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INDIANAPOLIS — NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will lead the field to the start of the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, September 9.

The Brickyard will be Dale Jr.’s first time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since hanging up his helmet and gloves at the end of the 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season. 

“I am honored that Chevrolet asked me to drive the Camaro ZL1 Pace Car in one of the biggest races of the year,” Dale Jr. said Wednesday.

“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.”

Dale Jr. made 17 starts at the Brickyard between 2000 and 2017, with a best finish of fourth in 2012. He won 26 points races and 15 poles during his NASCAR Cup Series career.

He now serves as a NASCAR television analyst for NBC Sports. He remains remains one of the most beloved drivers in American motorsports history, as fans named him NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for a record 15 consecutive years.

IMS President J. Douglas Boles said he can’t wait to welcome Dale Jr. back to the speedway.

“Everyone at IMS and all of our loyal fans can’t wait to welcome back one of the most admired drivers to ever turn a wheel at IMS and his role as Pace Car driver adds even more excitement to our action-packed week of racing, music and family fun,” Boles said.

Save the (New) Date

The Brickyard is moving to a new date this year from late July and is serving as the finale of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season for the first time. The field for the NASCAR Playoffs will be set following the race at IMS.

Tune in to WIBC on race day for live flag-to-flag coverage of the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard!

(Photo courtesy of IMS.)