Chuck Pagano enjoys a unique Indianapolis 500 pole day
SPEEDWAY – Moments after zipping around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an open-wheel machine with a legend, he found a way to sum up the fastest ride of his life in a simple statement.
“It’s one of those bucket list deals you check off,” said Colts head coach Chuck Pagano of his day on Saturday in Speedway. “It’s one of those things you’d never thought you would have a chance to do.”
But the opportunity was presented to Pagano on Pole Day at the Speedway as the coach took a two-seater ride around the track with racing legend and 1969 Indianapolis 500 champion Mario Andretti.
For two laps Pagano whipped around the two-and-a-half mile oval with the legend as the pilot, producing an experience like none other for the passenger.
“Unbelievable, exhilarating,” said Pagano of the ride. “The speeds, the excitement of sitting behind Mario Andretti, the all-time great. It was just fabulous.”
Along with the two-seater ride, Pagano was slated to be the honorary starter for the opening day of qualifications for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500, which the top 22 spots for the race-including the pole position-will be decided.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” said Pagano of getting a chance to wave the green flag, which was delayed by showers early Saturday afternoon.