Here's how it's supposed to work: Pace car driver gets in car. Pace car driver drives a few laps. Pace car driver turns off the track, motors down pit road, and parks near turn 1 in what's known as "pit out." If he's NASCAR's pace-car driver, he stays there for the race, pulling back onto the track whenever a caution flag flies. If he or she is a celebrity, he or she gets out of the car, is greeted by an entourage of handlers and/or security, and goes to watch the race from a fancy suite.
Over the years, something has gone wrong in every step of that process.
The start of the race was minutes away, so the pace car being on the track seemed normal—until someone asked over the radio communication system used by NASCAR officials and teams, "Who's that fucker in the pace car?"