Earnhardt Jr. Named Grand Marshal for 2018 Daytona 500

Ron Lemasters | JR Motorsports | 11/29/2017

Dale Jr. Daytona 500 News

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been named Grand Marshal for the 60th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, 2018.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 29, 2017) – Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be at Daytona International Speedway in 2018 after all. The 14-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver has been named Grand Marshal for the 60th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, 2018.

Many fans were wondering what they’d do without Earnhardt Jr. to cheer for at “The Great American Race.” Now, they’ll be able to despite the fact that the 43-year-old father-to-be won’t be driving his familiar No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in the race.

“I was humbled when asked to be the Grand Marshal of next season’s Daytona 500,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “The race has so much history and I am extremely proud of being a two-time winner of the event. The list of names who have been Grand Marshal for the race is one I’m honored to add my name to. Speedweeks is an exciting time for our sport, and this assures me an opportunity to witness the thrills of it all.”

Earnhardt Jr. has seen a lot during his time as a driver at Daytona, winning 17 times on the 2.5-mile speedway. That ranks third (tied with the legendary Bobby Allison) behind his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr. with 34 and Tony Stewart with 19.

Most memorable are his two Daytona 500 victories, in 2004 and 2014, and the improbable drive from deep in the pack in the final laps to win the 2001 Firecracker 400, the first race at DIS following the tragic death of Earnhardt Sr. in a last-lap crash that February. It was one of two summer victories for Earnhardt Jr. at the track, and he won qualifying races there on five occasions. In NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, Earnhardt Jr. won six races at Daytona, and his JR Motorsports team has won there four times since 2006.

In his final two starts this year at Daytona, Earnhardt Jr. started second in the Daytona 500 and led before being eliminated in a crash, and won the pole for the summer race.

“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 has 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 for the 2018 Daytona 500.”

Earnhardt Jr. joins some heady company as Grand Marshal for the iconic event, including past Daytona 500 winners Richard Petty and Junior Johnson, actors John Travolta and Owen Wilson and former President George W. Bush.