STP 500 pace car warms up its engine in Martinsville

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) There's only a few days before the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

On Wednesday, the pace car got to warm up its engine and make a few laps around the track. This year's pace car is the 2017 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 and it will be driven by a Ford family member this weekend.

It's the fastest Mustang GT350 that's ever been made. With a 5.2-liter V8 engine, 526 horsepower, it certainly packs a punch.

We got to ride along as NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney took the pace car for a few laps around the track. But since he'll be a little busy on Sunday, Edsel B. Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford, will be driving the pace car.

"We're honored to have him here and lead the 40 car field to green for Sunday's NASCAR race," Scott Sebastian with Ford Performance Communications said.

With this weekend being the 70th anniversary for Martinsville Speedway, there's a lot of pressure on local guys to bring home the win.

Blaney grew up in High Point, so he considers Martinsville his home track. He grew up watching his dad here. He says his favorite part about this track is the atmosphere and fans.

"500 laps with us, I mean there's always racing going on. It's never spread out. As a fan, I think they enjoy that," Blaney said.

Blaney says he's excited to race this weekend and he hopes to see lots of Patrick County folks dressed in No. 21. He won't be driving a Mustang this weekend, he actually drives a Ford Fusion when he races. But he says it was nice to get behind the wheel of the GT350 today and take some laps around one of his favorite tracks.