WHAT IS IT? This car is a 2000 PONTIAC "DAYTONA 500 PACE CAR EDITION" GRAND PRIX GTP. It is one of two ACTUAL PACE CARS used in the 2000 DAYTONA 500 RACE. This car was also used by DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY as a PROMOTIONAL CAR for the 2001 DAYTONA 500. Besides the two OPERATIONAL PACE CARS, there were also two display cars which were also fully equipped.
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IS IT REAL? YES. AND IT IS ALL ORIGINAL.
DID YOU DO THE GRAPHICS YOURSELF? No. The main graphics were put on all of the Grand Prix Pace Cars used in the Winston Cup Series that year. The door and roof graphics are called "event" graphics, and they are put on by the individual tracks, in the case of this car, DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY. During the race, the car had the 2000 DAYTONA 500 event logos on the doors, and the 2000 DAYTONA 500 logo on the roof. After the 2000 DAYTONA 500, DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY made the car a PROMOTIONAL VEHICLE for the 2000 PEPSI 400, then the 2001 DAYTONA 500 and 2001 SPEEDWEEKS, and the doors still have the 2001 DAYTONA 500 Logos on them with the date February 18, 2001. NASCAR fans know that date as the day Dale Earnhardt SR was lost in the final turn of the 2001 DAYTONA 500.
WERE ALL OF THE PACE CARS SILVER THAT YEAR? No. Only the 2 Pace Cars used in the 2000 Daytona 500 were silver, along with the two additional display cars. There were 24 white Grand Prix Pace Cars used in other races, and 13 races had Chevrolet Monte Carlo Pace Cars that year. The Monte Carlos were not released to the public.
WHY WERE THE DAYTONA 500 PACE CARS SILVER? Daytona always selects it's own Pace Cars for the Daytona 500. To commemorate what was hailed as the "First Race of the Millenium" Pontiac and Daytona collaborated on a special 2000 "Daytona 500 Pace Car Edition" Pontiac Grand Prix GTP. They built 2,000 of these cars, and 2 of those were converted by TDM (of Detroit) for use as the actual Pace Cars in the race, and 2 more as display cars. This car is one of the two RACE USED PACE CARS.
WERE THERE ANY OTHER SPECIAL PROMOTIONS FOR THE 2000 DAYTONA 500? Yes. This was the DEBUT race for both the new body-style 2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Race Car, and the new body-style 2000 Ford Taurus Race Car. Jeff Gordon raced a SILVER DUPONT CAR with the "NASCAR 2000" Logo on the hood. Dale Earnhardt raced a RED TAZ #3 Monte Carlo. It was also Dale Jrs FIRST DAYTONA 500, and there are some spectacular photos of the two RED Earnhardt Monte Carlos racing side by side. There were other cars with special paint jobs, but those two are the most famous. The DAYTONA 500 is huge, not just for the fans, but for the drivers. There have been many drivers who strive for years for a DAYTONA 500 victory, oftentimes coming up just short. I believe it was Dale Earnhardt Sr. that said "They don't call it the Daytona 499" after losing it several times on the final lap. He finally did win the race in 1998, on his 20th try.
WHAT MODS ARE DONE TO MAKE A CAR A PACE CAR? For the "Superspeedway" tracks like Daytona and Talladega, stiffer springs are used to lower the car. Special 18 INCH Wheels were added, and Goodyear F1 tires were used. There are a few performance mods for better cooling, and a performance chip. Also, the WHELEN strobe system was installed, which included two 180-watt control boxes, and strobes in the foglights, headlights, on the front of the mirrors, in the back-up lights, and a flasher bar across the top of the rear window. All of the other Pontiac Grand Prix Pace Cars used in 1998-2001 had a trunk spoiler with a flasher bar, but the Daytona 500 Pace Cars had a DIFFERENT rear spoiler made exclusively for the "Daytona 500 Pace Car Edition" cars in 2000, and they did not design a flasher bar for this spoiler, so they used yellow strobes in the back-up lights ON THOSE PACE CARS ONLY. The strobe system is still fully functional also. When I got the car, the front strobes were unhooked. The previous owner told me how to hook them up. From what I understand, the auto companies remove the strobe lights when any cars are released to the public now.
SO WHERE ARE THE WHEELS THAT THE CAR HAD DURING THE RACE AND WHILE ON DISPLAY AT DAYTONA USA? I wish I knew! Pontiac will only sell the cars to the public with the 16" factory wheels. They do this with all of the Pace Cars. I am looking for a set of the 18" Concept Neeper Shadow wheels. Donations are gladly accepted. ***UPDATE... I got 'em!!! The car now rides on the 18" Concept NEEPER SHADOW wheels with GOODYEAR EAGLE F1 Tires!!! Still lloking for sets of these NEEPERS though for some of my friends that have Pace Cars.
WHO WON THE 2000 DAYTONA 500? Dale Jarrett, in the #88 Ford Quality Care Car. He was following the Pace Car as he went under the checkered flag, as the "Yellow, White, Checkered" rule was not in effect yet.
IF YOUR CAR WAS IN THE 2000 DAYTONA 500, WHY DOES IT HAVE THE 2001 LOGOS? After the Daytona 500 each year, the Winning Race Car, and one of the Pace Cars are retained by the Speedway, and put on display. This is the Pace Car that they kept, and they used it as the PROMOTIONAL VEHICLE for the 2000 PEPSI 400, and then the 2001 Daytona 500. The logos were changed to the 2001 Daytona 500 logo on the doors, and the 2001 SPEEDWEEKS on the roof. The car was also used to give rides around the track, and used by track officials to get around the track. I intend to leave the 2001 logos on the car to preserve the correct history of the car, and as a tribute to Dale Earnhardt, who was lost in that race. I have seen the effect those logos have on Earnhardt fans when they see the date.
HOW MUCH DID YOU PAY FOR THE CAR? I paid DEARLY. My wife does not like it.
IS IT FOR SALE? Everything I have except my family and my integrity is for sale.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE DRIVER? Dale Jarrett. I own a Pace Car from his THIRD Daytona 500 win, What else am I supposed to say? Plus he signed the dash for me! I also like Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, and Dale Jr.
I HAVE A PACE CAR EDITION, OR A COMMEMORATIVE CAR. HOW DO I GET IN ON THESE TRACK EVENTS? Information will be coming out soon about a new club. Keep me in your favorites folder and check back for updates!
WHAT CARS WILL BE ELIGIBLE TO JOIN THIS NEW CLUB? Retired Pace Cars, Brickyard Cars, Pace Car Editions, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Sr. Cars, Tony Stewart Cars, Jeff Gordon Cars, and any of the other NASCAR themed vehicles. You don't even have to own one of these cars to join. Associate members are welcome too! You have to have a Pace Car or commemorative car to get on the track though. If you don't have one, and you are a member, we will get you a ride. My recommendation is to get a Pace Car though. Just because they are so much fun! Being able to use it for charitable causes is really neat also.
SO WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PACE CARS, FESTIVAL CARS, PARADE CARS, DRIVER INTRODUCTION CARS, AND PROMO CARS? PACE CARS are used during the race for multiple functions. They set a pace for the race cars to calibrate their speeds, they pace caution laps during the race, and they maintain order on the track. They are an operational part of the race. Many tracks use their Pace Cars for multiple races. DAYTONA does not, for the Daytona 500 at least. FESTIVAL AND PARADE CARS are cars that a manufacturer may have at the track for giving rides, or for general use by TRACK, NASCAR, or SPONSOR officials. Often, if a particular type of car is a Pace Car, they may have several cars there of the same model (such as Pace Car Replicas) being used for other duties. Dealers often refer to these as "PARADE" or "FESTIVAL" cars, and enthusiasts often note that while showing their cars, or selling them. "DRIVER INTRODUCTION" cars are cars used to introduce drivers at the tracks. At some NASCAR races, they will use 43 cars to introduce the drivers, and these cars will have decals for each driver. A friend of mine has a silver Brickyard 400 Pace Car Edition Camaro Convertible that was used as a driver introduction car for Jeremy Mayfield. PROMOTIONAL cars are cars that are used by the tracks or manufacturers to promote a race. My car was one of the two PACE CARS used in the 2000 DAYTONA 500, and it was also a PROMOTIONAL car used by Daytona International Speedway to promote the 2001 Daytona 500. Both of these races were of historical significance.
MOST INDY 500 AND DAYTONA 500 PACE CARS ARE KEPT BY GM, OR THEY GO TO MUSEUMS, GM EXECS OR RACING EXECS, ETC. ESPECIALLY ONE WITH TIES TO TWO SIGNIFICANT RACES IN NASCARS' HISTORY. ARE YOU SURE THIS IS REAL? WHAT KIND OF DOCUMENTATION DO YOU HAVE? Yes. I am SURE it is real. I have a large amount of documentation on the car. I have a LETTER OF AUTHENTICITY from GM RACING Marketing Manager R J CHEW outlining the history of the car. I have the original window sticker, as well as an invoice from PONTIAC HISTORICAL SERVICES that shows that this car did not originally go to a dealer, but rather, it was "DROP-SHIPPED" to TDM, the company that did the Pace Car Conversions. I also have the standard Pontiac Service History Report that shows that the car was originally operated by "GM Special Events". The car had a check-up done with 5 miles on the odometer a few days before the 2000 Daytona 500. I am working on getting more documentation as I go along. I have only had this car sine July 2004. A lot of NASCAR Pace Cars make it into the publics hands, but only a very limited number of DAYTONA 500 (or INDY 500) cars do. And the INDY 500 usually has 3-5 Pace Cars each year, Daytona ONLY uses two. IRL is now using two Pace Cars (Yellow Chevy SSR Trucks) that they haul to all of their races... Except INDY. The INDY 500 and the Daytona 500 always get their own PACE CARS, as they are both considered the premier racing events in the United States.
DID THEY ALWAYS MAKE REPLICAS OF THE "DAYTONA 500" PACE CARS? No. Sometimes they will use an Anniversary Edition Trans Am, or a "Collectors Edition" car. These cars are produced in limited numbers for the street, but they are not designated as "Daytona 500" cars. So there are only a very few select years where they actually made a "Daytona 500 Pace Car" Edition car. It adds some uniqueness to it, having a car that is the real thing when there are "Replicas" on the street. For the Grand Prix, they made "Replicas" in 1998 (1,500 Blue Grand Prix Daytona 500 Pace Car Editions), and in 2000 (2,000 Silver Grand Prix Daytona 500 Pace Car Editions). The 1,500 cars made in 1998 were numbered, the cars made in 2000 all had a center console emblem that stated "One of 2000.
YOUR CAR HAS THE 2001 LOGOS ON IT, WHAT WAS THE PACE CAR IN 2001? The Daytona 500 Pace Car was the Pontiac AZTEC... Yeah, the UGLY one. They were not selling well, so GM was trying to show the Aztec in a good light. Most NASCAR WINSTON CUP SERIES races in 2001 used Silver Grand Prix GTP Pace Cars with a multi-color lightning-bolt graphics scheme. When the Daytona 500 used Pontiacs as a Pace Car in 1997 (white GP), 1998 (blue GP), 1999 (white TA), and 2000 (silver GP), those colors were used on the Grand Prix Pace Cars for most of the other races in the following years circuit.
IS IT A NORMAL CAR? Pretty much. There is very little that you notice different as you drive it. Except the handling and the power. Oh, and all of the people staring and waving at you. (And the two times I got flashed! ;)
IS IT FAST? Yes.
HOW FAST IS IT? I don't really know... YET ;)
HOW FAST DO THEY RUN WHEN THEY PACE AT DAYTONA? I don't know yet. I am still researching many aspects of this thing. I have heard 70, and I have heard 85.
IS IT FUN? Yes. Just stopping for gas can turn in to a car show. Talking to owners of Pace Car Editions is cool too! Pontiac Grand Prix enthusiasts (there are a lot of them out there), NASCAR Fans, Earnhardt Fans, Jarrett Fans, they all seem to enjoy seeing the car, and hearing about it. If you turn the strobes on, people just congregate around the thing. It is great for cruise nights too! A few people do not like the graphics, but when they realize what it is, they change their minds right away. And a few girls have gone crazy with the car, especially when they see the strobes. :p Plus all of the research, learning about the history, taking the car to shows, parades, and NASCAR events... Yes, this has been a fun car to own.
SO, C'MON, WHAT'D YOU REALLY PAY FOR IT, I WON'T TELL ANYONE? Neither will I.
CAN I TAKE IT FOR A SPIN? NO! But I can! :)
WOULD YOU CONSIDER A TRADE? YES. I will trade it for generous amounts of cold hard cash. Or MAYBE a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro INDY 500 car. That MAYBE would be a YES if it is one of the ones used in the race. I have a thing for the real cars now! ;)
SO I JUST GOT A RETIRED PACE CAR. HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF IT?
There are a few unique aspects to our cars that require some extra care compared to "normal" cars.
The graphics were designed by a company called MOTORSPORTS DESIGN, INC. They were required to destroy the software for the graphics patterns after one year. So the graphics on these cars are very hard to replace. On the 2000 and 2001 Grand Prix Pace Cars, the graphics have stripes that have a color gradiant to them, they may start out orange on one end, and fade to yellow on another. This makes the graphic very hard to replicate. If you were to have one stripe changed, it would stick out like a sore thumb, as a graphic shop could probably get CLOSE, but not perfect. If you change the entire graphic set, then it would not be as noticable. This is going to be very expensive however.
The strobe lights are the second most obvious feature on our cars, except when they are on! Just a couple of notes about the strobes.
The strobes draw a lot of power. The two control boxes mounted on the back wall of the trunk are each 180 watt control boxes. So they draw a ton of power, and they can drain your battery. Some Pace Car owners had drained their battery even though they had their car idling when the strobes were running.
The supplier for the strobes is WHELEN. Except for the rear window wing, the mirror covers, and the trunk spoilers, all of the equipment (lights, wires, power supplies) is pretty standard, and parts can be found from WHELEN, emergency vehicle suppliers, or ebay.
The strobes can get hot, so be careful. There were instances of POLICE CARS catching fire because of heat generated from the strobe lights.
Also, be aware that on each individual bulb, the filament is on the OUTSIDE of the bulb, meaning they are extrememly sensitive to MOISTURE.
Those are the key points ro remember about these cars. For things like documentation, contact the track your car was at, or contact Pontiac Historic Services.
Good luck with your car!
Favorite Cars (besides the Pace Car)