Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove pace car for the Daytona 500 & he'll do it again for Sunday's Indy 500

YouTube download / NASCAR video / Above: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is shown driving the pace car for the 2018 NASCAR Brickyard 400 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The two-time Daytona 500 champ drove the pace car at February's Daytona 500 and he will do it again Sunday for the start of IndyCar's Indianapolis 500.
Inset pic by Chris Owens / Indianapolis Motor Speedway​.
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove the pace car back in February for the start of the Daytona 500. Earnhardt will be behind the wheel of the pace car again for the start of Sunday's Indy 500.

The two-time Daytona 500 champion becomes the first pace car driver for both races in the same season. 

Earnhardt will drive the Corvette Grand Sport Official at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to lead the 33 drivers to the green flag for the 103rd Indy 500 race

While this is Earnhardt's first trip to the Indy 500, it's not his first time driving the pace car at a sanctioned race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He drove the pace car during September's NASCAR Brickyard 400 race.    

Earnhardt opened this year's NASCAR season driving the pace car for the Daytona 500. The Indy 500 is the fifth race of the IndyCar racing schedule. NASCAR races feature stock cars while IndyCar contests showcase open wheel cars.

The Indy 500 had been broadcast by ABC dating back to 1965, but the race will be on NBC in a new three-year contract with play-by-play by Leigh Diffey along with analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy in the booth. Earnhardt and Danica Patrick will highlight their insights and takeaways from the on-track action.

“They'll come to us and just get a genuine reaction of what we think about the event and how it's playing out,” Earnhardt said. 

“That's a little more tricky because you’ve really got to find things that intrigue you, which isn't hard. But I've been on the pit box before during our summer of NASCAR races, and what we've done there is, you're watching the race and you just pull things from what you're seeing that intrigue you, that surprise you. 

Danica Patrick & Dale Earnhardt Jr, NBC track analysts for Indy 500 / Headline SurferThe Indy 500 had been broadcast by ABC dating back to 1965, but the race will be on NBC in a new three-year contract with play-by-play by Leigh Diffey along with analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy in the booth.

Earnhardt and Danica Patrick will highlight their insights and takeaways from the on-track action.

“They'll come to us and just get a genuine reaction of what we think about the event and how it's playing out,” Earnhardt said. 

“That's a little more tricky because you’ve really got to find things that intrigue you, which isn't hard. But I've been on the pit box before during our summer of NASCAR races, and what we've done there is, you're watching the race and you just pull things from what you're seeing that intrigue you, that surprise you. 

Watching the Indy 500
• The Indianapolis 500 begins at 12:45 p.m. ET on NBC. Pre-race coverage begins at 11 a.m. ET on NBC. Kelly Clarkson will sing the national anthem at 12:26 p.m...
• The race will be shown in Central Florida on NBC affilliate WESH, Ch. 2 of Orlando...
• Viewers can stream the race online via NBC Sports Live, or on a mobile device via the NBC Sports app...
 
Starting Grid for the 2019 Indy 500:
Row 1 Pole/Inside: Simon Pagenaud; Middle: Ed Carpenter; Outside: Spencer Pigot...
Row 2: Inside: Ed Jones; Middle: Colton Herta (R); Outside: Will Power (2018 winner)...
Row 3: Inside: Sébastien Bourdais; Middle: Josef Newgarden; Outside: Alexander Rossi, 2016 Indy 500 winner...
Row 4: Inside: Marco Andretti; Middle: Conor Daly; Outside: Helio Castoneves: 3-time Indy 500 winner in 2001, 2002, & 2009...
Row 5: Inside: Marcus Ericsson, R; Middle: Takuma Sato, 2017 Indy 500 winner; Outside: James Davison...
Row 6: Inside: Tony Kanaan, 2013 Indy 500 winner; Middle: Graham Rahal; Outside: Scott Dixon, 2008 Indy 500 winner...
Row 7: Inside: Oriol Servià; Middle: Charlie Kimball; Outside J. R. Hildebrand... 
Row 8: Inside: Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2014 Indy 500 winner; Middle: Santino Ferrucci, R; Outside: Matheus Leist...
Row 9: Inside: Jack Harvey; Middle: Jordan King, R; Outside: Ben Hanley, R...
Row 10: Inside: Zach Veach; Middle: Felix Rosenqvist, R; Outside, Pippa Mann (lone female driver in this race)...
Row 11: Inside: Sage Karam; Middle: James Hinchcliffe; Outside: Kyle Kaiser... 
Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories narly eveenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in Wst Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.