Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return to Daytona 500 in 2018… as Grand Marshal

Dale Earnhardt Jr. addresses the crowd after being presented the Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. Photo Credit: David Becker/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be at the 2018 Daytona 500, he just won’t be racing.  Instead Daytona International Speedway announced Wednesday that the retired diver will be doing something a little different.  Earnhardt, who retired from full time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition at the end of this season, will serve as the Grand Marshal for the 60th running of “The Great American Race” on Feb. 18, 2018.

Earnhardt will give the command that will kick off the 2018 season.  He won a total of 17 races at the Daytona during his career from 1998-2017. The only drivers to equal or surpass in DIS victories are his father Dale Earnhardt (34), Tony Stewart (19) and Bobby Allison (17).

He also won both the Coke Zero 400 and the Advance Auto Parts Clash twice and scored Can-Am Duel victories five times. He also won the PowerShares QQQ 300 and the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 – both NASCAR Xfinity Series events – three times apiece.

“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 being a two-time winner of the event is something I am extremely proud of. The list of names who have Grand Marshaled 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 will add his name to a star-studded alumnus of Daytona 500 Grand Marshals. A list includes luminaries from the entertainment field such as actors Matthew McConaughey and Owen Wilson; politicians such as President George W. Bush; and, of course, past Daytona 500 champions Junior Johnson and Richard Petty.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.