1971 Dodge Challenger Pace Car Accident

Under normal circumstances, a car manufacturer would provide a pace car for the Indy 500 race. In 1971, no one stepped up so an independent car dealership owned by Eldon Palmer got the opportunity to provide a car for the race

Palmer owned a Dodge dealership and found the Indy 500 to be the perfect venue to showcase the new 1971 Dodge Challenger convertible. Not only would his dealership get the spot light, but he would get to drive a high performance muscle car on the big oval. Palmer had done a few test laps and set up a cone to let him know when to start slowing down. 180417

On the day of the race, Palmer got on the oval with his 383 powered Challenger. Unfortunately for him, someone had removed his signal cone to indicate when to brake. By the time he got to the pits, he locked up the brakes and slid into the photographers’ stand.


A few things were learned that day, one of which is that muscle cars don’t stop very well when driving at over 100 mph. The entire ordeal was recorded and miraculously, no one was killed. However, 22 were injured in the stands; everyone in the car managed to escape unscathed.