Growing up in Maine, Patrick Dempsey always dreamed of driving in the Indianapolis 500. Now the Grey's Anatomy star is getting his chance — sort of. He's taking the wheel of the pace car at the "greatest spectacle in racing" this Sunday. As the pace-car driver — Lance Armstrong did the honors last year — he leads the 33 racers to the starting line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (aka the Brickyard). The 41-year-old actor is no stranger to motor sports. He's a co-owner of Vision Racing, an IndyCar Series team, and when his schedule allows he competes in off-road races.
TV Guide: How did you land this gig?
Patrick Dempsey: I've been to the Indy 500 three times. The invitation came through [Indianapolis Motor Speedway co-owners] Tony and Laura George. I've been begging them for years to let me drive the pace car, and they finally relented.
TV Guide: How are you preparing?
Dempsey: I'm told that since I am already an accomplished race-car driver, I have less prep than most. I will be driving some practice laps [the day before the race].
TV Guide: Who will you be rooting for?
Dempsey: I'm sort of partial to the drivers on our team, A.J. Foyt IV, Ed Carpenter and Thomas Scheckter, but I think it's going to be very hard to beat the Penske team [which includes two-time Indy champ Helio Castroneves].
TV Guide: Any chance we'll ever see you racing at Indy? Dempsey: It's every racer's dream to be able to drive the Indy 500, but to be honest I think my time has come and gone. That's why I'm so thrilled to be driving the pace car. It's the closest I'll ever come to driving the Indy 500 at the Brickyard.
ABC's coverage of the Indianapolis 500 airs Sunday, May 27, starting at noon /ET.
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