Dale Earnhardt Jr. to drive pace car ahead of this year’s Brickyard 400

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Photo courtesy of IMS)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the pace car to lead the field to the start of this year’s Brickyard 400.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway made the announcement Wednesday, 25 days before the 25th running of the race, which starts at 2 p.m. on the historic 2.5-mile oval.

This year’s race has been moved to a new date, Sept. 9, from late July and is serving as the finale of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season for the first time.

Earnhardt will be zipping around in the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

“I am honored that Chevrolet asked me to drive the Camaro ZL1 Pace Car in one of the biggest races of the year,” Earnhardt said. “The fan in me was already looking forward to this event. It’s a big race. There is a lot at stake since it’s the final chance for the teams and drivers to make the Playoffs. So, I hope to do a good job leading the field to the green flag, but I can promise you I’ll soak in every minute and enjoy the Brickyard in a way I never have before.”

The two-time Daytona 500 winner made 17 Brickyard starts between 2000-17, with a best finish of fourth in 2012 among his five top-10 finishes. He won 26 points races during his NASCAR Cup Series career, which ended with his retirement after the 2017 season. Earnhardt now serves as a NASCAR television analyst for NBC Sports and also leads Dirty Mo Media, which includes his popular “Dale Jr. Download” podcast.

“Dale Jr. will enjoy a unique and exciting Race Day this year at the Brickyard,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “He’s leading the field to the green flag of one of the most prestigious races on the calendar, and then he’ll head right to the booth to offer his insightful analysis for NBC Sports. Everyone at IMS and all of our loyal fans can’t wait to welcome back one of the most admired drivers to ever turn a wheel at IMS, and his role as Pace Car driver adds even more excitement to our action-packed week of racing, music and family fun.”

Practice and qualifying for the Brickyard 400 will take place Sept. 8 at IMS.

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