Retired NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 pace car at the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard – a.k.a. Indianapolis Motor Speedway – on September 9th, kicking off the final race of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR regular season. This year marks the 25th running of the race, albeit the first year that it will serve as the season closer, having moved from its usual date in late-July.
Last year, another retired NASCAR great – Jeff Gordon – was tapped to pace the iconic Brickyard 400 race, and he, too, did it behind the wheel of the 650-horsepower Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The ZL1 served as the inspiration for Chevrolet’s newest stock racing car design in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, replacing the Chevrolet SS just this season.
“I am honored that Chevrolet asked me to drive the Camaro ZL1 Pace Car in one of the biggest races of the year,” Earnhardt says. “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.”
Earnhardt is no stranger to the event, of course, having made 17 starts at the Brickyard 400 between 2000 and 2017. He made the top ten a total of five times, his best finish coming in 2012, when he placed fourth.
“Dale Jr. will enjoy a unique and exciting Race Day this year at the Brickyard,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles says. “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.”