By Toby Christie, Editor (Follow on Twitter @Toby_Christie)
Daytona International Speedway announced that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be the honorary driver of the pace vehicle for the upcoming 61st-annual Daytona 500. Earnhardt will pace the field in a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado. According to the release, this will be the first time that a truck has been the pace vehicle for The Great American Race.
Earnhardt of course, is one of the greatest drivers to ever race on the high-banks of Daytona International Speedway. Earnhardt won two Daytona 500s (2004 and 2014) as well as two Coke Zero 400s (2001 and 2015). In all, Earnhardt won a total of 17 wins at the 2.5-mile speedway in all forms of events, which puts him third all-time in the track’s prestigious history.
“So much of Dale’s legacy was formed on those high banks. It will be an honor to have one of our greatest champions pace the DAYTONA 500,” said track president Chip Wiles in a press release.
In an 18-year career in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Earnhardt amassed 26 victories, and he inside the top-five of the championship standings on four separare occasions (2003, 2004, 2006 and 2013). Earnhardt, a 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver, retired from full-time NASCAR competition at the end of the 2017 season.
“Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s popularity is as strong as ever,” said Wile. “We know our fans will love seeing him return to the DIS high banks – even if he will be driving a good bit slower than what he’s used to at our track.”
The track will be running a special Dale Earnhardt Jr. ticket package for the Daytona 500. There are a limited amount of the special $288 packages available, and if you’ve already bought tickets to the race, you can upgrade to the package for an additional $139.
According to the press release, the ticket package can be purchased ator by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.