In 1997, when John Middlebrook served as Chevrolet’s general manager, he said: “Corvette is now, and will continue to remain Chevrolet’s flagship. It is our technological and image showcase. Even more importantly, Corvette stands as the most singularly dramatic example of what we mean by ‘Genuine Chevrolet.’ Corvette is much more than just a car. It’s a love affair. Words alone fail to convey the passion it inspires.”

Just 11 years later, Middlebrook, who retired July 1 as GM vice president of global sales, service and marketing operations, will share with the world his passion for Corvette, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and NASCAR as he leads the field to green in the 2008 Corvette Z06 pace car for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 27, 2008.

“It is great honor for me to have the opportunity to drive the Corvette Z06 pace car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Middlebrook. “There is a tremendous Chevrolet heritage at the Speedway dating back to the involvement of Louis Chevrolet in the Indianapolis 500 in the early-1900s. To play a small role in continuing that tradition behind the wheel of the 505-hp Corvette pace car for NASCAR’s 15th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is a memory I will embrace.”

Middlebrook, whose career with General Motors spanned nearly five decades, has made tremendous contributions to GM in a variety of roles over his career and is well known and highly respected and admired throughout the industry as a true sales and marketing professional.

“John has been an outstanding steward of motorsports throughout his career, and it’s only fitting to pay tribute to what he’s meant to GM and to the sport by having him drive the pace car at the Brickyard,” said Ed Peper, North American vice president of Chevrolet. “He is a true leader, and all of Chevy will be cheering him on as he drives the car he loves—the Corvette Z06 pace car—as he leads the entire NASCAR Sprint Cup starting field to the green flag in Sunday’s race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

"John Middlebrook has been a valued friend and business partner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for decades," said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer. "His leadership, knowledge and experience have been a driving force behind the longstanding relationship between IMS and Chevrolet. We're looking forward to seeing him drive the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard field to the green in a Corvette Z06."

2008 marks the 15th time that Chevrolet has paced the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and the fourth consecutive time Corvette has led the pack. Chevrolet’s pacing tradition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway also extends to the Indianapolis 500 where Chevrolet has paced that esteemed race 19 times with Corvette leading the field 10 times.