This will be the first time that a pickup will be the pace vehicle for the Daytona 500.
A 2019 Chevrolet Silverado will be the pace truck for the 2019 Daytona 500, and it'll be the first time ever that a pickup will lead the race. Two-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be behind the wheel. The green flag on the 61st running of the event will drop on February 18.
"I’ve had a lot of fun and a lot of success at Daytona over the years, and now I can’t wait to get out on that track in a Silverado," Earnhardt Jr said in Chevy's announcement. "Away from the track I’ve driven Chevy trucks all my life, and I’m excited to have this unique experience of pacing the Daytona 500 with the Silverado."
The Silverado pace truck will pack Chevy's 6.2-liter V8 producing 420 horsepower (313 kilowatts) and 460 pound-feet (624 Newton-meters) of torque. It'll hook up to the company's 10-speed automatic gearbox. This will mark the Bowtie's 13th time as pace car for the Daytona 500. The Camaro has been in front of the race seven times, and the Corvette has done it five times.
Earnhardt Jr. is a veteran of driving around the Daytona International Speedway. In addition to winning the 500 twice, he scored two victories at the July NASCAR Cup race there. Plus, he won six more times at Daytona events in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. A three-driver team, including Earnhardt Jr., also took a fourth-place overall and second-place in class finish for Corvette Racing in the 2001 24 Hours of Daytona.
The 2019 Silverado 1500 is currently up for the North American Truck of the Year Award. The pickup is up against its platform-mate the GMC Sierra 1500 and the new Ram 1500 for the honor. We'll find out the winner at the North American International Auto Show in January.
DALE EARNHARDT JR. TO PACE 2019 DAYTONA 500 IN ALL-NEW CHEVROLET SILVERADO
It’s the first time a pickup truck will pace The Great American Race
DETROIT — Dale Earnhardt Jr. will find himself in a very familiar place at the 2019 Daytona 500: at the front of the pack.
Earnhardt Jr., a two-time Daytona 500 winner, will drive the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pace truck to lead the field to green for the 61st running of The Great American Race. This is the first time the Daytona 500 will be paced by a pickup truck.
“I’ve had a lot of fun and a lot of success at Daytona over the years, and now I can’t wait to get out on that track in a Silverado,” said Earnhardt Jr. “Away from the track I’ve driven Chevy trucks all my life, and I’m excited to have this unique experience of pacing the Daytona 500 with the Silverado.”
In addition to winning The Great American Race in 2004 and 2014, Earnhardt Jr. was a two-time winner of the July race at Daytona, overall scoring four wins, 13 top 5 finishes and 19 top 10s in 36 NASCAR Cup Series career starts at Daytona International Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. was voted the sport’s Most Popular Driver for 15 consecutive years.
“Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the perfect choice to pace the race because of his enthusiasm for the sport, his long history with Chevrolet and his love of trucks,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “It’ll be exciting to have Dale lead the field to green in the strongest, most advanced Silverado ever.”
The Silverado pace truck is powered by a production 6.2L V-8 engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. It delivers 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque.
Chevrolet has paced the Daytona 500 12 times, seven with Camaro and five with Corvette.
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