Ron Howard to lead Brickyard 400 field in pace car

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Director Ron Howard will have one of the best seats at this year's Brickyard 400.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced Friday that the Oscar-winning director would lead the field before the July 29 race at the storied 2.5-mile track.

Howard won Academy Awards for best director and best picture in 2001 for "A Beautiful Mind." His latest project is titled "Rush" and depicts the Grand Prix clashes between Englishman James Hunt and Austrian Niki Lauda.

Speedway President Jeff Belskus says Howard has immersed himself in motorsports culture while filming "Rush" and is "an ideal person to pace the field."

Howard calls driving the pace car a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

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