It was Eldon Palmer who organized the donation of a pair of 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T convertibles to serve as the pace cars that year at Indy. Consider this: None of the automakers stepped forward that year to offer a car to serve as the Pace Car.
As for the lamentable crash--there had been a set of braking markers in the grassy strip between pit lane and the inside wall of the front stretch, which Palmer had used all week long before that year's 500 to practice the pace lap. Unfortunately, sometime on Saturday before the Sunday race, SOMEONE removed those markers, leaving Palmer to figure out the braking point for himself. The accident was not entirely Eldon Palmer's fault.
Actually the 1971 Challenger Pace Cars were not R/T models, Dodge never built any 1971 Challenger R/T convertibles. There were 2 383 Magnum Challengers used for pace car duty the other 48 cars were a mix of 340 and 318 Challengers. Another issue lending its hand in the pace car crash was the fact that the Challenger had drum brakes not disc, I'm not sure if they were power or manual drum brakes.