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Dale Earnhardt Jr. to serve as honorary pace car driver for Brickyard 400

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Fans will get to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a car going around Indianapolis Motor Speedway next month, it just won’t be going very fast.

Earnhardt, who serves as a NASCAR analyst for NBC Sports, has been announced as the honorary pace car driver for the Sept. 9 Brickyard 400.

The race, which was held in July for its last 11 runnings, will be the regular-season finale for the Cup Series for the first time.

Earnhardt will drive a 2018 Camaro ZL1.

“I am honored that Chevrolet asked me to drive the Camaro ZL1 Pace Car in one of the biggest races of the year,” Earnhardt said in a press release. “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 made 17 starts in Indianapolis between 2000-17, with a best finish of fourth in 2012 among his five top-10 finishes.

Fans will be able to see Earnhardt drive a little bit faster two weeks later. Earnhardt will compete in the Sept. 22 Xfinity race at Richmond Raceway. It will be his first race since retiring from full-time Cup competition at the end of 2017.

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2018 pit road, pace car speeds for every NASCAR track

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NASCAR has released the pit road and pace car speeds for all the tracks the three national series will compete at in 2018.

The only change from the 2017 season is the addition of the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course, which will have lower speeds than for the normal races on the oval.

The pit road speed on the CMS road course will be 40 mph, down from 45. The pace car speed will be 45 mph, down from 55.

Below is the complete list.

Track Pit road speed Pace car speed
Atlanta Motor Speedway 45 55
Auto Club Speedway 55 65
Bristol Motor Speedway 30 35
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 40 45
Charlotte Motor Speedway oval 45 55
Charlotte Motor Speedway road course 40 45
Chicagoland Speedway 45 55
Darlington Raceway 45 50
Daytona International Speedway 55 70
Dover International Speedway 35 45
Eldora Speedway 30 30
Elkhart Lake’s Road America 40 45
Gateway Motorsports Park 45 50
Homestead-Miami Speedway 45 55
Indianapolis Motor Speedway 55 70
Iowa Speedway 40 45
ISM Raceway (Phoenix) 45 50
Kansas Speedway 45 55
Kentucky Motor Speedway 45 55
Las Vegas Motor Speedway 45 55
Martinsville Speedway 30 35
Michigan International Speedway 55 65
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 35 45
New Hampshire Motor Speedway 45 50
Pocono Raceway 55 70
Richmond Raceway 40 45
Sonoma Raceway 40 45
Talladega Superspeedway 55 70
Texas Motor Speedway 45 55
Watkins Glen International 40 45

Texas Rangers manager to drive pace car for AAA Texas 500

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Texas Ranger manager Jeff Banister has been announced as the honorary pace car driver for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Banister, who just completed his second season as the manager of the MLB franchise, will lead the field during the pace laps for the second race in the third round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

“I am honored to be the honorary pace car driver for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway,” Banister said in a press release. “NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup is coming down to the final weeks, and I am really looking forward to be a part of this exciting event.”

Banister has led the Rangers to two straight American League Central Division titles in his first two seasons. The Rangers were swept by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALDS, completing the season with a 95-67 record.

Also present for Sunday’s race will be actor Chuck Norris. Norris will introduce the eight remaining Chase drivers before the race.

The race will start at 1 p.m. ET on NBC.

Royals’ catcher named pace car driver for Sprint Cup race at Kansas

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With the Kansas City Royals not taking part in the MLB postseason, Drew Butera has a lot of time on his hands.

He’ll fill some of it by being the honorary pace car driver for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway.

The track announced that Butera, a catcher for the defending World Series champions, will drive the car during the opening pace laps of the Hollywood Casino 400.

Butera, who has been in MLB since he was drafted in 2005, was behind the plate for the final inning of the World Series, which the Royals won in five games over the New York Mets.

Actor Luke Wilson honorary pace car driver for Sonoma race

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Sonoma Raceway has announced that actor Luke Wilson (Old School, Legally Blonde) will be the honorary pace car driver for next weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway.

Wilson, who stars in Showtime’s new TV series Roadies that premieres June 26, will drive the pace car prior to the green flag of the race.

“I feel incredibly honored to be asked to lead the field of cars to the green,” said Wilson in a press release. “I have never done anything like this before and I’m really excited to start off the race at the Toyota/Save Mart 350.”

Last year, the honorary pace car driver was actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.