem like a waste to drive a 662-hp car at just 45 mph, but when you’re pacing a NASCAR race, now America’s biggest spectator sport, the role is still plenty important. That’s just what Justin Bell did in this episode of the World’s Fastest Car show, driving a Ford Shelby GT500 pace car at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. When race day finally came, Bell’s heart was beating plenty fast with race cars riding his bumper waiting for the action to begin.
Bell receives a briefing on pace car protocol by Robert “Buster” Auton, who walks Bell through the steps of maintaining pace speed, switching on the roof lights getting drivers ready, and the verbal cue to the pedal-to-the-metal action to begin. Since the race cars themselves do not have speedometers, the purpose of the pace car is to give race drivers a point of reference for the appropriate engine RPM for pit speed.
A professional racer himself, Bell says the perspective of being in the lead car is an unusual one, having spent most of his racing career looking at the rear end of other competitor cars. Bell finds Trevor Bayne, driver of the number 6 Mustang, and the youngest driver to ever win the Daytona 500 at only 20 years old.
Watch Bell pace the race in the Mustang, and be sure to watch the World’s Fastest Car Show on the Motor Trend Channel every Friday.