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Victor Oladipo to be honorary pace car driver at Indianapolis 500


of the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Indiana Pacers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 27, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

Andy Lyons

Just in case you wondered how much Victor Oladipo was loved in Indiana...

The former Indiana Hoosier star returned to the state this season as a Pacer and had a breakout season — 23.1 points per game and was the focal point of the Pacers’ offense, plus he played lockdown defense. He led the Pacers to 48 wins and Indiana gave Cleveland all it could handle in a seven-game first round series. All that has made Oladipo the runaway favorite to win Most Improved Player, and he could well land an All-NBA nod as well.

And now he’s going to drive the pace car at the Indianapolis 500.

Well, he’s the honorary pace car driver, but he will be behind the wheel of a 2019 Corvette ZR1 Pace Car and lead the field of 33 around the track, it was announced Thursday.

“This is a tremendous honor for me,” Oladipo said. “I’m so thankful Indiana continues to embrace me, from Indiana University to the Pacers and now the Indianapolis 500, the greatest race in the world.... Excited is a huge understatement to how I feel about this. I can’t wait.”

It’s going to be an interesting offseason for the Pacers as their timeline changes and they look to put players around Oladipo that can help the team win now. While that goes on, Oladipo should savor the fruits of his labor. And getting to drive an Indy Pace Car is one of those.