November 29, 2017 | 9:07 P.M. EST
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is returning to the DAYTONA 500 next year, although in a different role than his previous 20 Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. is returning to the DAYTONA 500, although in a different role than his previous 20 Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway.
Earnhardt, who has retired from Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition, will serve as grand marshal for the 60th running of “The Great American Race” on Feb. 18, 2018, and deliver the command to start engines.
“Junior” won 17 races at “The World Center of Racing” from 1998-2017. The only drivers to equal or surpass that are his father, Dale Earnhardt (34), Tony Stewart (19) and Bobby Allison (17).
In addition to his DAYTONA 500 victories in 2004 and 2014, Earnhardt Jr. won both the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola and the Advance Auto Parts Clash twice, and captured Can-Am Duel victories five times. He also won the PowerShares QQQ 300 and the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 XFINITY Series races three times each.
Earnhardt joins a star-studded list of DAYTONA 500 grand marshals that includes actors Matthew McConaughey and Owen Wilson, President George W. Bush, and past DAYTONA 500 champions Junior Johnson and Richard Petty.
“Talk about a perfect fit on the historic 60th running of the DAYTONA 500, we will have a man responsible for so much of our history serving as the grand marshal,” said Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile. “He’s meant so much to our facility, to NASCAR and all race fans through the years. It’s an honor to have him back in this capacity.”
“I was humbled when asked,” Earnhardt said. “The race has so much history and being a two-time winner of the event is something I’m extremely proud of. Speedweeks is an exciting time for our sport and this assures me an opportunity to witness the thrills of it all.”
Tickets for the 2018 DAYTONA 500 and other Daytona International Speedway events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
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