Dale Earnhardt Jr. named Grand Marshal for 2018 Daytona 500

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Although he won’t compete in next year’s Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will still have a key role in the event. Daytona International Speedway announced Wednesday that Earnhardt will give the command for drivers to start their engines for the Feb. 18, 2018, season-opening race.

Earnhardt won 17 races at Daytona International Speedway, including the 2004 and 2014 Daytona 500s. His win total there ranks third to Dale Earnhardt (34 total wins) and Tony Stewart (19).

“I was humbled when asked to be the Grand Marshal of next season’s Daytona 500,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said in a statement. “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.”

Former Grand Marshals include former President George W. Bush, former Daytona 500 winners Richard Petty and Junior Johnson and actors Owen Wilson and Matthew McConaughey.

Tickets for the 60th annual DAYTONA 500 and other Daytona International Speedway events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.