Dale Earnhardt Jr. to drive pace car for Indianapolis 500

Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nascar/sprint/drivers/88/" data-ylk="slk:Dale Earnhardt Jr.">Dale Earnhardt Jr.</a> drove the pace car ahead of the Daytona 500 in February. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove the pace car ahead of the Daytona 500 in February. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

In February, Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove the pace car for the Daytona 500. Next weekend, he’ll drive the pace car for the Indianapolis 500.

Junior was named the pace car driver for the May 26 Indianapolis 500 on Friday. His pace car duties undoubtedly are connected to his new job as an analyst for NBC Sports, which is broadcasting the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in 2019.

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“I was already excited to attend my first Indianapolis 500 with NBC Sports, but driving the Pace Car just takes it to another level,” Earnhardt said in a statement. “The Corvette Grand Sport is an awesome car, and it’s an honor to be asked to lead the field to the green flag. “I’m proud to be a part of such a prestigious event at a place that means so much to racing history. This will be an experience that I’ll cherish forever.”

Junior is the first person to drive the pace car for both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 in the same season. He’s just the third person to drive the pace car for both races, joining Jeff Gordon and Jay Leno.

As you can imagine, Junior will be driving a Chevrolet ahead of the green flag. He never drove anything other than a Chevy throughout his Cup Series career.

“It is exciting that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going to lead the Indy 500 field to the green flag,” Chevy vice president Jim Campbell said in a statement. “With Dale joining the Indy 500 broadcast crew for the first time, pacing the field in the 2019 Corvette Grand Sport will give him a unique perspective to share with the viewers. We are honored that Dale will add Indy 500 Pace Car driver to his long legacy with Chevrolet.”

Campbell will probably give Junior a reminder to not do what Chevy executive Mark Reuss did ahead of an IndyCar race in Detroit last summer. Reuss slammed head-on into a wall after making a turn on the street course.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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